As a society, we are more environmentally and ethically conscious than we have ever been. From wanting to reduce our plastic usage to supporting the practice of fair trade, we are finally beginning to take responsibility for our purchasing choices. With this in mind, I wanted to take a look some cute and cool dresses by ethical fashion brands in the UK.
So what do I mean when I say "ethical fashion"? The V&A, an art and design museum in London, describes ethical fashion as "an umbrella term to describe ethical fashion design, production, retail, and purchasing." The museum continues: "It covers a range of issues such as working conditions, exploitation, fair trade, sustainable production, the environment, and animal welfare."
Furthermore, the aim of ethical fashion, the V&A says, is to "address the problems it sees with the way the fashion industry currently operates, such as exploitative labour, environmental damage, the use of hazardous chemicals, waste, and animal cruelty."
So, essentially, ethical fashion is about sourcing and making clothes to benefit communities they are made by, as well as keeping any negative environmental impact at a minimum. In terms of the human impact, ethical fashion advocates want to ensure fair wages and working conditions are upheld, which, in turns, will support sustainable livelihoods. Ethical fashion brands are those that are committed to helping the communities who develop, design, and manufacture their pieces.
Environmentally, it's all about lessening any negative impact clothing can have on our planet and to our oceans. Ethical fashion brands will aim to source organic, natural and recyclable materials, minimise water use and potential harm to animals, and avoid using harmful toxins or chemicals in fabric.
With these factors in mind, let's take a look at six of the coolest dress designs currently available from ethical fashion brands:
According to their website, Monsoon's factories are regularly visited by their own audit teams and teams of external experts to ensure their code of conduct (which focuses on ethical labour practices) is being upheld. Try one of their gorgeous designs, such as this bold red midi printed dress.
While H&M is a high-street brand often associated with "fast fashion", it does have a conscious collection that provides ethically designed clothing, and uses organic and recycled materials. My only hope is that this paves the way for the remainder of their collection; indeed, the brand has promised it is going to aim for all clothing to be completely sustainable by 2030.