Is It Possible to Convince Friends and Loved Ones to Consider Ethical Fashion?

Fur Photo

Ethical fashion is definitely a tricky topic. Even those of us who mean well could be unintentionally supporting harmful companies with questionable labor practices or companies that perpetuate the abuse of animals.

My experience in the fashion industry has put me in spaces with people who are staunchly opposed to the use of fur, as well as people who work with fur for a living. I’ve personally witnessed a celebrity arrive at a studio wearing a fur coat, only to declare that they won’t be wearing any fur during their photoshoot.

And then there’s the ongoing quandary of sweatshop labor and other unethical labor practices which run rampant throughout the garment industry.

Like many people, writer Aliya S. King came to be educated on the ugly side of the garment trade as an adult, after likely spending years purchasing and buying clothing from mass retailers like H&M. King, who wishes that her mother would stop supporting the fur and diamond trades, admits that she definitely isn’t an expert when it comes to the issue, and in some ways, might actually be contracting herself.

I can’t say I’m an animal-rights activist: I eat meat and dairy and wear leather. But I do draw the line at fur. I can’t and won’t ever wear a fur coat. I’ve seen the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals videos about how animals are often tortured in the name of fashion, and I just can’t unsee what I’ve seen. A few years ago, I talked to my mom about how fur coats are made and how the animals are often tortured in the name of fashion.

Her mother’s response to her pleas also indicates the various contradictions that arise when it comes to trying to live a life filled with ethical consumption.

Parents want their children to become educated, caring people and be advocates for change in their communities—and the world. I’m proud that my daughter Aliya is well-read and committed to learning the truth about important issues like the fur and diamond industries. But, ultimately, she’ll have to accept that just as she continues to shop at H&M, knowing that it has an awful history of violating child-labor laws, parents, like all people, are often walking contradictions—sometimes draped in fur and diamonds.

I tend to agree with both King and her mother, simultaneously. I guess there are times in my life when I could have done a better job to educate those around me. But at the same time, I admit that I’ve got some work to do on my end.