The perceptions are that ethics come at an added cost: but do we want to pay extra for ethical clothing, and should we have to?
I’m going to guess that most of us would answer no, we do not want to pay more for our clothing to be both fashionable and ethical, and neither should we feel we have to.
But the reality is, the ethical clothing options out there right now are usually more expensive.
Price is often seen as a barrier to consumers buying ethical fashion. Take the prices of clothing on People Tree, which are accessible though relatively expensive compared to the UK’s High Street prices. Fashionable clothing with an ethical personality remains a niche, eventhough more and more purely ethical clothing brands seem to appear every day.
However the success of Fairtrade food would suggest that actually: Yes, consumers are willing to pay more for ethics.
In the UK, for example, The Fairtrade Foundation reported sales of fair trade food products doubled between 2001 and 2003. This was after an increase in media attention surrounding health and ethics scares related to food. Have the effects of Rana Plaza and increased media attention since had their time to take effect on sales of ethical fashion? Generally as they do and more ethical fashion comes into the market, we should get more ethics for our money. But how long will that take?
Image Courtesy of: http://www.peopletree.co.uk/womens/dresses/megan-roll-neck-knitted-dress