Consumers with a heart buy eco-friendly

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We can be socially-responsible clothing consumers. We dont have to buy items made in sweat shops or containing animal parts. We can purchase clothing fibers that dont harm the earth.

How? Vicky Talbot, Womens Fashion Editor for Bella Online explains that were embracing eco-friendly fashion labels, mainly because its now officially cool to care. Fashion largely is profit-led and thrives on a fast-fashion ethic that ensures we have a steady stream of brightly-coloured, printed, cheap garments, continues Talbot. But with an interest for eco-friendly fashion being embraced by such celebrities as Scarlet Johansson, Natalie Portman and Woody Harrelson, views are starting to change.

 In an effort to combat poverty in Bolivia, Jonathan Cassidy has started an online store offering well-made outdoor clothing. El Alto is the result of a lifetime commitment by Cassidy to meet his goal. He found that in Bolivia, local mountaineers spent the short climbing season guiding tourists and the rest of the year making outdoor gear. They had the knowledge and skills but were lacking the ability and resources to make [selling their gear] sustainable and marketable. He is their market. 

In the U.S., American Apparel, has a similar work ethic. Matthew Swenson, spokesman for the company, states, In our opinion, were not doing anything exceptional by offering fair wages, affordable healthcare and a better environment to our workers. It just makes sense that satisfied employees are more invested in their jobs, and ultimately more productive. They also offer 100 percent organic cotton, grown without pesticides, in some of their products.

In another attempt to be socially responsibility, Bono, an Irish rock star, and Bobby Shriver, son of Eunice Kennedy and Sargent Shriver, launched Project Red. Their focus is fighting AIDS in Africa. Such companies as Gap and Converse as well as designer Armani have joined this bandwagon. They are donating a percentage of the profits on selected products to this cause.

Every issue has a counter argument, but now we have a choice. Essentially the power lies with consumers who need to start voting ethically with their credit cards, Talbot passionately advises.

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