Personal Exploration: Shopping Ethically

By 11:41 AM

Typically when we are shopping and spot something we like we consider things like the price and whether we would actually wear it. I'll admit what conditions the clothes were made doesn't  really enter my mind when buying from stores in Australia. Recently I was emailed by Sarah from Oxfam Australia about ethical issues in fashion and workers rights. After having a look at their site it obvious what conditions the clothes we buy should be something we consider. As consumers in the west the fashion industry is displayed as this glamorous thing, however for those working in developing countries it is anything but, with workers being paid minimal amount (barely enough to support themselves and their family) whilst working long hours in harsh environments. I think the thing is not that we don't care but they we don't know, we don't know if we are buying something that started off in a sweatshop or not. So how can we buy more ethically?

  • If your clothes carries an ECA (ethical clothing australia) label it means that the garment was manufactured in Australia under acceptable conditions. ECA has a list of accredited Australian garment manufacturers, from high end fashion to casual streetwear labels.
  • Send your sportswear reciepts to Oxfam Australia (Labour Rights Oxfam Australia,
    P.O. Box 1711 Strawberry Hills NSW 2012)
     with a note attached saying that you wish to buy clothes and shoes made under decent conditions, Oxfam can then use this as evidence that consumers are concerned and thus as pressure for the big brands to respect workers rights.
From looking the site I think we are a little limited in buying ethically because before we can the the big companies need to introduce better working conditions, which I was actually surprised to learn that a lot don't, and the best way to achieve this was mentioned in the second point, that is as consumers we have to make it known that we are concerned and we want to shop ethically thereby pressuring the companies to raise the standards of their working conditions.

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