Fur? I am out of that. I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right.
It was somewhere in March 2018 when Italian design house Versace announced it will no longer use real fur in their designs & creative director Donatella Versace quoted the above in an interview for 1843 magazine. It was a sensationalising news for the fashion industry coming from a luxe brand like this one and a right step towards ethical fashion. But little did we know that it was just a start. In September, the British Fashion Council (BFC) announced that London Fashion Week would be the first large-scale fashion week to ditch animal fur completely. Recently, Chanel became the first luxury brand to give up the use of exotic animal pelts such as crocodile, lizard, and snakeskin.
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If we can go to the moon, we surely can find an alternative to fur and animal products especially exotic skins! Bravo @chanelofficial for taking the right steps. You have the power to shape consumer tastes and this is the right thing to do! Guess where Croc skin looks best???? On crocodiles silly! 🐊🐊🐊🦎🦎🦎🐍🐍🐍 #chanel #chanelbag #chanelbags #exoticleathers #exoticleather
PETA has played an important role in this change of direction. Some designers like Stella McCartney always believed in the sustainable fashion. But many others were persuaded by PETA to go the conscious way.
But ethical fashion is way beyond just being fur-free! Ethical Fashion Forum actually categorises ethical fashion in three sets: social, environmental and commercial. So, it’s not just the environmental threats the fashion industry needs to work towards. The social and commercial implications are as detrimental too.
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Kalpona Akter began working as a seamstress in garment factories at the age of 12. She says factory managers fired her when she was 16 because she began rallying her fellow workers after they had not been paid for overtime. Since then, she has become one of the most high-profile activists and supporters of the Bangladeshi garment workers who produce more than $30 billion worth of fashion for Western retailers every year. That puts her at odds with powerful factory owners and the country’s ‘industrial police.’ “When I’m inside my apartment and I hear a police siren in the middle of the night, I panic. I know I have enemies. When my colleague got killed, we were targeted together," she says carefully. Kalpona's mission is to campaign for fair wages, factory safety, the right to form labour unions and collective bargaining for those at the beginning of the global supply chain. What makes Kalpona’s work especially important for the global fashion industry is the fact that vast numbers of Bangladeshi factories are dedicated to making clothes cheaply and quickly for Western brands. Read her inspiring story now [Link in bio], then go to our IGTV channel, where Kalpona speaks to BoF about what Western brands can do to help and how consumers can get involved to improve conditions. 📷: Benjamin A. Huseby
In September for the #BoF500 Print Edition of Business Of Fashion, they featured Kalpona Akter, the founder and director of the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity (BCWS). She has been an integral part of the labour moment and an important person to talk against the slave-labour of the clothing industry. To have such a personality on the cover of an iconic platform was another win for ethical fashion. It gave a new voice and an international platform for these issues to come into focus.
With now more awareness about the implications of fast fashion amongst the general public, it is safe to assume that though we’re late, we still can change the direction that leads to destruction. Even a fast fashion brand like H&M has taken up the steps towards sustainability with its H&M Conscious Exclusive.
This year surely has been a stepping stone towards the greater good and now the only way forward is conscious, sustainable and ethical fashion.