Ethical fashion

I adore a store called Forever New. It is full of stunning clothing and everywhere you look, diamante glints.

For a magpie like me, this store is my nest. Half of the dresses in my wardrobe are from this shop.

Forever New has received most of my income to date, and at this rate will probably end up with my inheritance too.

So when a friend told me they used slave labour to produce the gorgeous clothing…I kept shopping there.

“Now that I have seen, I am responsible
Faith without deeds is dead”
Albertine, Brooke Fraser

I Have Seen.
Do you remember hearing about the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh in 2013? It was a tragic event where 1,100 garment workers lost their lives in the second worst industrial accident ever recorded.

It was only tonight, doing the research for this article, where I made the connection. That a disastrous event like the factory collapse had something to do with me.

In the Ethical Fashion Guide released this month by Baptist World Aid Australia, 59 companies and 219 brands were rated on two points.

An overall grade of the company’s labour rights management systems (rated from A to F). Higher grades correspond to systems which, when implemented, should reduce the risk of modern slavery, child labour and other labour rights violations.

An indicator of whether companies are paying their staff a living wage. A living wage is a wage sufficient to meet their basic needs.

It is not without some bitterness that I say, thanks to this guide, I can no longer pretend I don’t know that my favourite store Forever New only has an average rating of a C+ and does not provide adequate living wages to its employees.

I have pulled out of the Ethical Fashion Guide stores which are of relevance to the average shopper in New Zealand. Continue reading

Jessica studied Music Performance at the University of Canterbury and works as both a model and photographer.

Additional reading

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