People like me often talk (bang on) about ethical clothes and the benefits for those people creating them and for our planet too. That’s all very well but, let’s face it, however altruistic we are feeling, most of us want to know what’s in it for us. Well here are five good reasons why it is better to buy ethical clothes, and not an altruistic one among them!
1. Better for your skin
This one won’t be news to you, but organic fabrics are better for you! Certified organic cotton has been produced without allergenic, carcinogenic or toxic chemicals so not only are the clothes more likely to be comfortable and non-itchy, but they are also better for you longer term. Handwoven fabrics generally have a wider weave too so they are naturally breathable helping you remain cooler in summer and warmer in winter. More natural fabrics such as 100% cotton or linen are also better at stopping us feeling sweaty (urgh).
2. Standing Out from the Crowd
Most, if not all, ethical clothing brands create non mass-produced ranges of clothes. So if what you buy from them isn’t totally unique (which it sometimes is), you are far less likely to bump into someone at a party wearing exactly the same thing (very embarrassing). As a parent there are also practical considerations – for example when off to a public place with your darlings you can often find everyone else’s kids also wearing that exact same Elsa dress or dinosaur shirt. This makes keeping an eye on junior a bit more tricky than usual – not so if they are wearing something a bit less samey.
3. Great Products and Customer Service – fuelled by love!
Generally when you buy from an ethical brand the clothes are fantastic and the customer service amazing. This is because people who create and run ethical clothing brands are doing it for love, not money. Setting up a brand, building a trusted supply chain and gaining the important accreditations is an expensive and time-consuming business (trust me on this). Anyone who really wants to do it has a very strong desire to make positive change and therefore will be driven (by love!) to give you the best products and the best service they can.
4. You Save Money in the Long Run
If you buy better quality and choose garments that you love then it stands to reason that you will wear them more and they will last you longer. This means you won’t need to buy so much (though it doesn’t mean you won’t, I can’t promise you that!).
5. You Can Feel Virtuous/Smug
I don’t need to mention that Fairtrade and ethically sourced produce ensures better working conditions, pay and quality of life for garment workers (mainly women) and their communities. I’m sure you already know that. You will also already know that using less toxic chemicals and carbon in garment production and creating less toxic waste will make a huge contribution to the quality of our soil, our water and our air. So shopping ethically quite rightly makes you feel proud of yourself, and a little smug – rather like a cat with the cream (see photo!). And who doesn’t like knowing they’re doing what’s right?
by Jo Salter
Founder, Where Does It Come From? www.wheredoesitcomefrom.co.uk