After last week’s BBC documentary about Syrian (child) refugees working 12-hour days in clothing factories, I was shocked. Seeing those children and young adults work in dangerous conditions, working with chemicals without the right protective gear made me feel really bad. Because we all wear items that originate from these kind of factories. So focusing on ethics in fashion, I decided to search for menswear brands that are just as stylish as they are ethical.
Apolis was founded in 2004 with the idea of giving small, local entrepreneurs a chance to sell their products globally. They think business can create social change. ‘Empowering communities through opportunity’ is how they call it. And so, Apolis partners with manufacturers in Africa and South America to produce ethical clothing that is cool and casual.
This vegan leather brand is something that has been on my style radar for a short while. Their clean collection of bags and accessories consist of perfect essentials. Matt & Nat only work with vegan leather, meaning that no actual animal leather is used. The company uses Polyutherane and polyvinylchloride as the actual materials. They are more sustainable and less harmful than animal leather. Also, the lining is 100% made out of plastic bottles and the company currently experiments with using cork and rubber.
Industry of All Nations focuses on similar ethics as Apolis. IOAN gives local businesses, varying from small to medium and large, the opportunity to design new items through traditional and innovative techniques. And as clean as their factories and social work conditions are, the collection’s style is too. Because the soft fabrics, clean silhouettes and different colour palettes make a collection that fits in the current image of minimalistic fashion.
But to be honest, Everland might know its way around minimalistic design even better than IOAN. Cashmere jumpers, comfy bombers and fleece pants, shirt in soft pastels and more. Everlane really gives fashion ethics a clean look. ‘Always ask why’ is Everlane’s mantra. That counts for the producer, as well for the consumer. Because Everlane is transparent and shows its customers what production costs are. Also, Everlane constantly audits its factories on meeting the highest standards on producing clothes.
So to keep the environment and work conditions in factories in mind, maybe try to buy less clothing at bigger retailers. Invest in more ethical items with higher quality. Good for you, good for the environment.
Enjoy your week!