“90% of buyers want greater transparency on the price structure and production methods of clothing”. Greater transparency, OK, but how? In the food and beauty industries, apps like Yuka and Clean Beauty popped up a few years ago to help buyers to demystify products.
In the fashion industry, however, the epiphany has only occurred much more recently. The tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza in Dacca (Bangladesh) in 2013, which lifted the lid on the tough working conditions endured by those working for big fashion labels, was a major contributing factor.
How can you demystify clothing to dress responsibly these days? What solutions are there for finding out how a garment was made? Are there reliable apps that can shine a light on our choices?
The need for ethically-sound, environmentally-responsible fashion
Faced with the worsening ecological and public health risks to the planet, many consumers are reviewing their priorities and consumer behaviour. Wanting to make purchases in a better-informed, more mindful, more ethically-sound way. To behave ‘better’ as consumers. Transparency over the contents and production of purchases has become a prerequisite. However, clean fashion has only come about recently, undoubtedly because of its glamorous side that has long had a smoke-and-mirrors effect. To ‘get the lowdown’ on products, apps have taken centre stage. To the point that they have forced grocery and beauty brands to review their ingredients or formulations! For the fashion industry, developing an app is far more complex, if only due to the absence of barcodes on clothing items.
App that demystify environmentally-responsible fashion
Dressing in accordance with your values and your commitments, and doing so stylishly, has become much easier thanks to apps, even if there are as yet not many dedicated to fashion.
The Clear Fashion app
The two fashion designers Marguerite Dorangeon and Rym Trabelsi seized on the issue of transparency to develop their app Clear Fashion, with the aim of addressing it amply. By downloading this free app you can find out the social and environmental impact of your clothes, or of those that you might want to buy. All via a scoring system out of 100, in 4 areas: environment, people, health and animals. More than 150 impact criteria are taken into account. The method is 100% independent, thanks to survey answers and the guidance of a committee of experts. “Brands have no influence on our assessment system” say the fashion designers. Currently, the app demystifies the commitments of more than 300 brands. If the brand that you are searching for is not listed, you can ask for it to be assessed. The brands themselves can send their data and updates.
How does it work?
Simply by scanning the garment’s barcode or label. Though if the brand itself has not supplied the garment’s barcode information, the app will be unable to read it. For example, The North Face is shown as having declined to answer Clear Fashion’s query. So the application has no data on the production sites, or on a number of practices. However, it has assigned scores according to information gleaned by the experts, showing 42/100 for the environment (moderate risk), 35/100 for people (high risk), 51/100 for health (moderate risk) and a mediocre 7/100 for animals (very high risk). The brand can give feedback at any time. Details on the participating brands (like Sézane, Veja, Decathlon, Adidas, etc.) are available on the site www.clear-fashion.com. Searches on the top ethical brands can be run by category (jumpers, skirts, jeans…) and an impact overview from Clear Fashion is also available on there. The founders are seeking ambassadors to help them ramp up their activities and speed up the movement… Go!
The Good on You app
Internationally, the Good on You app assign scores to 2,000 brands under three ethics criteria: the environment, animals and people. This is based on where they stand in relation to the environment, animals and working conditions.
How does it work?
All you need to do is enter the name of a brand to see the score assigned to it. Brands are categorised according to five scores: great 5, good 4, it’s a start 3, not good enough 2, we avoid 1. A statement gives the reasons for the brand’s score. You can also find alternative ethically-sound brands if the one scrutinised gets a poor score.
On top of this, the app and accompanying website offer worthwhile content. Examples are the 10 most ethically-sound, sustainable French fashion brands (or brands from Germany, the USA…), the most ecologically-sound hoodies or glasses, etc. You can buy clothing directly from clean brands by being redirected to their sites.
Environmentally-responsible fashion marketplaces
You can choose garments from committed fashion brands offered by marketplaces like Wedressfair, which brings 60 brands together. The clothing meets guidelines that can be viewed on the site, for example “Each garment is made up of at least 90% environmentally-responsible fabrics”.
Ethically-sound fashion logos
All you have to do is check the clothing for logos directly.
- Oeko-tex guarantees that textiles are free from products that are toxic for the body and the environment – but they may be made from synthetic (and therefore polluting) fibres
- GOTS is a label stating that the product is organic and produced in an environmentally-responsible and socially-responsible way.
Clean fashion advice
It is recommended to wash brand-new clothing twice before wearing, to get rid of some of the heavy metals, formaldehyde and carcinogenic dyes, nanoparticles, endocrine disruptors, etc…
With consciences being increasingly pricked on every level, apps and ways of demystifying clothing and accessories have a bright future ahead of them!