It’s rough, I know. I find it hard too. There’s somewhat of a constant struggle between wanting something, and wanting it bad, but there’s that little ethical voice in the back of your mind screaming at your impulsive habits.

And a lot of the time we try to dismiss that voice. I’m guilty of it too. You convince yourself that boycotting MAC won’t stop them testing on animals. You convince yourself that the animal is already dead, and the real crime would be not buying the gorgeous leather bag. You argue that how a worker is treated in sweatshops isn’t your concern – this clothing is cheap and accessible and if it’s really as bad as they say, they should just find a new job.

And this is a topic that is close to my heart, so bare with me. I implore you.

Buying ethically is hard. It takes a lot of effort, a lot of research, a lot of time, and a lot more money. But when you start to do it right, it feels so good both inside and out. (Plus your clothes last longer, how cool is that).

I never wanted (and never intend) to be the girl who preaches about animal rights. The vegan who gets angry at meat eaters. And this is purely because ethics are 110% subjective. They consider your culture, your values, your morals. But what I do want to say is hey, why don’t we talk about this more. Why don’t we talk about the Lethal Dose Tests, and the rise of Fur Factories. Why don’t we talk more about Rana Plaza. The Importance of Organic Cotton.

The list is never ending. And it occurred to me that people just don’t know. Maybe they don’t care to know – or maybe they just don’t understand how accessible ethical can be.

Some really good cosmetic brands that don’t conduct skin and eye irritation tests, force-feeding tests to determine if the product could cause cancer, or lethal dose tests to determine how much of a product could kill you (why anyone would want to wear these anyway is beyond me, how is putting a spatula in the eye of a bunny supposed to be a measure of safety for a human???):

Something I have always found difficult is the use of leather and fur. As Karl Lagerfeld so quaintly phrased it, “In a meat-eating world, wearing leather for shoes and even clothes, the discussion of fur is childish.” With the demand for fur and hide, the growth of factories for the sole purpose of garment-making has led to both mistreatment and wasteful use of animals.

Yet it all stems down to the one question; where does this come from? What was required to make this product, and what sort of standards does the company have?

And the best part is, you can have your (vegan, gluten free) cake and eat it too. Deadly Ponies sources their leather from New Zealand Light Leathers. This locally owned company uses offcuts of our meat industry – assuring nothing goes to waste, and we can almost trace the exact paddock to which our bag comes from. Kowtow is another New Zealand brand that is considerate of our planet. They recognise the consequence in consumer habits, and attempt to remedy our actions.

For me, it started with an article in the September 2013 issue of British Vogue. The feature spread sent a bright eyed, bushy tailed fashion journalist to a mink fur factory in south-east Asia. She came back and wrote about what she saw. She didn’t sit there and tell people what to buy and what not to buy; instead she said hey, why don’t we ever think about this.

And it was at that point I realised how much power lay in the fashion media. If I can sit here today, and encourage at least one more person to think about where they’re buying from, I couldn’t imagine just how satisfied I would be.

Photo courtesy of Kowtow.

2 thoughts on “ Ethical Voices and Impulsive Habits. ”

  1. Great article. My question is about ELF. As a vegan, I was very excited about ELF, until I saw they’re made in China. At the low prices they charge, I can’t imagine they’re made without the use of unethical labour. Have you heard anything on the matter? Thanks!

    1. Hi Danielle!

      Thank you so much for letting me know about this – I had never been aware until now.
      I haven’t heard anything on their labour conditions but I am extremely interested to know. I don’t want to advocate for a business who don’t advocate for their workers. I’ll have a hunt around and let you know what I find out!

      Tess x

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