Ethical Peace Loving Fashions for Peace One Day
You get all kinds of ‘Days’ now. International Eat an Apple Day was last weekend for example, and Talk Like a Pirate Day just last week. Recognised by the UN however, you can’t get much more integral than The International Day of Peace, or Peace One Day. The first Peace Day was observed in September 1982 and is now observed around the world on 21st September. In 1999, Jeremy Gilley founded Peace One Day, a non-profit organisation working tirelessly to encourage global peace.
Conflict and violence is present all across the world. This is particularly clear in light of the current migrant crisis. While fashion and textiles can be associated with luxury and loveliness to us, the process of getting the raw materials for fashion can be caught up in conflict too. From simple cotton fibre to sparkly diamonds, how can you be sure the latest additions to your wardrobe have come from a good place?
Uzbekistan is a large producer of cotton but for decades the government of Uzbekistan forced adults and children as young as 10 to pick cotton under appalling conditions each harvest season. Until just last year, provincial government offices ordered schoolteachers to close schools and enforce quotas in the cotton fields. Whilst the government gave in to international pressure to halt this policy in 2014, reports suggest they have increased provisions of forced adult labour to make up for it. As a result the vast majority of UK retailers do not source from Uzbekistan as policy. Read more about the campaign here.
To avoid Uzbek cotton, look for the Fairtrade label or certified cotton from ethical fashion retailers.
You’ve probably heard of blood diamonds. Also known as conflict diamonds or war diamonds, they are diamonds that have been sold to fund war crimes. Diamonds mined during the recent civil wars in Angola, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone have been labelled in this way. It’s very difficult to track the diamond trade but there are a number of ethical jewellers using conflict-free diamonds. Another option is to buy synthetic diamonds. These lab-created diamonds look just as good as the real deal but are cheaper and offer peace of mind.
If you’re worried about where your latest t-shirt or tote has come from, the best thing you can do is to ask questions. Demand that retailers offer transparency so you, as a consumer, have the power to make up your own mind. Fashion can be a great force for good in the world, bolstering local economies with employment and providing training and skills. Chose the brands that can help you find the good.