On a high from the sustainable revelation Mud Jeans gave me, (seriously 289 washes to make one pair of new jeans my mind was blown) I went searching for even more sustainable goodness.
In my search I came across Bec McMaster, Lead Catalyst of her company, Sustainable Projects. I mean anyone who describes themselves as a “Lead Catalyst” is incredible in my books. In McMaster’s words, Sustainable Projects is unequal parts consultancy and collaboratory where I work with people to solve wicked problems with sustainable solutions. My passion for sustainability advocacy stems from a love for the natural environment, and more recently a greater understanding of ethical or labour issues in the fashion supply chain.
McMaster’s greater understanding of ethical and labour issues in the fashion supply chain, has resulted in her most recent and fabulously epic crowdfunding campaign, to bring the Good On You app to New Zealand.
But let’s go back a bit, have you ever been in the mall, wondering “what exactly am I buying, I mean how is this made, who made it?” Have you walked out of a store, filled with questions, perhaps thrilled with your purchase, but also knowing that there is a lot you do not know about what went into that skirt, playsuit or jacket? Is that a yes, because I can tell you I have felt this way. It is only recently, I have began making a real effort to know what I am buying, that wasn’t exactly an easy quest, thanks to articles from M2woman, which by the way told us that Kmart is more ethical then Karen Walker and lots of reading from the Australia Fashion Report for 2016. I was able to gain more information, ethical knowledge is out there, but it is not exactly easy to find.
Enter Good On You, at a glance to your phone you are able to see whether a brand has fair environmental, ethical or animal welfare practices. You can find alternate brands, and shop directly from the app. You can also send messages to brands encouraging them to do better or give them big ups for doing well! Ethical information, once “out there but not exactly easy to find” is now at your finger tips. After seeing the beautiful clothing on Garner and Fairs Instagram, you can buy it through this app, it is all right there for you! Next to that Facebook icon.
Because consumers have the power, apps like Good On You increase ethical accessibility and if we support this increase, in the words of McMaster “this sends a very clear signal to the fashion industry. If brands want our dollar they’re going to have to shift to meet this new ethical and sustainable demand.”
At this point I hope you’re thinking two things, firstly “how do I get involved in this?” the answer to which will come soon (click the link at the bottom of the page), but secondly I hope you’re thinking about some of the “ethical obstacles” as I call them. For young people these obstacles come with price, because Ethical Brands do cost more, however like all obstacles we can overcome.
Through the V word! Vintage! As well as the Q word! Quality! When asked about her tips and tricks for “ethical on a budget” McMaster, says well priced vintage is always great, but my advice is to invest in quality. I put away a little money each week to buy a few well made, high quality pieces in classic styles that aren’t going to go out of fashion any time soon. The longer you can wear a garment the smaller its ecological footprint is. Also the less money you waste, remember we were given the same advice about quality investments from Hello Darling, quality really is better then quantity in the words of the Hello Darling, Darlings, quality is something you can wear for years.
I love doing clothes swaps, I just got a little black dress off of one of my most style-y and utterly amazing friends. Clothes swaps mean, I update my wardrobe for a reasonable price, as well as some money for the seller and the materials used in the garment are valued even more then they were, win, win, win! Quality second hand shopping is also a must thanks to the ever-growing online platforms allowing me to do so, however I am not going to lie, I am saving for those Kowtow culottes. What I am saying is you can use a collaboration of all three of these tips, second hand, quality or buying ethically and clothes swaps, to create your sustainable, ethical and style orientated wardrobes.
Good On You, is vital in assisting you with this endeavour because it means you are able to know what is ethical and what is not as you are buying! “Good On You empowers consumers with trusted information that aligns with their values to make informed decisions about the clothes they choose to buy.”
If you would like to pledge to Good On You and help bring this app to our shores and empower our customers, look here https://www.pledgeme.co.nz/projects/4548-good-on-you-sustainable-ethical-fashion-rating-app-for-nz (or click on any of the “Good on You” phrases in this post)
I asked the incomparable Bec McMaster, who inspires her, she answered Dame Ellen McArthur is a hero of mine. A solo long-distance yachtswoman who has sailed around the world numerous times, smashing world records, she retired from sailing after an epiphany at sea. Acutely aware of what it meant to have limited resources while on a yacht miles from land, Ellen started the Ellen McArthur Foundation which seeks to accelerate the transition from a linear (take, make, waste) economy to the circular (regenerative, waste free) economy. I have huge admiration for her bold steps and incredible work to shift world economies in a positive direction.
However I think it is important for McMaster to know, that I have huge admiration for her efforts to empower customers to make ethical choices.
So I guess to finish I should ask you, what do you choose to buy, because it is up to you? But man, Good On You because Ethical is where its at.