Rehema Ethical Fashion Show
The Ethical Fashion Show for the Rehema foundation took place on May Day last week at St Paul’s Church in Hammersmith, a beautiful venue and quite appropriate considering the benevolent nature of the event. The show began with a Q&A panel consisting of speakers such as Safia Minney and Lucy Siegle discussing the current state of Ethical fashion and possible solutions to prevent disasters like the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh from happening again.
Facts to know about fashion trafficking:
- 200,000 women and girls are trafficked into the cotton industry in India
- 30% of them receive any payment
- 61% of designers don’t have a clue where their garments come from
Stop The Traffik Campaign
The thing I’ve learnt from the panel is that is that shopping on the high street, pretty much means I’m buying unethically as there is very little choice for the consumer to buy fashion ethically; my best options are vintage and charity shops. If you want new fashion then your only option is online. Where does the responsibility lie exactly? Well that is a very contentious issue that desperately needs addressing. The speakers disputed whether, the responsibility lies with the retailers and designers or does it lie with the consumer? And what roles if any, does the media have to play in it? I have alluded to this very topic in a previous post, where does the buck end exactly? Consumers are self-serving and self absorbed, they have busy lives and they just want what they want. They probably mean well but they are not going to make the time to change their buying habits overnight, they kind of need to be coerced into changing their mentality. I might sound like a patronising ad men from ‘Mad Men’ here but that is the reality and the sooner we admit it the quicker we can get on to fixing the problem.
As far as the ethical designers, retailers and the media are concerned, it’s not really a question of who is responsible but rather getting on with it and working together to make it happen. Everyone plays a part in this vicious cycle; laying blame is a pointless exercise and a waste of time. The consumer needs to question more. Designers and retailers need to be aware of every aspect of their supply chain and the media needs to take a bigger part in marketing the designers who are Ethically mindful. And of course create great, affordable product, which will attract the consumer.
The Catwalk Show
The evening went on to the Fashion show which Kitty Ferreira took part in. Showcasing a unique blend of colours made from their signature eco dyed silks with pomegranate and onion skins and featuring British made upcycled wool. These classy shapes were delicious on the eye. The catwalk also showcased many amazing designers, whose work you’re not likely to see on your high-street any time soon, so the onus is on you and I to show some support to these designers online. As things currently stand, there is very little support in the industry for Ethical designers like Kitty Ferreira.