If I say “ethical fashion” what come first into your mind? An old concept with no traction in Paris? Probably not. And yet it is true. After nine years, Ethical Fashion Show will no longer be present in Paris. Initiated in 2004 to promote ethical brands to the public, it will continue from now on twice a year in Berlin, where it meets a certain success.
According to the fair organizers, “On the Ethical Fashion Show in Berlin, German buyers including those in Scandinavia, the Netherlands and Austria are familiar with ethical fashion and are more sensitive than French buyers, and above all they know to sell and showcase! “(source: Fashion United)
According to Isabelle Quéhé, the originator of the event, the ethical fashion has always kept an image of babacool style and expensive products that prevent French to buy ethical and organic labels. After leaving the Messe Frankfurt Group (organizers of the Ethical Fashion Show) Isabelle continue to promote ethical fashion with her association Universal Love.
But let’s get back to the facts. Ethical fashion involves several dimensions: use of biological, natural or recycled materials, environmental friendly production, social projects and fair trade. In other words, ethical it is about using materials without harmful pesticides and dyes, transforming fabrics without throwing toxic inks in nature and poison workers, allow decents wages and leaves. Several reports on toxic textiles and working conditions have alreade been published and should alert us.
After reading these lines, you are rather tempted to buy ethically? If so, let see what are the main barriers to the purchase.
Ethical Fashion Show used to follow the schedule of Paris Fashion Week in September. Despite the fact that it was never as popular as Paris Auto Show, it has allowing brands to get in contact with the public and to create exchanges between stakeholders. In 2013 we won’t have this opportunity in France. Internet and word of mouth will be the only means to discover ethical brands.
On the Ethical Fashion Show in Berlin website you can find the list of exhibitors and hoped that they have an online shop
You managed to find a brand you like, but unfortunetly the style is less attractive than in Vogue or in a Zara window. But remember that buying sustainable is investing in classic cuts that do not go out of style with the first wind of sping. Clothes that will follow you from year to year, that you can endlessly mix. The style is you, your personality, your ability to combine an ultra-classic sweater with a floral skirt you have sewn yourself or you found on a flea market.
You decide youself for a coat. You notice that it more expensive than H & M or Mango. Somewhat expected given the criteria that must meet ethical brand. But how much are you willing to pay for a coat this winter? A coat that has not polluted the rivers and did not use up hands of a pregnant woman? A coat in limited edition, not as your neighbour’s, which will go out of style much slower than a product of fast fashion? That is warmer because of the natural fabrics and that you can touch without fear of toxic inks? And finally what is your monthly budget for clothes? Have you really need all the other sweaters, scarves, bags and shoes that you have planned to buy? Take the time to think, in two weeks your list will certainly be shortened, leaving room for quality and basics.
This moring I’ve made wonderful discoveries: Veja sneakers, Tudo Bom cardigans and L’herbe Rouge hoodies. And if I decide not to buy right away, I do promise myself to look into these brands before others everytime I’ll want to go shopping.
And you? Do you see any other barriers to the purchase of an ethical fashion brand? Feel free to share your brand discoveries, ethical websites and local events promoting this new way of consumption.