Thought of the Day

I don't believe in morality, but I believe in ethical conduct as set out by His Holiness the Dalai Lama: "Ethical conduct = a way of behaving that respects others’ right to be happy".

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Meet Edun & Ciel

Edun and Ciel could not be more different companies: the former is a celebrity duo enterprise {Bono and his wife Ali's} while the latter a one woman mission {Sarah Ratty's}. But they both share the same philosophy of professing themselves *ethical*.

Edun is a socially responsible fashion line selling beautiful clothes {*income*} while fostering sustainable employment in developing countries {*outcome*}. Ciel goes a step forward adopting only environmentally friendly textile, namely Peruvian alpaca in winter and organic cotton or silk in summer. As well as being a great fabric {thermal, insulated, modern, natural, cool and breathable}, alpaca's wool is available in 36 different natural shades. Alpacas are shaved every 18 months, and their yarn is hand knitted by a family of Peruvian farmers.

This business model is, in my opinion admirable, but, again, the transportation issue we have already acknowledged being one of the main causes of carbon emission, is not tackled. The other two main unsolved problems are the shortage of organic seed to supply demand and the large amount of water needed to wash cotton. Pressure should be put on the local governements to invest money in plants, and only those rain-fed countries should be targeted for cotton plantations. Trust and hope is put in intelligent fabrics {e.g. fish skin!}, but the GM cotton remains a big unknown and a potentially dangerous tool to control the market. 

I appreciate a business will always struggle to be 100% ethical on both fronts {social and environmental}. Edun and Ciel have proved that being pragmatic and pick & choose a path to follow with integrity is already a revolutionary attitude. Public consciousness is indeed changing, and the big fashion houses have shown a seam of heart. Sustainability is IN this year – see Lagerfeld catwalk show or Gucci's ethical initiatives. The question is: will be OUT next season?

"I'm from the country, darling. I hear all this talk about organic farming and the environment and things, and I'm all for it. But there must be a certain sophistication, so it's not used as an excuse to let things go to seed."
Karl Lagerfeld 

Photos from the top: Edun dress and Ciel Alpaca dress

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