In the 1990’s more and more pioneering fashion designers and entrepreneurs began to be concerned about the environment and the people behind their collections. Reports of sweatshop labour , exploitative conditions and environmental damage as a result of the fashion industry were widespread in the media.
At the same time, some designers and entrepreneurs were taking a lead in fair trade and organic practices- and had first hand knowledge of the benefits these could bring to the millions of people in fashion supply chains.
From the beginning of the 21st Century an ethical fashion movement began to gather momentum.
However, there were real challenges facing fashion businesses with social and environmental goals.
There was very little information available on how to go about sustainable sourcing. It was difficult to get hold of fair trade and organically sourced fabrics or production processes, particularly for smaller businesses with few resources.
And there was limited awareness around issues of ethics amongst fashion buyers, suppliers, distributors and industry players.
Companies were taking the initiative with respect to sustainable practices, but often in an isolated manner, which meant that research was being duplicated by different companies and individuals.
In 2004, on a grey January day in London, a group of determined fashion designers and business people sat around a table to discuss the challenges they faced and what they could do about it.
They saw that some of the challenges they faced could be resolved by a unified approach, better communication and dissemination of information, pooled resources and shared practices. An ethical fashion network would open markets for fair trade, organic and values led producers, and make it easier for fashion businesses to source and produce in a sustainable way.
The idea to create an Ethical Fashion Forum was born.
Over the course of the next year networking events and round table meetings took place around the UK- and in 2005 the Ethical Fashion Forum was formally founded as a unified , not for profit organisation with 20 founder member businesses.
In 2004, on a grey January day in London, a group of determined fashion designers and business people sat around a table to discuss the challenges they faced and what they could do about it…