For anyone who’s done so much as opened their browser this week, they’ll have noticed something’s up in the retail world. It is of course that time of year again for the inaugural Cyber Weekend, and those who work in retail will tell you, it’s mayhem. Last year saw record numbers of online sales, and total carnage on the high street, with frantic shoppers literally fighting each other for the best deals.
This year, across the four day period from Black Friday to Cyber Monday, spend is expected to peak at £2.2 billion from online sales alone but what does this mean for those in the background? Factory owners are put under ever-increasing pressure from foreign retail giants to keep up with demand, driving their workforce hard, often in poorly-paid, unsafe conditions. The retail industry is built on the eager, plentiful workforces grown out of the developing world and when prices are driven down in the West, the factories feel the squeeze. It is this very price deflation that has led to some of the worst tragedies in our industrialised era, including the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013, indirectly a product of our consumerism.
So what about Fair Tuesday? Fair Tuesday is all about conscious consumerism and making a positive impact with your purchasing power. It’s not about tightening your purse strings or boycotting the high street but it is about making ethical choices that give back to communities instead of exploiting them. Fair Tuesday sends a powerful message to those retail giants that are still unable to guarantee the principles of fair trade for their workers and who continue to exploit those who have no other choice but to accept the job given to them.
It’s important we stand up for those who don’t have the platform to stand up for themselves so here, I’ve rounded up my top 3 ethical and environmentally-conscious fashion retailers to support on this Fair Tuesday:
People Tree has been a pioneer of sustainable and ethical fashion since its inception in the early 2000s. The geometric prints found on their dresses and skirts this season is very in.
Victoria Road’s innovative designs are sourced from around the world and made by skilled, artisan, female workers in safe and fair working conditions. Their jewellery collection is stunning and there’s 40% off until Fair Tuesday.
3. MATT & NAT
MATT & NAT (MAT(T)ERIAL + NATURE) specialise in bags made from vegan and recycled materials. They are working to bring all of their factories up to SA8000 standard, which ensures quality work conditions for all. Their bags are classic and affordable and offer an eco option to their leather-producing competitors.