Welcome to Sustainability Week! While Fashionista covers sustainability news and eco-friendly brands all year round, we wanted to use this time around Earth Day and the anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse as a reminder to focus on the impact that the fashion industry has on people and the planet.
"That's a really radical thing about the people that are working in this space," designer Mara Hoffman, whose brand has recently been shifting toward greater sustainability, told Fashionista last month. "Other parts of the industry can be into this old-school way of thinking that everything is proprietary, like, 'I worked too hard to get that source; I'm not gonna share.' But the philosophy of trying to make this shift for yourself is that your greatest hope is that others are doing it too; the goal is for there to be less harm across the board, so people share information."
In the interest of adopting that attitude with you, our readers, we rounded up some of the best resources for making ethical fashion a priority. Whether you're brand-new to the conversation or have been living green for years, we hope this combination of shopping apps, podcasts, ethical boutiques and nonprofit organizations will help you deepen your understanding of and involvement with the ethical fashion movement.
There's a reason that "ethical consumer" and "conscious consumer" are often used interchangeably — when it comes to shopping well, knowledge is the first step toward buying better. Luckily, you don't have to go back to school to expand your ethical fashion expertise.
A must-see for anyone who's wondering what all the fuss with ethical fashion's about, or for anyone who's been in the game for a long time and needs a reminder of why ethical fashion became so important in the first place. Andrew Morgan's documentary highlights the devastating social and environmental impacts the fashion industry can have — and will continue to have — if we don't make the effort to change the industry.
The best resource, hands down, if you're an average person wanting to learn more about or get involved with the ethical fashion movement. Fashion Revolution is a nonprofit that raises awareness through social media campaigns, provides concrete actions for consumers to engage in, hosts events and conducts in-depth studies about overseas labor conditions.
If you're more of a listener than a reader, the Conscious Chatter podcast is a good one to keep up with. Host Kestrel Jenkins combines in-depth knowledge with encouraging optimism in her conversations with industry leaders from a variety of backgrounds, from Patagonia execs to natural dye experts to academics.
Spirit of 608
Like Conscious Chatter, Spirit of 608 is a podcast that focuses on sustainability and fashion (though host Lorraine Sanders also covers tech and entrepreneurship too, for good measure). Notable topics in the past have included fashion gaming and ethical fashion blogging.
Shopping Apps and Services
Too lazy to do a ton of research before shopping, but want to make sure you're not buying from brands that don't share your values? There's an app (a couple, actually!) for that.
Good On You
Good On You first became popular in Australia and recently expanded to the US, making it easy to find out the details about the brand you're considering splurging on. It also makes suggestions that help you discover new ethical brands that you can feel great about supporting.
Like Good On You, Done Good filters brands to help you figure out which ones align with your standards. It also has a handy Chrome extension, so if you're shopping from your desktop and Google something like "denim jackets," a sidebar will pop up with a bunch of suggestions for ethical brand options that carry what you're looking for. It often offers exclusive discounts, too.
If you'd prefer to have someone else pick out your clothes for you — but you want to be sure they're making ethical selections — personal shopping service Wearwell can help. Functioning like a StitchFix but for ethical fashion, Wearwell takes the work out of conscious shopping by having customers fill out a preference questionnaire and then sending them curated picks.
Looking to shop online for ethical goods but don't know where to start? These boutiques curate some of the best socially conscious and environmentally conscious finds.
Already got all of the above on lockdown? Here are some tools that will help you take your understanding of the ethical issues inherent in sourcing and manufacturing in fashion to the next level.
While Project Just does a lot more than just break down brands' ethics and sustainability practices, the individual brand reports on the "Project Just Wiki" are some of the most useful functions. Besides offering an easy-to-skim summary of each reviewed label's pros and cons, the platform also has longer breakdowns of topics like transparency, environment and labor conditions.
While forced labor watchdog group KnowtheChain is actually aimed at businesses and investors across the three sectors it monitors (fashion, food and tech), the in-depth research it publishes about worker abuses is useful to any consumer trying to understand more about forced labor showing up in the supply chain of their favorite brands.
This German organization gives brands an overall letter score from A to E, then breaks down the ranking by topics like carbon emissions and labor protections. Under each, the organization lists dozens of questions it asked to come to the conclusions it published, making it easier for consumers to understand where brands are doing well, where they're falling short and where it's simply too hard to tell.
Did we leave out one of your favorite ethical fashion resources? Let us know in the comments!