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Oz Fair Trade

Fair Trade vs Ethical Fashion

Fair Trade is a movement that started in the 1940s. Ethical Fashion is a relatively new movement. It is often confusing to know the difference between the two. We have shared information about Fair Trade on other Resources pages. To help you understand Ethical Fashion better, we've put together this page with all the key information. It's a great resource to bookmark and share with your friends.

What is Ethical Fashion?

"Ethical Fashion aims to address the problems it sees with the way the fashion industry currently operates, such as exploitative labor, environmental damage, the use of hazardous chemicals, waste, and animal cruelty."

Compared to Fair Trade, which has been evolving and improving for the past 80 years, Ethical Fashion is a recent movement focused on ethical practices of the fashion industry. Fair Trade has a fairly mature certification system in many developed countries, whereas certification system for Ethical Fashion has just begun. Currently, we have Fellowship500 which recognises businesses that are innovating in sustainability in the fashion sector or have the potential to do so. Fellowship500 has been launched by the Ethical Fashion Forum, which is the greatest force in making the fashion industry more ethical and sustainable. 

Ethical fashion looks at a few aspects in the production process:

  • working conditions of factory workers;
  • sufficient payments to workers;
  • sweatshop labour and child labour;
  • impact on the environment; and
  • organic fabrics.

Ethical fashion also promotes upcycling and recycling of fashion.

In many ways, Ethical Fashion overlaps with Fair Trade for textile products. One distinction is that Fair Trade certification applies to the producers in the developing countries whereas Ethical Fashion certification applies mostly to the designers and companies in the developed world.