Previous stigma of ethical fashion being presumed as dingy, second hand fabrics are becoming a thing of the past and fashion and textile industries have come a long way since the early noughties. A particular company that I have had a keen interest in seeing their involvement in social, economic issues is Aurora Fashions – the name for Coast, Oasis, Warehouse and previously Karen Millen. Having worked for two of the brands, and soon Warehouse too, I feel it has been important to me to think about the development of their products.
In a university module looking at Sustainability, I learnt about the second biggest country for cotton trade – Uzbekistan, mainly in relation to their failed fish industry due to their cotton industry, which has resulted in irrigation for land and soil and child labour. Western countries can help by refusing to purchase from Uzbekistan, so I was therefore pleased to see that Aurora Fashions have banned buying cotton from Uzbekistan. The cheap labour and therefore the cheap retail price, appeals to the end consumer and history has shown that we are generally unwilling to spend more. Education about sustainability needs to expand, especially on the cotton industry. Organic cotton is obviously the better option, but the rate of growth through organic means will never be enough to cater for the demand for cotton.
Despite the video below being 7 years old, it is still just as relevant today.
White Gold: The True Cost of Cotton: