With the buzzwords of sustainable and ethical being used by many companies in their marketing materials, it’s more important than ever to understand what these terms mean and what the companies you’re supporting actually stand for. Do they share the same values as you? And how do you navigate the wild landscape of fashion brands and fast fashion companies trying to get ‘in on the trend’?
When it comes to understanding “what is ethical fashion” there is a vast range of definitions and checkboxes. Many companies within the fashion industry attach their definition of “ethical swimwear” to sustainable fabrics, sustainable materials, vegan products, and recycled materials such as recycled fishing nets to reduce ocean waste. All to minimise their carbon footprint and, may even include organically grown fabrics. It’s great that they have all these awesome eco-conscious choices, but how do they treat their workers? Or what if you can find a business that does these things, while also protecting and respecting their garment workers?
Within the swimwear industry, there is also another definition of ethics that looks to redefine the traditional concept of a “bikini body” and the need to diversify size ranges. Many progressive brands are becoming aware of the need for inclusive models, including a variety of body shapes, body sizes, body hair, skin tone, and gender diversity amongst other areas that need greater representation.
These steps are all important in creating ethical and sustainable swimwear, however, they don’t address the core element of the ethical swimwear business which requires looking after their garment workers. ECA’s mission is to “protect the rights of both local factory-based workers and outworkers”. ECA defines ethical fashion with a fundamental focus on the fair treatment of workers, where local textile, clothing, and footwear workers (TCF) are paid what they deserve, receive all their legal entitlements and work in a safe environment. The accreditation check only covers swimwear that’s been made in Australia for those also seeking to support local businesses and workers.
ECA thanks you for taking the time to research and choosing an ethical brand for your next swimwear purchase.