One of the key concepts in the ethical fashion movement is Modern Slavery, forced, bonded labour in which people who were promised better lives end up with poor pay, dismal working conditions and few rights to protect themselves and their families – all, very often, to make cheap clothes for Western markets.
One of the best ways to avoid contributing to this debilitating system is to look for fair-trade items – not simply in coffee, chocolate and bananas, but in clothing. Choosing a fair trade fashion brand can help to alleviate poverty in developing countries and make sure that workers are being paid fairly, are working under humane conditions and have sufficient labor rights – as well as encouraging sustainable methods of production.
GoodOnYou, the the mobile shopping app that rates fashion brands based on ethical and environmental performance and that launched across Europe earlier this year, rates the top 10 fair-trade brands rated ‘Good’ or ‘Great’ on the Good On You app.
1. Nudie Jeans – rated ‘Good’
Nudie Jeans are not just passionate about denim – they are also dedicated to sustainable and ethical practice. While not all their products are Fairtrade-certified, the label sources organic fair trade cotton from India to make its basic tees, hoodies, basic sweatshirts, underwear and shirts. Nudie is also a member of the Fair Wear Foundation, which ensures fair and safe working conditions for garment factory workers.
2. People Tree – rated ‘Great’
People Tree is a world leader in ethical and sustainable fashion. Since 1996, the label has been a registered and highly involved member of the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO), which means that the label complies with the 10 standards of fair trade. The label uses mostly organic and Fairtrade-certified cotton to create it’s beautiful range of men and womenswear.
3. Bibico – rated ‘Good’
Founded by ex-Zara designer Nieves Ruiz Ramos, it’s no surprise that UK label Bibico is also known for its classic styles, made ethically. Pieces are manufactured by two women’s cooperatives, both fair trade certified by the World Fair Trade Organisation, providing women with fair and safe work, training and education.
4. Know the Origin – rated ‘Great’
UK label Know the Origin is dedicated to sustainability and quality from ‘seed to garment’. Certified by Fairtrade International, the brand has nothing to hide, offering a beautiful range of fair trade and organic mens and womenswear.
5. Nomads Clothing – rated ‘Good’
Based in beautiful Cornwall UK, Nomads are passionate about sustainability and ethical practice. The label is a member of the British Association of Fair Trade Shops (BAFTS), which ensures that it actively supports producers, raises awareness and campaigns for changes in the rules and practices of conventional international trade.
6. Veja – rated ‘Good’
French label Veja combines footwear with fair trade principles and sustainable practice. All manufacturing, including the organic cotton and natural rubber used in production, is Fairtrade-certified, which ensures that Brazilian farmers are paid fairly for their products.
7. ThokkThokk – rated ‘Great’
German label ThokkThokk creates a beautiful range of sustainable, fair trade casual wear for men, women and children. Most of its products are made from organic cotton that is Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified and Fairtrade-certified, so you can be sure that the highest standards are upheld when it comes to sustainable organic farming and the fair payment of cotton farmers.
8. MuMu Organic – rated ‘Good’
Greek label MuMu Organics uses sustainable and fair trade fabrics to create timeless and stylish womenswear. The brand uses organic cotton sourced from India that is 100% GOTS-certified and Fair Trade Foundation-certified.
9. Dedicated – ‘Good’
If you love a great graphic tee, Swedish label Dedicated has you covered. Dedicated is an ethical streetwear brand for men, women and children. All cotton used in its pieces are 100% organic and most are Fairtrade-certified, which means that you don’t have to sacrifice your ethics to dress in style.
10. Little Green Radicals – ‘Great’
Little Green Radicals creates ‘organic clothing for free range kids’. Their adorable range of childrenswear is always made from 100% organic, Fairtrade-certified cotton, so you know the brand cares about the planet, workers and your little one, too!