AmyAnn-Cadwell AmyAnn Cadwell, editor-in-chief of The Good Trade.

AmyAnn Cadwell: “Above all, it’s important to look for transparency in the brands we support”

As conscious consumers we can influence, and challenge, our favorite fashion brands simply by asking questions. AmyAnn Cadwell, editor-in-chief of The Good Trade, has made this her gospel—she knows that truly sustainable brands got nothing to hide.

“Truly sustainable brands consider the human and environmental impact at every level of design, production and distribution of their product line. As consumers, we can seek out brands that offer fair wages and safe working conditions for their garment workers and that seek to minimize their environmental footprint.

Above all, it is important to look for transparency in the brands we support. Look for companies that share their corporate values publicly and back those values with transparent reporting. Review their websites to see whether they publish the sourcing of their materials, where their design and manufacturing takes place and their commitments to gender equality and diversity.

Unfortunately, it is often difficult to find this information. In that case that a brand does not publicly publish its sustainability measurements try shooting a simple email to the brand to inquire about their ethics and sustainability:

‘Hi there! I love your brand but I am curious about your production practices and sustainability commitments, where can I learn more? Warmly, {Your Name}.’

« As conscious consumers, it's more important than ever to vocalize our objections to make a positive difference for the people making our clothes »

I am a believer in small steps, in asking more questions, and in raising one’s voice. We cannot understate the collective power of our purchasing habits to force brands to become increasingly transparent about their production practices.

There is much evidence that this is already happening. A recent study from Cone found that 9 out of 10 consumers say they expect companies to address social and environmental issues and 90% would boycott a company if they learned of irresponsible or deceptive business practices.

As conscious consumers, it’s more important than ever to vocalize our objections to make a positive difference for the people making our clothes and goods. It is easy to get stuck comparing the nuances of product and lifestyle choices with the aim of making an ethically infallible choice. The truth is, it is rare to find a choice that is perfect. When consumers sincerely pursue brands and lifestyles that match up to common sense definitions of goodness, decisions become clearer and progress speeds up.

Supporting companies and lifestyle decisions that align with our own personal values allows us to put into action some of our most important beliefs. Acknowledging the effect our actions and our purchase decisions have on the world around us will ultimately lead to better communities and a safer, more sustainable world.”

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