• Anni

The guide to ethical fashion choices

Over the last few months I have been trying to find more ethical brands in fashion. Although I have found especially Instagram very helpful, brands recommended by influencers or eco-fashion supporters were often way out of my price range as a University student. Going vintage shopping worked well, but I have always struggled finding clothes, such as jeans, with a perfect fit.

Fast forward to October. I am having a cup of tea with my friend and am explaining my struggle. She then mentions this App, on which you can check brands you want to purchase from and see how sustainable they really are.

What's it called?

Good on You

Also available as a website, Good on You provides a rating system to a large number of brands within the fashion industry. In this rating system there are three main categories that are included: people, animals and planet. When finding the brand you are looking for, Good on You will explain why the brand has received the rating it has on each specific category. The rating goes from one to five, one meaning bad and five meaning great.

Need an example?

As an example, let's use the brand VEJA, over which I have written a blog post about a few months ago. Let's say I have heard of the brand VEJA, I like their products, but I want to find out if they are considered a sustainable fashion brand.

Step 1: Go onto the Good on You directory. There you will find a search bar in which you can type the brand you are interested in.

If you are looking for a certain type of product, such as jumpers, you can type this in and will then find recommended sustainable brands to buy from.

Step 2: Choose the brand. If you have chosen to search for a product, there are a lot of brands you can pick from. An easy guide for brands is their short summary on each of them. You can find their rating and price, and base your decision to look at the brand through that.

In terms of price range I have found that a single $ can go up to 50/60, $$ can be around ₤100 and $$$ are anywhere above. Often the sustainable brands are more expensive, so it is up to you to decide what price/rating ratio you personally feel comfortable with as a consumer. They also have the high street brands, which often will be cheaper to purchase from, that you can look at and decide based on their rating system which is most suitable for you.

Step 3: Understand the ratings. Once you have clicked on a brand you are interested in, you will see their rating system. Here you will have a short description (or longer if it is a very sustainable brand) of their background and what they are known for, and below a detailed explanation of why they have received their rating in each category. Here is an example with VEJA:

If you have found something that is what you are looking for, Good on You provides a link to their website and online shop.

How well can I trust their rating system?

Good on You bases their ratings on reliable sources such as certification schemes and other independent projects. What I love about their ratings is if a brand does not have anything publicized regarding one of their categories, Good on You will include that in their rating system. There are a lot of brands that still struggle to provide information to receive a certification of some sort, so Good on You also looks into public statements made by each brand and focuses on those statements which, if false, would breach misleading advertising laws.

Each category focuses on several aspects:

People pays attention to policies and practices regarding forced and child labour, worker safety, freedom of association and payment of a living wage.

Animals focuses firstly on if there are any animal products supplied by the brand. If so, they look into what products are provided, such as exotic animal skin and hair, leather, wool and fur, as well as how these products are made.

Planet considers the brands resource use and how they are contributing to the environment by chemical use, carbon emissions, impacts on water and disposal.

If a brand has made a significant step to better one of these categories in ratings, Good on You will recognize that in their ratings.

Since my friend showed me this app I have been using it for every purchase I make, and it has allowed me to gain a better understanding of what contributions popular brands are making to move into a sustainable direction, and what brands are not. Through looking through some of the high street brands I have discovered that higher price does not mean better quality.

Good on You also runs a very successful blog, on which they release posts regarding new brands and news within the sustainable fashion industry. I have found this incredibly helpful when looking at brands I could purchase from, and through this discovery I have found myself enjoying the rare, but sustainable purchase lifestyle with clothes.

You can find the app on the App Store and Google Play Store.

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