There is a large debate on how fair trade and ethical fashion differ, If there is in fact any difference that is. By fashion we mean clothes, the problem with the fashion industry is that it is so unpredictable. A trend can last for a few days or a few years. Fashion styles that continue to be followed are often considered as classics since they never go out of style, otherwise there is usually a fast turnover rate when it comes to the manufacture of clothes.
This is where fair trade and ethical fashion comes in. Ethical fashion is concerned largely with how the workers who make the clothes are treated. For example do the workers get the right wages or do they work the right hours? People who buy clothes from the stores have no knowledge of this. It is highly possible that some of the clothes you have bought or are wearing were made by people who were underpaid, overworked and received no benefits. Companies do this because people in developing countries are more likely to accept work even below minimum pay because of the quality of life.
3 Fair Trade Fashion Concerns
Fair trade fashion on the other hand is concerned on three things. First is determining if the workers are getting the right benefits for labor. Second is determining if the product is made from natural sources. Finally is the manufacture of the clothes sustainable in the long term.
Therefore one difference of fair trade and ethical fashion is that the latter is about worker’s rights while the former is about the quality of the product. Another difference is how the two are enforced. In order to determine ethical fashion, one would need to do research extensively. If a company is doing unethical dealings chances are they will try their best to hide it and if found out deny it outright. Fair trade fashion is much easier to determine because if it is indeed a fair trade product then it should have a certification or a label. One can thus conclude that fair trade fashion is enforceable while ethical fashion remains on a gray area.
How to choose between fair trade and ethical fashion
So how does one choose between fair trade and ethical fashion? The question in reality does not pose any predicament for the consumer. If it is fair trade it is easily recognizable through its certification. If it does not have any then all one needs to do is ask a simple question. Did the company that make the clothes follow ethical procedures? If in doubt then don’t buy it as it is probably not Fair Trade.