Ethical and Fair-trade Businesses in BristolPosted on: 20 Jul 2018
Ethical and Fair-trade Businesses in Bristol, should you be thinking more about where your clothes come from?
After watching several documentaries and hearing constantly about the effects of fast fashion on the environment, people and animals it may be time we start doing something about it. I will be looking in to which brands we should be buying from, who makes our clothes and what gives us the urge to get the latest trend instead of investing in beautiful long lasting textiles.
Fast Fashion depends on consumers but what a lot of consumers are naive about are the effects that this industry has on the environment and people making the clothing. Bristol has also been a FairTrade City since 2005, but we do not consider buying and thinking as ethically as we live.
First of all, what makes us want to buy more clothing when we already have so much at home? Advertising is solely dependent on creating the idea of a happy and valuable life when you are wearing what ever it is they’re selling. You begin to believe that buying new clothes makes you feel good and in turn gives you a short lived happiness, until next week when trends change and you begin the process all over again. Also known as Fast fashion.
Fast Fashion effects many people, from buying cheap disposable textiles constantly spending money when things no longer look good to the workers in various countries working all day to provide you with it. This article is not to make you feel bad for buying from large high street brands, but to inform you and give you the chance to make better choices.
The main brands defending workers rights and putting a stop to the Fast fashion impacts are mainly available online, but some have now made it to the high street, this can only happen when they have been noticed enough for their hard work. Below are the main retailers to date:
Everlane USA, Elizabeth Suzann USA, Raven + Lily USA, Mayamiko UK, Apolis USA, Naja USA, Eileen Fisher USA, SiiZU USA, Symbology USA, Indigenous USA, Mata Traders USA, Gamine Workwear USA, Wallis Evera Canada, Gather and See UK, Sweater Company USA, PACT Apparel USA, Krotchet Kids intl USA, Nisolo USA, Alternative Apparel USA, People Tree UK, Tribe Alive USA, Fair Trade Winds USA, HOPE Made in the World USA, Encircled Canada, Tradlands USA, AGGATI USA, YSTR USA, Thought UK, DL1961 USA, Bead and Reel USA, Groceries Apparel USA, Karen kane USA, Christy Dawn USA , Able USA, SlumLove, Reformation USA
I have made a guide to Bristol’s ethical clothing. Thankfully it’s becoming easier to find ethical clothing shops these days. Still not many people know about the impact they would have if everyone switched to ethical clothing or even where to find it. Starting with a Clothing shop that I have already been in contact with, Brothers We Stand have an extensive range of menswear, tagging each item with a description of the impact, so that you can make an informed decision (Of course it would be easier if all products had a label on them but unfortunately this is not the case.)
Brothers We Stand was set up in solidarity with the men and women who make their clothes. Their vision is to support the public to build a wardrobe of stylish and sustainably made menswear. Carrying out rigorous research on every product in their collection ensuring each product meets the following three standards:
Ethical production - Manufacture respects both people and planet.
Designed to please - Products look good and perform the jobs they were created to do.
Created to last - Clothes are made to be enjoyed for many years.
Each item on the site has a footprint tab detailing its social and environmental impact. listing the use of pioneering ethical practices as well as the aspects of manufacture that could be further improved. In doing so, we aim to provide you with a transparent window onto the supply chain of the products the public buy.
Check out the interview we did with them, here.
A current UWE Human Geography Student, Ceri Middleton has launched a new ethical cycling clothing brand, The Bike Spoke. The Bike Spoke focuses on creating stylish and comfortable cycling clothing, which are both ethical and eco-friendly.
First launching with their line of Bamboo t-shirts, the Bike Spoke aim for important qualities we can enjoy; with a super soft feel and breathable material, Bamboo is also well known for its ethical qualities; needing limited water, growing fast and helping the sustainability of the soil making it a great environmentally friendly material.
Check out their press release, here.
Chandni Chowk specialises in textiles, hand made in India by wonderfully skilled crafts people to a very high quality. They are a fair trade company producing two main fashion collections annually, along with several satellite collections usually with something extra special about them such as their Organic cotton range.
Antiform is a forward thinking fashion company with an irregular twist, pushing the boundaries of ethical, sustainable design by using reclaimed materials and mixing fashion forward shapes with heritage craft. All of the materials and workmanship involved in the production of Antiform clothing is sourced within the UK, and local to their studio if possible.
Check out their website to see their latest works Antifoam x Bristol Weaving Mill
They also have an interesting article ‘Sewing in the city – how Antiform and Bristol work together’
Brands such as 'People Tree', Founded by Safia Minney, are very big in the ethical fashion industry and you can find their clothing at popular shops such as House of Fraser and ASOS. As seen on the documentary ‘The True Cost’, Safia Minney founder of People Tree, has been working with women and men in 17 different countries to promote better working conditions. She has now published the book 'Slave to Fashion' to inform people about the serious matters of Fast Fashion Consequences.
Laidback fairtrade fashion that’s simple yet stylish, and very wearable. All of Bibico’s items are made from natural materials so you won’t find any synthetics in their online shop, or in their bricks and mortar shop in Bath.
They even have a lovely range of organic cotton clothing. As well as their range of Fairtrade clothes, they also have some beautiful ethical jewellery brands including: Made Jewellery and A Beautiful Story.
Formally known as Braintree clothing, Thought has not only created a long line of ethically-sourced and Vegan-friendly clothing options but has also helped many fashion-related charities and small businesses through opening pop-up shops. Some locations of these pop-ups include London's famous Portobello Road and Camden Lock market.
With countless phone calls and relentless hard work, a flurry of independent boutiques soon stocked their growing collection. Today, you can find their products in over 1,000 stores.
You can find out more of what they do on their website; reading about their partners and how they help not only their textile workers but charities too.
Update: Since writing this article, Thought has released even more lines of vegan-friendly clothing including dresses, tops and more. It's exciting to see the world on animal-free clothing expand. For some savvy tips on making sure what you buy is indeed vegan, you can refer to this epic vegan clothing guide by Keep It Vegan.
There are many other Brands small and well known that are becoming involved in the movement, check them out here. Alternatively, using the search bar, find out which big companies provide vegan, fairtrade and ethical alternatives. Starting off small can mean buying clothing from Charity shops instead, or attending clothes swap evenings. All of these options help work towards creating a better life for the people that make our clothing.
Get all of your friends together, grab a load of clothes you never wear anymore and SWAP, do it with some wine and chocolates and you will not only be helping to become more ethical but you may get that jacket from your friend that you’ve always adored!
Charity shops, Second hand clothing.
So, I had never been charity shopping before this year and it has changed my life. As a student, it’s hard to find beautiful dresses that are affordable and that you won’t find someone else wearing at the opposite side of the room, admittedly rocking it better with those heels. (not from past experience, of course). Gloucester road is probably my favourite place to go charity shopping, from a past experience I had managed to bag myself a one of a kind Karen Millen dress, 100 silk for £15. You can imagine my disbelief! Charity shopping still won’t stop you buying unethical clothing, but buying them from a charity shop means you're not only giving to a great cause but the money isn’t going to the large corperations.
To find out where the Charity shops are along Gloucester road, click here.
I suggest watching the documentary ‘The True Cost’ to learn more about the effects of fast fashion, and where it is your second hand clothing ends up! It is now on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Let's make Bristol a more ethically aware city and stand up for the 21 million workers that have fallen victim to forced labour (26% of this statistic are children) and workers rights.
Milly is a second year student studying Photography at UWE in Bristol. She's a passionate fashion photographer and blogger; to find out a bit more about her interests, take a look at her photography blog at millyhastingsphotography.weebly.com.