To Die For: Why You Should Choose Ethical Fashion

Words: Jasmine Uitermark-Thaung

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“It does not to occur to the majority of us that our thrifty purchases whilst saving us money are costing others a lot more.”

Consumer’s appetites for low cost, clothing designed to be disposed of after wearing for just a season and replaced with more of the same means that the fashion industry is continuously under pressure to produce cheaper clothing. It does not to occur to the majority of us that our thrifty purchases whilst saving us money are costing others a lot more. While ethical chocolate and other ethically produced foods are now firmly on the radar of most people, ethical fashion is still somewhat of a foreign concept.

Unfortunately the fact is that the majority of the high street fashion brands have at one time or another been accused of the use of sweatshops for the manufacturing of their clothes and footwear. Faced with minimal control over a supply chain that conducts itself in remote locations, some on the other side of the world, it almost seems as if retailers have given up on the issue, but this doesn’t mean you should. Remember our mother’s age old question “If Tommy jumped off a cliff, would you?” Well…that question applies in this instance. We don’t want to ‘mum’ you, but we do want you to consider what you’re buying. There are a number of alternative options available, it’s up to us to put our money where our mouth is and buy more fashion that is ethically produced and sustainably.

“Where can I get ethical fashion?”

Plenty of retailers stock clothing and shoes made ethically, a simple Google search will outsource a few online stores and even Etsy has some really great options. If online shopping isn’t your thing you can check out Gorman (hello cute prints GALORE!!!) and other local stores. The fact of the matter is shopping ethically is a lot of work and can be ultra expensive but THRIFT SHOPPING isn’t. Taking a stand for basic human rights and saving money can be done at the same time.

Thrift shopping is another option if you’re looking for some new threads. Sure, reusing someone’s donated hand me downs probably isn’t going to have you jumping out of your socks but you’d be surprised what you can find in an op-shop; vintage bow ties and suits, poodle skirts and perhaps even your formal dress!

Putting together your formal outfit from a thrift shop can be daunting but with a bit of planning you’ll be well on your way to looking like the belle/beau of the ball.

Here are a few pointers:

  • Come up with an idea or theme for your outfit, this will give you something to work towards
  • Start looking well in advance and don’t just look in one place – the further out from the metro area you go the more likely you are to find an op-shop that hasn’t been ravaged
  • Get creative, use your talents and modify your op shop purchases with some creative flair – add a tulle skirt, mismatch your bowtie and your pocket square – you can make your modifications suit your personality, your theme, WHATEVER! The most important thing in the end is that you love what you’re gonna wear on the night.

Now go forth and dazzle people with your uber cool yet super ethical fashion Teensoulers!

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Image © Macklemore

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