If you are the parent or carer of a school-age child, school uniforms make up a big part of your day-to-day life – from buying to washing, ironing and mending. But have you ever thought about whether the uniform your child wears is ethically made?
Amongst the busy mornings and tiring nights, it’s understandable if this idea has never occurred to you, but if this is the year you’ve decided to commit to conscious consumerism, then looking for ethically made school uniforms will be important to you.
In so many schools, decisions around purchasing begin with parent power. To help you approach your school and find out more about the manufacturing of your school uniforms, here are some ideas…
Ask the questions
You might start with a casual chat with the coordinator at your uniform shop, or you can email or contact your school’s P&C. Questions you can ask might include:
- Who manufactures our school uniforms?
- Do you know where they are manufactured?
- Can you give me any information on the conditions of the garment workers who produce our school uniforms?
- Do you have any contact with the manufacturers?
- Why did the school choose to source uniforms from that manufacturer?
Check the Ethical Clothing Australia website
Once you have more details of the manufacturer (and remember, there may be different manufacturers for different products including hats, bags and other parts of the uniform), you’ll be able to check whether they are an ethically accredited business on our Ethical Clothing Australia Ethical Manufacturer directory.
From here, you can look at the listing for each business and read more about the items that they make here in Australia. That way, you can be sure that all Australian made uniform items are made by workers who earn a living wage and work in safe conditions.
Advocate for change!
If your uniform manufacturer is not an Ethical Clothing Australia accredited business, you can petition for your school to look at working with an ethical manufacturer for next year’s uniforms.
Approach your principal or the school P&C committee via email or with a dedicated meeting and share your concerns. Refer them to our manufacturing directory or ask them to get in touch with Ethical Clothing Australia to find an ethically accredited manufacturer. Your input could help your school ensure their uniforms are made by garment workers in safe, ethical conditions.