Making sustainable purchases can be easier said than done. You start out with the wholehearted intention of buying only the most ethical, sustainable version of whatever it is you’re shopping for, but find yourself looking at the same sites over and over, browsing a limited range of options that might not be to your taste, or in your price range. Browsing blog posts about affordable ethical clothing (subtle hint) can be helpful, but slow. Which is why I was excited to hear about a new search-engine-meets-shopping-platform designed to make it really, really easy to find ethical clothes and accessories: Ethical-Clothing.com
Here’s the lowdown.
Who started Ethical-Clothing.com, and why?
Founders Ben and Jack met when working together at another startup back in 2015. At the time, Ben was the CTO and Jack an “odd type of intern, technically”. They immediately found that they shared a lot of common views, especially on environmental issues.
“As tech savvy people, keen to live in the greenest way possible, we realised it was surprisingly difficult to find genuine ethical and sustainable clothing, especially when you have something specific in mind.” Ben says. “However, it turns out that there are hundreds of ethical brands out there. Literally a whole army of them, often smaller in scale, that are doing all they can to produce clothing in a way that minimises harm to our planet. One of the reasons we don’t find them so easily is because they can easily get lost in the ocean of other brands and products online.”
So, to help conscientious consumers and authentic ethical brands alike, Ethical Clothing has been rounding up ethical clothing products from across Europe and featuring them in one place, so shoppers don’t have to scour the internet to find a good range of sustainable options. The idea being that by working in union, the sustainable clothing market is stronger than the sum of its parts.
“Our goal is to bring together ethical brands and help create symbiotic growth via strength in numbers.” Ben goes on to say. Because of course, in order to make ethical purchase decisions we need to find truly ethical options first. By providing a common home for ethical brands, the Ethical Clothing team say they hope to make this a little bit easier, giving a voice to smaller brands that spreads further into the wider community.
Slow fashion, and shopping less
There are plenty of brands and consumers who share a vision of a more sustainable future for the fashion industry, and Ben says that Ethical Clothing should serve as an inclusive space for this movement to grow. The team are always on the lookout for new brands to work with, and encourage recommendations from the wider community. If you’re browsing and realise that you can’t see one of your favourite ethical brands in the mix, let them know!
As well as seeking to make ethical purchasing decisions easier, the Ethical Clothing team are strong advocates of slow fashion, and are keen to ensure that consumers receive honest and open information on the important issues relating to sustainability and ethics within the fashion industry. They even have a Fashion Footprint calculator tool, that helps to calculate the impact of your shopping habits.
Encouraging people to buy less often, and to buy more consciously when they do, the goal of the platform is not to maximise sales. Instead, Ben tells me it’s designed to facilitate the “right type of decision making”, so shoppers begin to think more carefully before we make each purchase.
Making ethical shopping more accessible
More recently Ben and Jack have begun trying to tackle the issue of affordability of ethical clothing. Their research suggests that many consumers feel outpriced by the ethical market, and I’m sure many of you reading this may agree, because it does cost more for brands to get things made in a fair and sustainable way – and this cost is passed on to us as consumers. However, there are often far more affordable options than people would think.
“Again, the goal here is to connect customers with these options. That’s why we’ve built a system that brings together the best ethical offers in one place – so price doesn’t need to be quite the barrier it might appear to be at first.”
Ultimately, Ben and Jack hope that ethical-clothing.com will connect more people with more ethical brands for a frictionless and sustainable shopping journey that helps stem our throw-away culture in favour of a slower, more conscientious approach. I, for one, am happy to shout about this platform and help get the word out.
They actively encourage input from the community, both brands and shoppers alike, so do feel free to get in touch with them to share your view, via firstname.lastname@example.org