Is your swimwear ethical?

February 20, 2017

Many of us remain in the dark about the source of the items we wear. Many brands don’t disclose details about manufacturing or their carbon footprint. So what should you look for if you’d like to buy ethically?

Firstly, it’s important to understand why purchasing swimwear or any other clothing that has been produced ethically is of utmost importance. Fast fashion, which provides consumers with trendy yet relatively cheap clothing, unfortunately imposes a price on someone else somewhere. The Rana Plaza debacle served as a stark reminder to consumers about the ultimate price garment that factory workers have to pay for fast fashion. We underestimate our power as consumers. As stated by Martine Parry of the Fairtrade Foundation, “Each purchase we make is a vote for the values we believe in”.

Finding swimwear and clothing whose production involves zero negative externalities isn’t an easy venture. According to Business Insider, only 1 % of the fashion industry represents ethically-made clothing. Ajai Vir Singh, the founder of Colombo Fashion Week, Swim Week Colombo and the “Garments Without Guilt” campaign shared certain key elements conscious consumers should look for when attempting to gauge whether an item has been ethically produced

1. Whether the brand utilizes child labour

It’s estimated that around 170 million under-age children are in employment, making garments and textiles for consumers in the Europe and Americas.

2. Employee working conditions
Low wages, “flexible” contracts and sweatshop conditions are rife in many garment factories, as reported by the WIEGO

3. Fairtrade certification

The core principles of Fair Trade’s apparel standards focus on providing workers with fair wages, premiums that they can control, opportunities for growth and education and acceptable, safe working conditions. Garment manufacturers certified Fair Trade endure regular audits to ensure standards are met

4. Environmentally friendly

Clothing produced with fabric from material that is sustainably produced, preferably organic and is recyclable or biodegradable

Ultimately, doing your own research, supporting reputed eco-friendly brands who are transparent about all aspects of the manufacturing process with your rupees and asking questions is the least we can do on our part as conscious consumers.