Change the world one pair of pants at a time, buying them from a democratic welfare state like the UK.
It's possible to buy all the parts, including raw microfibre, made in the UK, but there isn't a cheap range of welfare state pants in the shops. This site might help. If you want to help cotton farmers in Labed villiage in India, you can pay for a minimum order to be imported to a UK yarn factory and that's a better way to help people in India and in the UK, as well as trying to get India to introduce a welfare state. Whatever way, this site might help.
Shopping, jobs, pay, poverty bonds & ethical fashion are links to separate pages. The shopping page lists some sites where you can buy pants made in a democratic welfare state; the jobs page lists some ideas for reducing UK poverty apart from the welfare state, and the bonds page shows accounts of previous companies that sold poverty bonds and got a tone of favours and subsidies from ministries and journalists and development experts who are so ignorant that they don't know how to reduce poverty
This page is just a quick guide to the term "ethical fashion", which crowded-out the more precise terms that are roughly acknowledged on the Ethics page.
"Ethical" is not a clear adjective; it is a type of adjective. To call something "ethical" without saying which ethic is to beg the question: people search for the term "Ethical fashion definition" but it is a made-up vague term; it is the wrong place to start. If you pretend that a mass movement of consumers sprung-up with that question, and that you are the person to answer it, then you have a chance to answer it to journalists and MPs or pay lobbyists to find you space in the House of Lords or advisors to the Mayor of London's London Fashion Week - the two seem to overlap.
Google Trends' graph takes a few seconds to load on this page. It suggests that the term was invented about 2005 - about the time of public exhibitions of goods called
- "Ethical Fashion", and the peaks co-inside with events like London Fashion Week.
It's such a vague term that it begs the related question and answer that you often see in blogs and interviews:
- "Ethical Fashion Definition", or
- "What is Ethical Fashion?", with the answer:
- "Anything our team of consultants want to tell you and nothing that offends our funders like national insurance or the NHS that are funded out of the price of UK-made pants. In fact we have a kind of un-stated grudge against them or an ignorance where we're pretending to be experts".
Their idea was to rule-out products made in a democratic welfare state with free health care, and pretend that these products don't exist or are suspect - in a list of ways they put on their web site.
If you do your own searches on Google Trends you find that the pattern is clear among shopping search terms, and that the world's searches are mainly in London or perhaps England. There were small early peaks for an Ethical Fashion Show in Paris and an Ethical Fashion Show in Berlin. The trend for "Ethical Fashion" follows a much longer-term trend for "Fair Trade Fashion", an older and clearer term that is used in more countries, along with searches for "vegan", "organic", or "made in..." which still attract more searches than "ethical fashion".
"Ethical Fashion" was used as an alternative phrase in the early 2000s to mean goods made in womens co-ops in places like Kenya with backing by a UN association. That's the definition you see in Wikipedia, which was picked-up by the UK Department for International development with a subsidised trade association for large companies, called the "Ethical Trading Initiative" and a series of favours and small subsidies for a another trade association for small companies, setup by an ad agency that got a great deal of government work. Subsidies included Development Awareness Grants and payments from a Bangladeshi trade association which was in turn subsidised by the Department for International Development. Favours might have been more important among a group of journalists, political advisers and ministers who all seemed to live in the same bubble and believe the same things. If you read some UK newspapers and textbooks, you would think that Juste and Pants to Poverty were the only apparel companies with anything to say in the UK. One of the newspapers helped run an "ethical fashion award" and invited a judge from Pants to Poverty. There was even an Ethical Fashion group in the House of Lords and a Nike-sponsored office at London College of Fashion, an organisation that politicians are strangely keen to quote by name at any opportunity in a phrase like "London's famous fashion colleges".
Consultants are paid to tell suggest that a welfare state isn't important; schools hospitals and government aren't important, paying tax isn't important. So they say nothing; you have to look for the gaps. What they say instead is stuff that covers-up the gaps. PR wages are paid to write careful corporate social responsibility statements from global brands that have the money to write them and control the whole supply chain, so their statements have to be believed. They get known as "Ethical" for no apparent reason. Patagonia write a lot of this stuff, as do the big trainer brands. Terra Plana wrote ground-breaking stuff. They sometimes go-on to say that you shouldn't buy goods made in the UK for ethical reasons - that's on an ethical fashion forum page called "the issues". If there were consultants and PR agencies paid by UK manufacturers, they would say the opposite. Unfortunately UK manufacturing doesn't have the margins to pay for things like PR or advertising; it has to pay taxes for a welfare state.
Here is a test you can check if you are good with search links, or maybe it works anyway:
search commonobjective.co for "girls schools" "NHS" "hospitals" "healthcare" "national insurance" "compulsory insurance" "social insurance" "pensions" "social clause" "human rights". If you don't get a result for Commonobjective.co, try changing the search term to Ethicalfashionforum.com or any other domain that the same group of people are using. If they change for the better, you will be the first to know.
The result of searches on Ethicalfashionforum.com in about 2015 was zilch. Maybe just the odd passing reference to fairtrade factory that had a weekly visit from a nurse, or something like that.
This is a google search box for Ethical Fashion Forum's archive, Common Objective, Centre for Sustainability in Fashion at UAL or you could use the search box below. Once you scroll past the google ads, you can test that the search box works for all sites by searching for "fashion". A quick test in 2018 came-up with an odd result. At first I included Fashion Revolution were included in the list, because they include some of the same people like someone from Futerra Communications and someone from London College of Fashion, so I thought they followed the same money. They use some of the same words like "trailblazing", but look a bit more in the style of Centre for Sustainability in Fashion than Ethical Fashion Forum or Pants. I doubt they're democratic dispite the mock-inclusivity of guest-speaker events. But they mention national insurance: that's weird; they proved me wrong. I expect the ceiling nearly fell-in with surprise when it first happened. As I write, they call for contributions to their downloadable fanzine on an "artizan" theme, such as hand-knitting, and advertise for a fundraiser to fundraise a salary to pay a fundraiser. All more sane-looking than the site you are reading now.
Result pages start with 3 ads then results from Common Objective, Ethical Fashion Forum, and Centre for Sustainability in Fashion.
I believe the phrase was pushed by a PR agency called Futerra, who also set-up Ethical Fashion Forum with some members - often fictional - to represent a fictional industry. At that time Futerra were so popular with ministers that one of their staff was seconded to the civil service at Defra and a Defra civil servant could only say "it's complicated" when questioned about the relationship by a select committee. Futerra and people like them picked-up a meaningless phrase that had been used by a Kenyan project, with a name translated from Italian, and funded by a UN trade association before the phrase was used again for the Ethical Fashion Initiative, funded by government ministers.. Futerra adopted the term and promoted it through their own exclusive trade association for small firms which always promoted their views and their chosen "founder members". Much as the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency invented "the Ploughman's Lunch" and official-looking advertisements from "The Cheese Bureau" to advertise the health benefits of eating a lot of cheese.
It's easy to imagine a government minister signing a cheque for something like this phrase in Pants' own bond prospectus: "£25,000 Funds to cover 3 new posts for 6 months seed funding (they will be self-financing after this period).". The Department for International Development has run a series of grants called "Development Awareness Grants" of which one of two went to Ethical Fashion Forum, as did favours from the Delphe education project managed by the British Council for the Department, just as there were favours from the British Council itself, the British Fashion Council, the BBC and the V&A museum to promote the new concept - even the fictional new fashion companies like Juste. If a couple of ministers like James Purnell and Hilary Benn were way-out of the general consensus, this would have started and stopped quite rapidly. But loads of people went-along with the idea that badly-run countries need encouraging and production in democratic welfare states like the UK is some kind of emotional attachment among ordinary voters that you stay silent about in public but trash anyway because you know better.
This was the generation of politicians who wanted to cut pensions and subsidise steel works in China from UK taxes. They also called-in favours from a new subsidised landlord called Rich Mix Cultural Foundation which had such strange priorities that it's best not to try to describe them because it would sound untrue. For example they spent a lot of their subsidy on a wall-size mural of a black man raping a white woman. Tower Hamlets Council, which also funded the building, has just reached agreement on debt repayments this autumn 2016, at the same time that groups like Ethical Fashion Forum and Pants to Poverty's cheap leases ended. The Forum has left the building and now works from a PO box.
There was a chance to ask Futerra who in the public sector did so much to promote brands like Juste and Terra Plana in so many public sector exhibitions about that time.
"I don't know", said the boss. "We did a lot of work with those brands with things like the RE:Fashion awards, but I don't know who helped in the public sector".
A search of "ethical fashion" pages from winter 2005 on Google reveals Sarah Ratty's page about a new web shop called Ciel, which she ran part-time round teaching jobs at St Martins College. And being picked by UK ministries to show something called "fashion" which seems to be an abstract concept known only to The British Council, The V&A, London Fashion Week, The Barbican Centre, and a small range of expensive department stores. They shared a bubble together, which I suppose is why searches for "ethical fashion" and shopping were overwhelmingly from London.
The trend for "Pants to Poverty" is a bit more spiky than "Ethical Fashion", at first, and Ben Ramsden often explains how it came about. It was a slogan of a protest organised by some institutions and the government to protest at some institutions and the government during the G8 summit of 2005. It's a lot vaguer than Vegan, Made in UK, Organic, or Fairtrade which were all popular search terms before the muddle. Pants' web site describes the phrase as borne in this Government-backed anti-Government protest, reported to the public as a kind of shared togetheryness rather than anything specific. That's what that generation of politicians were like. Nelson Mandela was persuaded out of retirement to make a quick speech in Trafalgar Square, where he called for write-off of debt to third world countries, more and better aid, and trade justice. All fair enough for a retired South African statesman to say, but if you look for a definition of trade justice you find that nobody has ever agreed one - not even the groups that came together in the Coalition for Trade Justice at the time, because of the contradictions between what makes sense on a welfare state and what people call-for from places like Africa or Bangladesh or Nike PR department.
"Swathes of protesters echoed pants to poverty in an unthinking critique of issues demanding a more considered and active response. Devoid of nuanced analysis the moral crusade attacks a bad thing ; a unifying concept brushing uncomfortable questions under the carpet. " - (Gorringe and Rosie, 2006)'
- search snippet of a book about the Make Poverty History campaigns in 2005, published 2006
This is an academic article from 2006, followed by a book published later-on, and don't know if it states that the protests were funded by UK taxpayers through ministries and their contacts, in order to give the appearance of spontaneous public support for going further. There were probably similar public campaigns for the Olympic bid as well, if not the Millennium Dome which had failed to excite. One of the directors of Ethical Fashion Forum notes the problem with some activists previous generation: they could agree on a slogan like "people before profit", but couldn't explain the different possible points of view.
This site does not have funding from Centre for Sustainable
Fashion at University of the Arts' London College of Fashion,
Fashioning and Ethical Industry, Delphe
Development Partneships in Higher Education from the British Council
in Dhaka, UK AID from the Department for International Developemt,
or UNIDOm United Nations Industrial Development Organisation,
all quoted in a funded publication which listed firms like Pants
to Poverty and the fictional Juste and ended "information
from the companies themselves ... unverified", as academic
articles like this do..
This site does not have awards from Delloitte, nor legal help from Hogan Lovells, nor a free youtube advert from Leo Burnett,