I've recently finished reading To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World by Lucy Siegle.
There was a lot of information in this book for knitters, mainly in the chapters concerning wool, cotton and cashmere. I was fascinated by the details regarding the disappearance of some breeds of sheep as consumers demand the softness of merino wools. At the same time cashmere quality is being reduced trying to keep up with demand.
I found the chapter on making our own clothes perhaps a little naive. While doing so certainly means we aren't taking advantage of underpaid garment makers it really doesn't deal with any of the environmental or animal rights issues. As someone who has made many of my clothes knitting, as well as sewing I'm not sure this is practical for most people. It takes a fair bit of skill, a huge time investment and neither is especially economical. I've done these things because I enjoy the process and the end result but not everyone sees making clothes as fun.
I found myself even more confused about what good ethical choices in fashion mean by the end of the book than before I started it. There are so many views and problems to be dealt with when making decisions. They fall mainly into humanitarian issues, animal rights, environmental concerns regarding pollution, sustainability and consumption of water.
After reading the book I came away feeling that you really can't be ethical in all areas at the same time. I did do a brief online search to see what is available in my local shopping area that could be viewed as ethical fashion and did not find a single retailer marketing themselves that way.
While the book certainly got me thinking about the issues I don't see many opportunities for me to take action.
What are your thoughts?