There are many organizations that do third party certification for companies that meet environmental and social benchmarks. Below are some of the largest, most well known, and trusted certifiers. These are the top certifications we look for when deciding where to source our materials, from fabric to business card paper. Click on any of these to go to their website and learn from them what their certification means.
There are many other smaller groups that condone brands for their business practices. Unfortunately, many sustainable stamps-of-approval are actually pay-to-play marketing plugs. Others are only interested in listing manufacturers of a certain size or following. Furthermore, it can be hard for artists and small businesses like Yana Dee to devote the time and resources needed to obtain third party certifications beyond what is required by law. So, while certification is important it isn’t everything!
Transparency is an important tool to assess the ethics of any size business. You should ask, “what does ethical mean to this company? How do they share information? What do they do to meet or exceed the standards they set for themselves?” How transparent a company is about their production process says something about how ethical (or unethical) they really are. Does their Instagram account ever show the studio, workshop, or factory where their clothes are made? If not, it’s time to start asking them some hard questions.
Marketing vs. Transparancy
Don’t confuse marketing with transparency. A savvy aesthetic with neutral colors, curvy models, and a houseplant in the background doesn’t mean a company is ethical. A bright, clean, pinterest-worthy vibe in a marketing picture could very well be achieved while trashing the other side of the planet. I have seen smart people recommend brands they think are ethical, just because the company has a certain image; this image may or may not correspond with actual ethics. This is why it is important we ask, “who made my clothes”? (Visit the Fashion Revolution website here to learn so much more about why this is an important question.)
Fashion Advise Sponsored by Yana Dee
The internet needs better ethical fashion advice. There are some good resourced out there, but it is hard to find them amidst the barrage of content sponsored by megacorporations. So, I’m going to take your ethical fashion questions, and answer them on the Yana Dee blog. You can submit questions to me by leaving a comment below! To start this blog series off, I’ll answer questions posted to a minimalist fashion online community I am a part of. The first question I will answer is about maternity clothing. (Stay tuned, this blog is coming soon!)
In the spirit of transparency, I am informing you that this blog is totally biased. It is sponsored by Yana Dee, so I’m going to recommend Yana Dee products. There are plenty of items Yana Dee does not make, so I won’t hesitate to recommend products from other brands if we can’t meet the needs of the question being asked. Not only this, I’ll also tell you what is ethical about the products I recommend, if they aren’t from Yana Dee.