An introduction to ethical fashion
For me, although I had pondered around particularly ethical fashion over a few short years at the end of Primary school, I can’t honestly say that I was one to be battling the streets of London sharing and shouting the testaments of social issues like animal cruelty during my childhood. I was very much more interested in pursuing my ever evidential failure of a tennis career and mostly wanting to jam four-part harmonies of Christian anthems with my choir friends from school. This was probably the same case during my teenage years, perhaps minus the choir jams – I like to think I had more things to worry about!
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A big turning point for me was my time in China last year. I was very lucky to spend a semester at The University of Hong Kong and finished my trip with an internship at a sourcing and trading company in mainland China called The ODM Group. They specialise in manufacturing and producing various promotional/branded products for hundreds of world-leading brands. Although my role was very much digital marketing orientated, I learnt a lot about managing production projects, and had the opportunity to visit various factories around the South of China. Quite fittingly, the factories I visited were honestly impeccable, yet, it did raise the imperative importance of knowing where your products are being made and crucially how.
Once I returned to the UK it was like I saw the retail world in a different light. I used to trade the extra large share bag size of M&M’s for a smaller size so I could afford to pay for organic eggs. Or, perhaps less regularly, used to drop the six H&M basic all black t-shirts and purchase one super nice Patagonia black tee because I trusted in their sourcing and CSR practices. I was starting to understand that as a consumer I had the power.
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Although ethical or sustainably produced products tend to be a little more expensive, the reason generally speaking is because you are paying for a better quality product – and most importantly a wage of which the individual who produced it can, to put it bluntly, survive. With this interest, and coupled with an Ethics module I took up at Uni, I discovered a few stats, that truthfully hit me hard. I’m definitely not one to be pulling out intellectual statistics, though here are three that could need some more circulation:
1) To date, 250 million 5-14 year old children are exploited in hundreds of thousands of sweat shops around the globe. These are the same sweat shops discovered to be, if not openly shared, utilized by various of our favorite high street retailers.
2) 25% of chemicals produced worldwide are used for textiles. With this, the fashion industry as a whole are widely branded as number 2 in the rankings of the highest polluters of clean water, just after agriculture.
3) In a regularly quoted study, 16 out of 27 luxury fashion products, (59%) tested positive for one or more hazardous chemicals!
This research, coupled with my experience in China, stipulated a strong catalyst to create my own clothes, and so a few school friends and I teamed up and recently launched our own brand – Lite Apparel. Through careful and meticulous attention, and in partnership with UK Charity The Fair Wear Foundation, we are very proud to share that all of our current 06.16 collection are comprised and formulated with 100% certified organic and traceable fabric – whilst imperatively all being created with award-winning energy efficient sustainable methods of production.
If you wish for anything, you can save 10% with coupon code “Trusted Clothes” at Checkout!
About the Author
Kai Jonas is Co-Founder at Lite Apparel. An apparel brand who pride upon offering innovative, high quality and sustainably manufactured product. We aspire to focus our attention on environmentally friendly production and believe that with this we can contribute and inspire the needed movement in the industry. All of our products are manufactured at the highest of standards and our factories are affiliated with the highly acclaimed fair wear foundation group. With simplistic and clean designs we wish for our quality of apparel to do the talking.