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Thread: Ethical clothing- is it possible?

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Ethical clothing- is it possible?

    This unique article https://www.iwmf.org/reporting/ethic...a-new-pattern/ shows how it is possible to create clothing in NA. Young people are thinking differently and acting, How can we encourage more of these initiatives?

    Quotes:
    "The fast-fashion industry, she argues, exploits poor and immigrant women to make cheap clothing meant to be worn a few times and discarded. In that, she is part of a growing movement that criticizes the industry’s frequently abusive working conditions and environmental degradation. Textile production creates more greenhouse gases than all international flights and maritime shipping combined, and emissions are projected to increase by 60% in the next decade, according to the United Nations Climate Change initiative....

    Ms. Katebi isn’t producing her own designs. But cooperative members gather now to sew clothing for Chicago and international labels including Almvghty Clothing and Milk Private Label. Ms. Katebi is in the process of bringing two more members into the cooperative, fundraising to buy her own commercial building, and offering free sewing classes in the hope of finding more co-op members to serve a waiting list of designers. She also has a contract pending with a major department store.

    Instead of a sweatshop, Ms. Katebi aims to envelop skilled women – who have lived through war, loss, and abuse – in a safe place. “There is a lot of trauma in that space,” she says."
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    What does "ethical" mean in this context?

    Does it include the environmental impact of the materials used, and of the distribution network, and so on?

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    In reading the article, I believe the reporter is presenting a story about locally produced clothing without extensive transport costs from overseas, abuse of labour, but creating local jobs for capable women who have seen great tragedies in their lives. What did you get from reading the article?
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    What did you get from reading the article?
    I liked the labor-justice angle a lot. I'm still concerned about materials sourcing, and our society's need to produce and consume so many transient items at great ecological cost. The way our whole economy is set up though, it is difficult for the end-consumer to understand what the cost of items really is, and make overall-ethical choices.

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    VERY hard IMO. If I were to define it as: locally sourced, natural product, fair wage. That doesn't exist anywhere near me in the rural West.

    Land's End says Made in the USA but in fact have lost lawsuits because some of their goods are made in China.

    I found this online in NJ: https://www.suuchi.com/enterprise-brands/

    This in MA: https://www.goodclothingcompany.com/manufacturing

    https://zegaapparel.com/

    I think finding truly sourced and manufactured 100% in the USA requires a ton of research.

    That said, I have a friend who obtains locally sourced wool, spins it and then knits her own products. I would say that fits the intended "ethical model". We work with a surgeon who is raising Alpaca Llamas to teach his kids animal husbandry and responsibility. Their wool is to die for!

    I believe the reality is: buy quality items and use them until they are embarrassingly warn out or if they are in good condition and too small/big, take to a thrift store so they get a 2nd chance. (Plenty of people would be appalled at the clothing hubby and I wear in the house and in the garden. Heck, I have backyard only clothes)

    It makes me sad/mad that I can spend as much as $300 knitting a wool sweater but only $80 to buy one? That is sooooo wrong. 20+ years ago I bought a wool sweater for $200. It is handmade and it is beautiful. I've been asked many times if I made it myself. It shows no signs of wear and will far outlive me. It does however make me sad that the person who spent their weeks making it, likely got pennies a day.

    I would love to hear real options for ethical clothing!

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    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I'm wearing a wool cardigan I paid five dollars for some years ago at a thrift. Another somewhat ethical fashion choice.

    I was somewhat taken aback by "She jets around the world to meet with garment workers and union leaders fighting what they see as exploitative practices by companies including H&M and Nike." We have Skype and FaceTime now.

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    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaneV2.0 View Post
    I was somewhat taken aback by "She jets around the world to meet with garment workers and union leaders fighting what they see as exploitative practices by companies including H&M and Nike." We have Skype and FaceTime now.
    To echo bae's question, what does "ethical" mean and how far does it go? Are the electronics they would use for Skype and FaceTime from "ethical" companies? Purchased from "ethical" vendors? Are the electronics powered by "ethical" sources of energy?

    I'm not suggesting that the word "ethical" is meaningless. It simply requires context. And it seems it's always possible to extend it far enough to get to "unethical" or at least "like everybody else". It's why I chose to never invest in mutual funds of "ethical" companies. Is it more ethical to invest only in those companies (however the term is defined by the financial institution) and accept the likely-substandard gains -- or invest in an index fund and make enough "additional" money to donate to businesses like Katebi's? There's no answer for that. But that's in part because there's no common definition for the term.
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

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    The ethical mutual funds are basically scams, they define it extremely narrowly. Investing is in most case amoral at best (the exceptions are not most cases).

    I did recently buy some very expensive underwear all made in the U.S.A. including the fabric. So ethical sure, but does it need to cost that much? I don't really think so, I think they were pricing to a niche market who likes expensive novelties. Sometimes that's me! I'm not posting that to the frugal forum. And sure, I need underwear per se, not going commando, and they are fine underwear, just overpriced is all, but ethical sure. But the price would need to come down to make made in the U.S.A. not even competitive but at all a reasonable option. So those are the kinds of issues this type of stuff is going to face.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveinMN View Post
    To echo bae's question, what does "ethical" mean and how far does it go? Are the electronics they would use for Skype and FaceTime from "ethical" companies? Purchased from "ethical" vendors? Are the electronics powered by "ethical" sources of energy?

    I'm not suggesting that the word "ethical" is meaningless. It simply requires context. And it seems it's always possible to extend it far enough to get to "unethical" or at least "like everybody else". It's why I chose to never invest in mutual funds of "ethical" companies. Is it more ethical to invest only in those companies (however the term is defined by the financial institution) and accept the likely-substandard gains -- or invest in an index fund and make enough "additional" money to donate to businesses like Katebi's? There's no answer for that. But that's in part because there's no common definition for the term.
    I agree "ethical" can be subjective, but as the article commented on wasteful practices in the clothing industry, I thought it was appropriate to remark on the wastefulness of traveling when teleconferencing would do.

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    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaneV2.0 View Post
    I agree "ethical" can be subjective, but as the article commented on wasteful practices in the clothing industry, I thought it was appropriate to remark on the wastefulness of traveling when teleconferencing would do.
    Entirely appropriate; no issue with the statement. I'll note, however, that teleconferencing has existed for decades now and still is not the first thought for business people who want to meet. I think people are just too social. Takes a special breed of us to communicate effectively for years without ever having met any of the participants in person. Just wondering where "ethical" goes in this particular instance.
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

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