The ethical fashion revolution

As London Fashion Week approaches, the hype behind ethical fashion is going through the roof. But how many of our favourite high street shops offer fairly traded clothes? Amita Mistry investigates.

“Young girl working fairtrade Young girl working on a loom in Aït Benhaddou, Morocco in May 2008” - image is courtesy of NationMaster.com

“Young girl working fairtrade Young girl working on a loom in Aït Benhaddou, Morocco in May 2008” - image is courtesy of NationMaster.com

Are you wearing or do you own anything from the high street giant Primark? If so, find the label and read where it was made.

Done? If you’re still looking, it’s because Primark’s labels don’t reveal the location of the garment’s origin. The company argues that there is no law requiring retailers to state where the clothing is made.

Primark is every bargain hunter’s candy shop, full of cheap clothes that can be thrown away when the latest trend is phased out. Last June, it was investigated by undercover reporters from the BBC who revealed that the retailer used child labour (allegedly without their knowledge) to make their products. It was claimed that clothes were created by underpaid factory workers, many of whom took their work outside the factory to family members and children.

After BBC1’s Panorama made the issue public, the head of Primark spoke to a journalist about the allegations. Primark director Breege O’Donoghue said: “We detest that children have been used; we do not support that children should be used in our supply chain. These children are not in our factories. These three factories had stringent audit and inspection in the last 18 months these children were in unauthorised production.”

She added: “It’s against our terms of trade to employ children. Our code of conduct was breached, our standards were breached – this is why these factories will no longer be doing business with Primark.”

Developing countries reportedly rely on the forced labour of thousands of 10-to15-year-old children, who pick cotton to create clothes for western countries like ours. Each September, school children are forced to miss classes for up to two and a half months for cotton-picking. The children spend up to 11 hours a day working in the fields and earn less than two US dollars.

I decided to visit Primark in Nottingham to find out what the paying public thought about this. Hordes of shoppers wondered around with trademark blue baskets full to the brim with clothes. The long queue for the tills made it feel like it was Christmas Eve, while the staff stood at their folding stations as customers sifted through the piles of jeans desperate to find their size.

Asked about Primark’s reputation on garment production, one student shopper from Nottingham said: “I do wonder how they can charge so little, but I’m well into my overdraft and can’t afford expensive clothes. Primark has high fashion at affordable prices, which is what draws me in.”

Another customer remarked: “I guess ‘throw-away fashion’ is a bit of a waste, but in the current economic climate people are hunting for bargains more than ever before. It’s a shame, but I suppose we are keeping the people who make the garments in employment.”

Although Primark has made changes to stop child labour by shutting down the factories in India, this now leaves thousands of people unemployed. It seems as though they are more concerned with the reputation of the business rather than the need to help and support these underprivileged workers.

Fortunately, some people are doing their best to change the situation. At this season’s forthcoming fashion events, movers and shakers from the high fashion world are creating, promoting and showcasing ethical clothes.

Along with London Fashion Week’s estethica, which exhibits fashion by eco-loving designers (February 21-24), Pure London has also introduced Ethical Pure as part of its campaign to promote the designers who produce clothing that follows eco-friendly guidelines (February 8-10).

Meanwhile, February 23 to March 8 sees the annual fortnight dedicated to highlighting the work of the Fairtrade Foundation, a charity that seeks to ensure everyone can maintain a decent and dignified livelihood. Since its launch, the Fairtrade mark has not only changed the way in which corporations deal with their suppliers and how consumers shop on the high street, but it is also transforming the lives of millions of farmers, workers and their communities.

The desire to make even a small contribution towards helping the environment and the social welfare of others is a trend that has been embraced by many companies, from small specialist stores to big high-street chains. Debenhams, Monsoon and Marks & Spencer, for instance, all stock a Fairtrade cotton range.

Another outspoken campaigner is Jane Shepherdson, the retail guru who catapulted Topshop to star status. Now chief executive of the Whistles chain, she is also the non-executive director of People Tree (www.peopletree.co.uk), one of country’s first eco-chic brands. In addition, Shepherdson is transforming Oxfam’s charity shops into must-have destinations for eco-fashionistas.

These are just a few of the examples of people making waves in the ethical clothing movement. Yet, while much progress has already been made, there is still a significant way to go. Does the future of fashion lie in fairly traded clothes? Only time, and our shopping habits, will tell.

Let us know what you think by posting your comments on our MySpace page www.myspace.com/freeqmagazine.

For more information on Fairtrade Fortnight, visit: www.fairtrade.org.uk or http://www.bbc.co.uk/thread/blood-sweat-tshirts.

http://www.freeqmagazine.com/

Aussie T shirts – Echidna Clothing

Echidna Clothing is all about wearing an aussie t shirt on your sleeve, and doing so with a bit of style as well.

echidna3

It all began when a bloke stuck in a freezing London winter wanted an Australian t shirt to remind him of home. After a few cold ones to fuel the creative process, and many hours hunched over the drawing board, Echidna Clothing was born.

It doesn’t matter if you are at the beach, in the bush or travelling around the globe… wearing Australian t shirts shows the world where you’re from, and keeps you looking good at the same time.

echidna1

At Echidna, take Australian icons like Bonnie Doon, Brisvegas, The Southern Cross, and others – and then turn these into retro Aussie t shirts so you can show the world where you’re from.

They are so confident in that you will be stoked with your new Australian TShirts, they offer a no questions asked, money back guarantee on all items!!

echidna2

Visit the site: http://www.echidnaclothing.com
Visit our main site: www.october.co.uk

CARL FROCH v JEAN PASCAL

It’s always a pleasure to print t-shirts associated with a sporting success, but the experience is all the sweeter when it concerns a contender from Nottingham.October screen printed Carl Froch’s t-shirts for his recent WBC Super Middleweight fight with Jean Pascal.

Carl Froch

 

The distressed design led us to the decision that discharge inks should be used, along with an enzyme washed garment – this created a vintage look to match what turned out to be a vintage performance, reminiscent of the great Benn v Eubank encounters of the past.

 

Carl will no doubt now get the opportunities he deserves – Madison Square Garden next summer? Watch this space.

 

 

view our main site: www.october.co.uk
t shirt printing, screen printing, embroidery

Your tshirt and fashion choice

Vote for your choice and help us to provide better content.

Visit our main site: www.october.co.uk
t shirt printing, screen printing, embroidery

L-R-G are back with more hoodies, t shirts,sweats and urban fashion

The L-R-G Neapolitan Camo Zip Up Hoody (urban fashion) is another classic made from 100% cotton, and features a hood with drawstrings, a multi-color camo pattern.

 

 

An LRG logo stitching on the chest, side pockets, an LRG logo label on the hood opening & hem, and a metal LRG logo label on the back. You cannot get cooler skatewear than this.

Also visit our main site: www.october.co.uk

Purchase L-R-G garments at: check out the yukka website.

L-R-G scateboarding blog site: click here

 

 

 

Garment Labeling – Take responsibility

When you enter a supermarket you can select a product and see the fats, salts carbs etc. and see the country of origin to get your food miles.. This information allows consumers to make informed choices.

Every action has a consequence, but with this information, neither businesses nor consumers have any excuses about responsibility.

But why is this not the same in retail clothing? This is a campaign for the freedom of information and ultimately complete transparency in the retail clothing sector.

We want our model – open candid information on every aspect of the clothing manufacture Product Life Cycle – to take a fresh approach to combat greenwash in a market saturated with unjustified marketing catchphrases.

The Prime Minister agrees and our petition is online as of today…

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/RapanuiLights/

Signing this petition will be one tiny step towards forcing an entire industry to be open and honest about their products. One big change is just lots of little changes… Be part of it!

Definition of ‘Urban Fashion’

The word urban is thrown about so casually nowadays that it is hard to determine what it actually means and whether it means the same thing in every context.

There has been much debate in the music industry about the word urban actually acting as a euphemism for music of black origin, however, the dictionary defines it as of or living in a city or town. So what does the word urban actually mean? And more importantly, what does it mean in the context of fashion?

For the purposes of the UK Urban Fashion Awards, the word urban has been taken to mean the culture that arises in cities and towns as a result of the fusion of different cultures, lifestyles, ideas and attitudes.

Urban Fashion is edgy and reflects lifestyle, attitudes and individuality. Unlike mainstream fashion, anything goes in the urban fashion world and designers are not pressured into conforming to trends. This scene is a law unto itself and trends change with the wind. Inspiration for urban lifestyle trends comes not from the media but from those trendsetters, those individuals within the scene that lead. Those that turn ideas into action. Those who refuse to follow conventions. These are the people that direct the urban scene.

Urban Fashion does not bow to the trends dictated by mainstream fashion. As its central themes are individuality, going against the grain and youth culture, it is an industry which is evolving very rapidly and whose path and trends are somewhat unpredictable. Influences are varied and numerous and include American, British, Asian, Caribbean and African culture, rock, pop, hip-hop, indie and dancehall music. The skateboard culture, youth culture and mainstream fashion also influence urban fashion. All these influences and many more have given rise to a rich fusion of colour, design, style and attitude, which has created the unique and distinctive UK Urban Fashion scene. This scene is also quite distinct from mainstream fashion because the designs are more practical and are, therefore, more likely to be worn on a day-to-day basis, which is to be expected in view of the fact that the word urban is often thought to be synonymous with what is happening on the streets.

In conclusion, urban fashion is real fashion, style that exudes individuality and attitude and is what the ordinary fashion savvy shoppers are wearing right now.

source: www.uufa.co.uk

Visit our main site: www.october.co.uk
t shirt printing, screen printing, embroidery

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