From campaigning hashtags to innovative online charity shops, here are a few charities and tech orgs championing ethical fashion during this month’s London Fashion Week.
This week kicks off the second week of London Fashion Week - the UK capital’s leading fashion festival. Britons buy more clothes than any other EU country, much of it cheaply made ’fast fashion’ that ends up in landfill or incinerated. The spotlight is firmly on the fashion industry to do its part in sustainability. Charities, British retailers, and fashionistas are partnering to help tackle the problem. Charities are using digital tools to make a splash in the fashion industry. By using digital campaigns, apps, live streaming and digital fundraising techniques, charities are helping to upcycle, reduce waste and save the environment. Here are a few fantastic examples.
Every year, Britons send 235 million items of clothing to the dump. Helping to reduce the appalling amounts of clothing waste, ethical clothing charity Traid (Textile Reuse and International Development) launched the #Secondhandfirst challenge to encourage people to wear second hand clothing rather than purchase new items. Participants can contact Traid and let the charity know what percentage of their clothing worn is second hand. The charity also uses Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to get the movement going with photos and videos. Other charities have also caught on the second-hand recycling movement. Oxfam launched a similar challenge #Secondhandseptember to stop ‘fast fashion.’ Experts at Oxfam have estimated that if everyone in the UK participated, efforts would be equivalent to saving the same amount of emissions as flying a plane 900 times around the world. When speaking to the BBC, Danny Sriskandarajah, Oxfam CEO said: “These staggering facts about fashion’s impact on the planet and the world’s poorest people should make us all think twice before buying something new to wear."
Improving transparency in the fashion business, the charity-owned digital platform rates global brands by the impact on people, the planet, and animals. The rating system assesses how brands source their raw materials, whether animal products are used, and whether any products are made using unethical labour practices. Using her star power to promote Looks Good On You, actress Emma Watson said: “Good On You is my benchmark for sustainable fashion. This means that when I’m given a platform to speak about my choice of outfit, I will have a meaningful story to tell.” Consumers can search the platform online by category of clothing or brand. Looks Good On You is also downloadable to mobile phones.
Re-fashion is a website dedicated to helping small charities without the means to open their own charity shop a way to sell donated clothes and raise money online. Visiting Re-fashion, shoppers can find a curated selection of second-hand clothing for purchase. The online shop features high-street fashion branded clothing for resale, and includes an online blog of styling tips and trends to watch for. The site has so far partnered with charities including Make-A-Wish UK and Breast Cancer Care, with a focus on ensuring a high percentage of sales goes to causes. The online digital shop will be adding more charity partners in the future.
Smart Works is a UK charity that provides high quality interview clothes and interview training to unemployed women in need. The charity has partnered with Bumble, the dating app, to help fundraise for unemployed women. Using the app, singletons can donate 40p for each swipe towards helping others. Fixing fashionable and sustainable pieces for unemployed women with interviews, Smart Works accepts used clothing from individuals, or donations from corporates. Consultants help women with interviews dress appropriately for the occasion. Adding more star power to the cause, HRH The Duchess of Sussex recently became a patron.
Helping to make fashion more sustainable and accessible to those less fortunate, the team at Charity Fashion Live recreates the London Fashion Week catwalk scene from items available at charity shops. Making use of digital, the recreations are then livestreamed on the charity’s website, to promote sustainable fashion. Charity Fashion Live works with Barnardo’s and Your Clothes to get the message out.