What does it mean to be an ethical brand?
So you may have been seeing a lot of content recently about Shein and their production and wondering what does it really mean to be ethical?
Much of the news surrounding Shein has been based on the fact that they've been accused having their garment workers work 18 hour days with no weekend and only paying them 3p per item they made. From reading this you can understand that these practices do not seem ethical. Even with wages in China and surrounding countries being less than Europe, Aus and the US, these conditions are still inhumane. Many people don't realise but by supporting these brands and purchasing this way, they really are supporting a type of slave labour. Of course we all love a good deal, however to do this at others' expense is not the way forward.
What does ethical mean?Google states it as 'avoiding activities or organisations that do harm to people or the environment'. I think this sums up perfectly a starting point to understand if a brand is ethical, whether it does harm to people or the environment. As written above this harm can be referred to in a few different ways. It can refer to dangerous workplace conditions such as the Raza Plaza Disaster, or it can refer to pay & hours such as the Shein example above.
So how to know if a brand is ethical?
This is a difficult question of course, as it is so expanse. But a good way to start would be to check the website for any 'about us' sections that can give you more transparency into the production of the brand. If they share behind the scenes of their production and show off the ethical practices then this is always a good start.
There is also a lot of certificates you can look for on websites to help you on your way, however keep in mind that these certifications come with costs that some smaller businesses can't afford.
And lastly, reach out to the brand and ask them some questions to see if they are ever unable to answer your questions. If they can't answer simple questions then this is always a red flag!
At SoSo Swim
We currently have all of our production made ethically in the UK, some behind the scenes pictured in the gif above. Although ethically made goods have a slightly higher price point, you have to remember that this is how much clothing is. These fast fashion brands are selling clothes at unrealistic prices. They are promoting unethical practices where their garment workers don't have living wages or work in safe environments.
I hope this blog has helped you in understanding more about how you can tell if a brand is ethical and behind the scenes into SoSo Swim.