Over the last year, I have unintentionally become an ethical fashion blogger. If you look back at my posts from this time last year. It was all about my capsule wardrobe and me sharing advice on how to create one and live with one. I was comfortable with this. I had a capsule wardrobe and knew what I was talking about.
In the summer, a few high-profile organisations named me as a top sustainable fashion blogger. As a result, I starting talking more and more about ethical issues. Because I’d won these awards I felt I needed to live up to the title and talk more about ethical issues. This site had become an ethical fashion blog without me even realising it.
It wasn’t until recently when someone described my blog as an ethical fashion blog that I clicked. Somehow, I’d become an ethical blogger. And to be honest I wasn’t happy with the label. I write a lot about ethical fashion. It even has its own separate category. So, it’s to be expected that people will think of this website as an ethical fashion blog. So why is it that I don’t want to be referred to as an ethical blogger?
I’ve been thinking about this recently whilst planning for the new year ahead. I was brainstorming the type of content I wanted to create and was avoiding the topic of ethical fashion. I had lots of ideas around capsule and minimal wardrobes, slow living, lifestyle and being more sustainable. But I didn’t once write the word ethical in my notes. I was thinking about ethical issues but for some reason avoiding the word itself.
Is ethical now a dirty word?
The word ethical unfortunately now has negative connotations. When someone describes something or themselves as ethical it gives this impression of being perfect and better than everything else. You come across a lot of holier than thou attitudes around ethical issues. People myself included just don’t like this. No one wants to feel they aren’t good enough or that their lifestyle is causing harm. Unfortunately, this is the message people hear when discussing ethical issues.
I understand that the unpleasant stories need to be told to have an impact. It’s important that people know the truth but sometimes the ethical community gets it very wrong. You just have to look on Twitter to see people criticises others because they eat meat or use products which aren’t cruelty-free. I don’t feel comfortable associating myself with these messages. As we all know attacking someone because their lifestyle doesn’t fit your ethics often does more harm than good.
I do worry that I’ve inadvertently become part of this string of negative messages. I’ve read back through some of my posts on ethical fashion and although I stand by what I said. My tone was very negative and sometimes it did come across like I was blaming my readers. Obviously, the issues lie within the fashion industry and not consumers who are all just trying to get the best value for their money. It was never my intention to make anyone feel guilty or uncomfortable with the ethical pieces I wrote. My aim was to share what I’ve learnt and to educate people. I apologise if I made any of you feel uncomfortable or guilty about your choices. After all, we all make ethical choices every day and if you’re happy with your decisions then others shouldn’t attack you for them.
Putting yourself on a pedestal
Another issue I have around the word ethical it is implying you are better than others. By identifying as an ethical blogger, you are unconsciously putting yourself on a pedestal. There’s this idea that ethical bloggers are perfect people who always make the right choice and lead sustainable lives.
I never once implied that I was 100% ethical but because I speak about ethical fashion people jump on all aspects of my life. By speaking about an ethical issue, I opened myself up to a lot more criticism. I’ve had people criticise me because I’m not vegan or all my beauty products aren’t cruelty-free or I bought something from a high-street store. As I already said the ethical fashion posts came about unintentionally. It was never my intention to put myself on any kind of pedestal as a perfect human. I was beginning to feel like a fraud. Being referred to as an ethical blogger was making me feel uncomfortable and unauthentic. It was a label I didn’t want and don’t feel I deserve. My life isn’t 100% ethical and I don’t think it ever will be. Yes, I’m making steps in the right direction but I have a long way to go. I’m only human like everyone else.
My ethical journey started with my capsule wardrobe and buying less and I want to go back to that. I want to focus on choosing quality over quantity and share more of the real me again. This doesn’t mean I no longer care about ethical issues or that I won’t discuss them on here anymore. I just want to do it from a more positive place and if that means discarding the ethical blogger label then so be it.