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Meet The Groups Fighting For Sustainable Fashion

The fashion industry, like many others, has its fair share of problems when it comes to ethical and environmental standards. While steps have been taken in recent years in order to clean up its act, the fashion industry remains one of the largest polluters on the planet.

Recently, we’ve started to see the emergence of brands catering specifically for people who want their clothing ethically sourced and manufactured.

A new wave of ethically-focussed fashion offerings would not have been possible without the tireless hard work and determination of various groups of campaigners, activists, designers and not-for-profit organisations working to achieve the goal of sustainability in fashion.

These groups range from huge, internationally known charities to smaller, department-sized collections of individuals, all fighting for the same environmentally friendly goal. So what does a sustainable fashion industry boil down to? Most advocates would agree that eco-fashion is part of a growing movement towards a fashion industry that takes less of a toll on the environment and society at large.

As such, the majority of the groups featured in this article work towards building the foundations of an industry that nurtures the environment and its own creativity, as well as the people working within it. So who are these groups? Let’s take a look at a few them.

Clean Cut Fashion

Clean Cut Fashion is an Australian ethical and sustainable fashion association who work toward the implementation of environmentally and socially responsible practices into a brand’s already existing business model.

Their hope is that, by raising awareness about the industry’s impact and celebrating the future of Australian fashion, the group can help to change the industry towards something more sustainable and socially responsible and produce products that are economically viable.

Clean Cut Fashion is also known for putting on panel discussions featuring forward-thinking individuals in the industry to raise awareness and promote the cause while additionally opening the subject up to wider debate.

Fair Wear Foundation

Headquartered in Amsterdam, the Fair Wear Foundation are an organisation that is continually fighting to improve working conditions in over ten countries throughout Africa, Asia and Europe.

With over 80 member companies representing over 120 brands, the Fair Wear Foundation keeps track of the positive changes made by companies and, through dialogue, sharing expertise and strengthening industrial relations, the group looks to increases the effectiveness of the changes made by its member companies.

Companies are welcome to join the Fair Wear Foundation as long as they meet the necessary criteria of producing their own sewn goods, produce in one of the FWF production countries and have a minimum turnover of €2.5 million.

Centre For Sustainable Fashion

Based at the London College of Fashion, the Centre for Sustainable Fashion is a research centre of the University of the Arts London. The focus of the CSF is to, as stated on their website, “explore the field of Design for Sustainability and its application to fashion as both artistic and business practice.”

Through its work, the CSF looks to create and produce internationally acclaimed research while also set agendas in government, business and public arenas. Some of the work done by the Centre for Sustainable Fashion includes giving talks, art and fashion projects and awards programs for working with fellow designers and brands on ideas that could change the way business is done across the industry.


Founded in 2004 with offices in London, Amsterdam and Düsseldorf, Made-By is an award-winning, not-for-profit organisation whose goal is simple, “to make sustainable fashion common practice.

Made-By’s main goals are to help businesses and companies transform their traditional standard operating procedures to a more sustainable model. Made-By also offers a performance tracker in order to keep a record of the changes a business or organisation has implemented and assist in the management and continuation of sustainable policies.

With sustainability consultancy packages, policy change trackers and transparency solutions all available from the same supplier, it’s no wonder these guys have worked with some of the biggest names in the industry including H&M, Hugo Boss, Ted Baker and Tommy Hilfiger.

Ethical Fashion Initiative

The Ethical Fashion Initiative, set up in 2009, is the flagship program of a joint UN/WTO agency, the International Trade Centre. The Ethical Fashion Initiative looks to use fashion as a tool for development by connecting highly-skilled workers in the developing world to top international fashion designers.

Using this model, artisans from poorer countries are able to better their lives and find employment that won’t just benefit them, but their community as well. The EFI, with the help of its partners, looks to build a responsible and sustainable fashion industry that values people, sustainability and fair trade.

Working in places such as Haiti, Ethiopia and the West Bank, the Ethical Fashion Initiative is able to help people living in these areas to make a better life for themselves while also promoting ethical working conditions and sustainability within the industry.

These groups are but a few of the many different charities, organisations and grass-roots activists fighting for the adoption of a more sustainable, ethical and environmentally friendly fashion industry. And it is only by acknowledging and supporting the efforts of these organisations and those like them will we eventually begin to see the widespread transformation of the fashion industry from planet polluter to planet protector.

So what do you think? Are there any groups you feel should have earned a special mention? What do you think needs to be done in order to create greater change towards ethical sustainability? If you’ve got ideas for sustainability or want to bring us up to speed on the latest ethical producers, let us know in the comments below!


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