Considering after three months of my first ethical studies in fashion area, I still have not got any clear answer in my mind. The first critical question in my thinking was a possibility of coexistence between ethical fashion and sales competition. There were some debates made in our class yet I have not been sure. During in the class, I start feeling that ethical fashion is based on moral and standard but they are different in each custom and religion so it is difficult to find a correct answer.
For instance, ecological issues are concerned from many consumers in Japan so ecological campaign. For example, collecting recycle clothes for charity is popular. On the other hand, labour problem and transparency of production process are not focused on as same as ecological problems. Firstly, labour problem seems daily common problem for people in Japan. It is regularly happened that long overtime work without payment even it is illegal labour. Of course, the problem is more serious in the case of Bangladesh or the other developing countries. Even though, it can be less serious for people who are doing several over work by them selves than people who do not have any illegal overtime. Secondly, if there are some similar quality garments in different price, consumers chose cheapest clothes in the economic downturn. Nowadays, price leads consumer behaviour and consumer behaviour leads decision of retailer. As a result, the sequential flow occurs deflation spiral in severe sales competition among retailers. Retailers need to produce garments in lower cost then people in developing countries need to work behind bad working condition. Also, retailers cannot make enough profit by selling cheap clothes so it is necessary to put up for sale a lot of clothes. This will be related with ecological problem as well.
Jose Mujica, the president of Uruguay made impressive speech at Rio plus twenty in 2012. He referred to “hyper-consumption” in his speech. He used “light bulb” as an example of over production in his speech but it can be also same in fashion industry. Also he asked “what would happen to this planet if the people of India had the same number of cars per family as the Germans? How much oxygen would there be left for us to breathe? “. This is obvious but difficult question. It is difficult to change convenient life, which people already have in developed countries. On the other hand, they should have right to get same level of modern life and many people.
Nevertheless, after I took the ethical fashion module, my life style has been changed a little. I stop over consumption in cheap price retailers and check charity shops before I go to major retailers. This is a few minor changing in the world of gigantic consumption. However, if I use president Mujica’s question in paradoxically, “what would happen to this planet?” Small changes by each people will give a huge effect to this planet. To sum up, it is important to try focusing on ethical issues and to keep broad casting and thinking them. Knowledge is first small step of changing the world.
PAMOUKAGHLIAN.V (2012) Human happiness and the environment – Address by Uruguayan president Jose Mujica at Rio +20 Summit. The Wander Life. Weblog [Online] n.d. Available from: http://thewanderlife.com/human-happiness-and-the-environment-address-by-uruguayan-president-jose-mujica-at-rio-20-summit/ [Accessed 11/12/13]
YOU TUBE. (2012) PRESIDENT MUJICA SPEECH IN RIO +20 WITH TEXT OF PROPER ENGLISH TRANSLATION TEXT [online video]. Available from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ezofj2ydzz4 [Accessed 11/12/13]