Thursday, March 6, 2008

Cheap Fashion: Making the Best Choice

As anyone who has read my blog for a second knows, I love to shop for clothes. But, I am also increasingly sensitive to how my choices end up impacting the world around me. Consequently, I have recently been a bit wary of shopping at my favorite cheap fashion outposts like H&M and Target (even though I really love Target's goal to bring unique, way-expensive-in-real-life designers to the average person - hello Jovovich-Hawk! -and H&M is always good for a work outfit or that slightly goofy piece that looks really weird on the hanger and, well, sort of weird on, but sets you apart from the crowd).

What I would LOVE LOVE LOVE, is ONE objective source (not dozens of sources) where I can get an idea of the best place to go if I need a last-minute outfit. If I was at Tyson's Corner, didn't have a lot of cash and and needed a little black dress in less than two hours, what store or brand name would be the best to buy from in terms of their social and environmental "footprint"?

I am working on a project that may answer this question in the near future, but, for now, here is an article from Low Impact Living on this issue. You can read my comment on the article at the end.

And, if you are so inspired, here are some places to go to look for information on a company's eco and social position:

  • First, check out their Corporate Social Responsibility or Environmental Sustainability reports on their website. These are usually very helpful.
  • You can always check out the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, where you can search for a company by name.
  • CSRWire is a news service that collects news related to CSR. You can search by company name.
  • Fair Labor Association - Since 2003, the FLA has publicly released data on its reviews of specific factories (associated with named companies like Nike, Adidas, Eddie Bauer, etc.). Find the tracking charts here.
  • For UK based companies (and a few US-owned ones), Let's Clean Up Fashion is an interesting resource.
There are many other resources out there, but this is clearly a good start. Happy info. hunting.

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