The Best of a bad lot: Where to shop if you can’t afford fairtrade.

Cotton On

When I speak to people about why they don’t buy fairtrade and Australian made brands the responses can be varied.

Some say it’s because they don’t really believe that conditions are that bad in sweatshops; some say that people in sweatshops are lucky to even have jobs; but by far and away the most common answers come down to cost and convenience.

It’s true that it is still relatively difficult to shop fairtrade. Particularly if you are looking for cheap and non-flower-child options. So if this is a barrier for you, perhaps consider making these simple brand swaps instead. This allows you to do a little something for human rights, without doing too much to your hip pocket!!

Valleygirl ——–> Cotton On

Love cheap and fast fashion? Well do I have some good news for you! Cotton On received an A grade in the Ethical Fashion Report 2015.  Only 2 of the 59 brands reviewed were scored higher – and both of these were fairtrade brands!! Valley girl on the other hand received an F. As did other fast fashion label Ally.

Best & Less ——–> Kmart

Best & less was given a D- in the Ethical Fashion Report 2015, and has the added disgrace of being one of the companies that declined to sign the Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord. Kmart is a signatory and also scored a B, outranking a bunch of other department brands including Big W and Target (B-) and Myer and David Jones (C-).

Just Jeans ——–> Jeans West

The Just Group (which includes Just Jeans, Jay Jays, Peter Alexander, Portmans, Dotti and Jacqui E) has also declined to sign the Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord but gets a slightly higher grade than Best & Less – coming in at a solid D. Jeans West has an offering so similar to that of Just Jeans that I have always struggled to tell them apart. But Jeans West was awarded a B – so which one you choose can make a big difference to human rights.

There are plenty more brands named and shamed or celebrated in the Ethical Fashion Report 2015. If you want to pick up your game in the support of fair work around the world, or are simply curious, it’s well worth the read.