Sea swimming essentials every first-timer should have on their list
Sea swimming essentials every first-timer should have on their list

Sarah Finnan

Calling all biscuit lovers! We’re giving away a hamper of Maltesers biscuits
Calling all biscuit lovers! We’re giving away a hamper of Maltesers biscuits

Lauren Heskin

Would you tell a friend if they’d gone overboard with Botox or fillers?
Would you tell a friend if they’d gone overboard with Botox or fillers?

Amanda Cassidy

What to make this weekend: A grown-up ice-cream sundae
What to make this weekend: A grown-up ice-cream sundae

Meg Walker

How to stop procrastinating what you know you have to face
How to stop procrastinating what you know you have to face

Niamh Ennis

Step off the hamster wheel of dieting: an in-depth guide to intuitive eating
Step off the hamster wheel of dieting: an in-depth guide to intuitive eating

Melanie Morris

Ouai x Byredo is back with more scented haircare
Ouai x Byredo is back with more scented haircare

Holly O'Neill

This recently renovated Ranelagh home is on the market for €1.25 million
This recently renovated Ranelagh home is on the market for €1.25 million

Megan Burns

Considering getting hitched at home? Two couples on their at-home weddings
Considering getting hitched at home? Two couples on their at-home weddings

Lizzie Gore-Grimes

With soon-to-be-three salons, a beauty brand and a little one at home, Kate Verling of Mink Hand and Foot Spa on mastering multitasking
With soon-to-be-three salons, a beauty brand and a little one at home, Kate Verling of...

Lauren Heskin

Image / Editorial

The Ethics Committee


by IMAGE
30th Sep 2013

blank
blank
I’m the kind of person who likes charity best when you get something back. Like at school fetes, when you gave to charity by paying to throw a wet sponge at a teacher’s face, and won a goldfish for having the pleasure. Therefore, ethical fashion suits me down to the ground. I can drop obscene amounts of cash and feel sanctimonious about it, if the cause is worthy enough. Increasingly though, you don’t even have to drop eye-watering amounts, as ethical fashion is turned into a cause du jour by ambassadors such as Livia Firth.
Like when Penney’s briefly made organic cottons t-shirts, circa. 2005. Instead of buying four pairs of dolly shoes, I splurged (read: spent €10) on one waffley t-shirt. It felt kinda luxurious, even if it was still most likely made in a sweatshop. Most recently, this method of purchase justification has been used on my new African Shirt Company shirts. These scratchy-in-a-starchy-way kanga shirts are made in Kenya by the locals of Kiteghe, a community that suffers from deforestation and drought. The company, founded by Joan Hughes (Irish, yeaaah!) and Lindi Campbell-Cause, a third generation Kenyan who completed her second- and third-level education in Dublin, has employed four local mothers, and as the company grows, they’ll continue to train, upskill and employ more people. If that wasn’t enough, each shirt sold is also a donation towards the reforestation around Kiteghe. These shirts, colourful, Solange-endorsed pieces of art, are made from limited cuts of kanga fabric, so your shirt will be the ultimate limited edition. They are also made without the use of electricity or running water, so they are made on foot-pedalled machines, and pressed with charcoal irons.

There’s an incredible thrill you get from wearing a piece of clothing with a story like that behind it. The idea of a story behind a piece of ethical clothing really adds to the provenance we search for in non-high street goods. For instance, We Are Islanders (the beautiful trio of designers Rosie O’Reilly, Kate Nolan, and glamour puss Dee Hynes) have brought an interactive element to their fabrics. With their fringe installation piece, 4/704, they dyed lengths of fabric in 4 of the annual tides, and this fabric will be used in a limited range of tie-dyed garments next season. If you can’t wait for that, they’re launching officially at the RHA in early October, and if their SS13 collection was anything to go by, dancing on the borders of sportswear-luxe – earthy textures and light, shimmering metallics, we should be waiting with bated breath to see what these ladies produce next…

The realisation that you don’t have to sacrifice looking hawt hawt in order to be a good, moral consumer gave us People Tree, one of the first brands to make ethical fashion about more than hemp and bare feet. If you check out their ASOS page, it’s a Seattle grunge inspired collection, completed with chic Breton t-shirts and classic staples. Another established company – although its been flailing in the retail market – is Edun, (yup, Bono and Ali Hewson’s company) which may survive by the skin of its teeth by virtue of their excellent SS14 collection. Tribal-inspired monochrome prints and volume-clashing has maybe given it a new lease of life, which, accompanied with LVMH backing, makes it the only fashion company in Bernard Arnault’s portfolio founded expressly with a remit to bring ethically produced fashion to the catwalk.

Many brands, Burberry perhaps being a standout, are bringing sustainability issues into their businesses, and devoting time, money and resources to improving the sustainability and negative impact of the rag trade, and as public awareness increases – unfortunately due to tragedies such as that in Bangladesh – brands, high end and High Street, will be forced to improve practices, with time. For now though, I personally won’t be totally scrapping my Zara habit, but by buying investment pieces that I fall in love with, and buying circumspectly (no more binging!), I hope to put increasing value on my belongings and the story behind them, and I think it is this slow change that will bring about a fundamental shift in our perception of ethical fashion versus fast-fashion.

If you want to find me, I’ll be loitering on Twitter at @colemakf. Please be my friend.?

Also Read

DIY wall murals
EDITORIAL
People are getting creative with their walls in lockdown and we’re dying to give it a go

While staying at home and with plenty of time to spare, creative people are turning to their walls as a...

By Megan Burns

Britta Baranowsky The Flowerfield
EDITORIAL
Happy World Bee Day: These are the best bee-friendly flowers to plant right now

Attracting bees to your outdoor patch is a cinch, with a little forward-planning. We speak to two flower growers in...

By Amanda Kavanagh

blank
BREAKING STORIES
Supermodel Naomi Campbell becomes a mum at 50

The first-time mum shared the news on social media today.   Supermodel Naomi Campbell has announced that she has become a mother....

By Jennifer McShane

Has society become more tolerant of the idea of dating interracially?
premium IMAGE WRITES, REAL-LIFE STORIES, RELATIONSHIPS
Interracial dating: “People kept asking ‘where is she from?'”

With diversity on the rise, what struggles do interracial couples continue to face today? Filomena Kaguako speaks to three couples about their experiences.

By Filomena Kaguako

blank
EDITORIAL
Chrissy Teigen’s past trolling tweets highlight the slut-shaming culture we tolerated

Chrissy Teigen is the queen of oversharing. Usually it’s in good humour, self-deprecating and irreverent. She doesn’t take herself too...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
Emerging after the pandemic: ‘There’s an awkwardness to my interactions, like I’ve forgotten how to socialise’

In just a few months, human contact became one of the most feared gestures. Being around people we loved was...

By Amanda Cassidy

stress
EDITORIAL
Are you up the walls? How the language of stress causes stress

Do you find yourself talking about how busy and stressed you are? With stress, the words we speak are like...

By Sophie White