That’s one of the claims in in this Financial Times overview of high fashion with a conscience. And, as we’ve noted before, the trend really seems to be spreading quickly:
A recent proliferation of ethical labels, from mail-order catalogue People Tree to Edun – a range created by pop star Bono and his wife, Ali Hewson – reflects “a long-term change” rather than some kind of trend or fashion revolution, says Roger Tredre, news editor of trend analysis website wgsn.com. What these labels offer are not just ways of curbing child labour or environmental damage, but ways of tackling sustainable development, ethical commerce, environmental performance and aesthetic innovation; all of these factors are a crucial part of their brand and design manifesto.
Momentum is building. Last year saw the first ethical fashion show in Paris (another has been scheduled for October), while in London, Anti-Apathy, a socio-environmental campaign group, staged a similar event in February. There is also growing research into fibres that are renewable, such as bamboo, corn, soy and chitin. Last April the first forum on ethical commerce was organised in France and Project, a magazine on “conscious style and culture”, was launched.
Of course, part of me wonders if we can truly create a sustainable culture as long as we continue to promote such conspicuous consumption, but I suppose we have to meet people where they are. Providing a sustainable alternative to less conscious fashion seems a relatively easy way to get these concepts into the popular mindset.