Monday, 4 March 2013

Made in Britain vs Fair Trade

I've been doing some research for a study recently and it has involved conducting interviews on the subject of the garment industry. I've had lots of interesting points coming up which I'm sure I will be discussing with you in the coming weeks but I thought I would start with this one. 

In the industry of sustainable fashion- what is more sustainable: Made in Britain or Fair Trade? The question isn't really about adding up the stats to get an exact answer, I was just interested to know what you think? Here are a few points on both that seem to come up a lot:

Made in Britain

  • Less Travel

    • Not having to import goods from countries far away saves considerable costs on transport. It also uses much less energy especially in air miles which can considerably contribute to your carbon footprint. Sustainability is intrinsic to ethical fashion and looking after the environment is a huge part of this.

  • UK Labour Laws

    •  There seems to be less concern about accountability if garments are made in the UK. It's commonly assumed that it's more likely in the UK that the supply chain will heed to labour laws and give workers better working conditions on a more frequent basis than in Fair Trade where slip ups are expected to occur. 

  • Support UK's Economy

    •  During our current recession, every extra job in the UK is seen as a benefit and a boost to the UK economy. Supporting UK jobs is part of supporting our family, friends and the wider community of Britain to pull itself out of economic decline.

Fair Trade

  • Fair Wage and Conditions

    • The Fair Trade standard sets an example for how wages and working conditions should look in developing countries. This is especially important to you and me because it is Western societies like the UK that take advantage of the lack of human rights and unions and exploit workers in developing countries for cheap labour.

  • Support a Developing Economy

    • Fair Trade is set up to give the poorest people better jobs and better wages because they need it most. Giving someone who is on the brink of poverty a job that pays properly means the difference between staying alive and actually living. It's the difference between a job and a livelihood. Fair Trade is more than bread on the table, it gives oppurtunites to grow, improve and invest in a future.

  • Support the Fair Trade Movement

    • Even if Fair Trade haven't got it completely right yet, people have told me that they want to support the movement by buying the products anyway. The idea behind Fair Trade is a very good one and it is a not-for-profit registered UK charity. Fair Trade is how all trade should be.

I'm not trying to say that buying British Made products and Fair Trade products are mutually exclusive; I think they work well side by side and benefits can be reaped by purchasing and supporting both of them. Both are considered ethical fashion in my books but I would love to know which one you think is more important. Are there more benefits I have missed from either that you would like to bring to the table? Let me know : )


  1. I had no idea before but having read the points I still have no idea but I know more. All in all a win.

  2. I think when buying British made products it's important to consider where the source material is coming from - cottons, zips, etc. are very unlikely to be British-made and contribute to air miles. For British-made clothes I try to find ones that are from repurposed cloth, second-hand, or knit from British wool.