What does it mean to be an accredited ethical clothing brand?

Last year I went through the process of becoming accredited with Ethical Clothing Australia. For a very small business like mine where all the manufacturing is done in-house, it was a relatively simple process. I had to provide information about my supply chain, receive representatives from the TCFUA  for a site visit, and sign stat declarations. During the process, I met some wonderful people and connected with others from a distance. I am now part of a larger network of people and businesses committed to ethical clothing production – this is important to me. It’s easy to feel isolated and disconnected from the wider discourse about human rights in the clothing industry as a sole trader. My business Pearl Button Bridal is founded on very strong ethical and environmental principals, I’ve been concerned with these issues all my life, my Masters’ thesis ‘Unfashionable Discourse’ discussed the uncomfortable position of fashion and its inherent need for change with issues of sustainability.

When I started my business 5 years ago I wanted to create wedding dresses that were made beautifully from beautiful fabrics making them more likely to be valued and treasured as future heirlooms. I also wanted them to be made free from the misery of sweatshops. This has usually meant that I have sweated over the dresses myself, but it’s my business and I can put down the needle whenever I feel like it.  It’s my choice if I want to work late into the night on a project. Plus I’m getting paid appropriately for my skills and output. Being part of Ethical Clothing Australia means being transparent in your supply chain. It means that workers in the garment industry are supported, that they have rights which means living wages, good working conditions, access to things that most of us in Australia take for granted. As most garments available to buy in Australia are not made here this transparency in the supply chain is vitally important in understanding who is doing the right thing by their workers and who is not. If you go to Ethical Clothing Australia’s website you can see the labels that are accredited. I’m very proud to be in such great company as Australian labels like Cue, Carla Zampatti, Manning Cartell, RM Williams etc.

Check out the full list of accredited Australian labels at the Ethical Australia website

It is not easy to have a transparent supply chain when you are a large business and all credit must go to these labels for their efforts in this area. When you think about the conditions that garment workers often toil under these efforts should be applauded and supported.

Check out some of the organisations below that are working hard to make a difference in the Fashion industry.

What are some of your favourites?