Ethical clothing aims to deliver products made with eco-friendly goods by people who earn fair wages and have safe working conditions.
The cost of a product directly is tied to the where and how it was made. Megan Wheaton, junior pre-nursing major, said she always expected it to be expensive to buy eco-friendly and ethically made clothing.
“Maybe when I become a nurse I’ll have more money and I can shop like that,” Wheaton said. “I would like to know about the big companies girls shop at — Forever 21, H&M, Tilly’s — and find out the background of where their clothes come from.”
In response to consumer demand for products made ethically, larger retailers are making changes to give new options. H&M offers ethical clothing through the H&M Conscious collection. Under H&M Conscious, the fashion retailer promises to make ethically sound choices about where their clothes are made, ensure their workers have fair wages and are environmentally friendly.
H&M Conscious publishes a sustainability report each year to hold itself accountable to these commitments. By 2018, the company’s goal is to ensure textile workers in the company have fair living wages.
Nonprofit company Fair Trade USA is focused on getting workers fair living wages and safe working conditions. Their label on a product guarantees these conditions were met.
prAna provides fair trade clothing for all seasons for men and women. Products vary from tank tops and T-shirts to dresses and jackets. Prices for women’s tops are around $55 and up, but past season items are placed in the online “garage sale” section for a fraction of the cost.
Started by college students, Haal Clothing Company seeks to provide a brand based on biblical values with a focus on creating positive change.
“As we continue to grow, we want to make sure that we are doing business right with the people that God places in front of us,” said Darian Fuyumuro, Haal cofounder and head of management and marketing. “Haal isn’t out to make billions of dollars like other clothing companies, and we aren’t driven by the fame and fortune of the fashion industry.”
Ethical shopping is not out of the realm of possibility for a college student by being on the lookout for Fair Trade USA labels and start-up companies such as Haal.
“I was inspired to help create this brand because I knew deep in my heart there needs to be a clothing company that strives to be different based on how we run our company, market our clothes and in our future goals for growth and outreach,” Fuyumuro said.