20 Nov 2019
Barcelona, Spain
Sustainable Textiles & Clothing

“When we shop, we vote for the world we want to live in.” This mantra of consumer responsibility drives Ethical Time, an online platform that helps eco-conscious fashionistas find sustainable clothing brands. At age 17, founder Ignasi discovered some ugly truths about the textile industry’s environmental and social impacts. Soon after, he started advising friends on how to become more ethical shoppers. 

“The problem is the lack of knowledge,” said Héctor, head of Ethical Time’s press & communication department. “Once people get an idea of what [often] happens in the clothing industry, the [ethical] question is answered by their human values.”

Since 2017, Ethical Time has projected that kind of eco-conscious shopping advice on an international scale. The platform allows customers to search a catalogue online vendors with approved production methods. Users can filter results to discover if each stockist observes principles of decent work, sustainability, vegan materials, local production, and / or supporting a social project. Fans of in-store shopping may search an interactive map to locate nearby, ethical retailers.

With Ignasi’s youthful research, Ethical Time’s founder joined a worldwide awakening about damage wrought by the global clothing industry. Héctor cites the infamous Rana Plaza incident of 2013 — when over 1,000 textile workers died in the collapse of an unsafe Bangladeshi factory — as a haunting call to action. 

In recent years, “fast fashion” trends have also accelerated environmental fallout from the sector. For instance, synthetic fabrics now make up 60 percent of clothes worldwide, which scatters tiny, harmful fibers throughout the ocean.

Ethical Time perceives a groundswell of pushback from shoppers against these alarming developments, and encourages it. “There is a strong trend in the fashion sector towards sustainability,” said Héctor. “Ethical Time strives to empower the consumer through information.”

Ethical Time’s message has attracted plenty of support. When Ignasi reached out to family and friends for help, they rallied to the cause — 600 patrons pitched in for Ethical Time’s crowdfunding campaign, raising tens of thousands of euros. This startup capital allowed Ignasi and his enthusiastic volunteers to kickstart the online platform.

The same collective ethos permeates future plans for Ethical Time, which Héctor says will become “a community of responsible people and brands.” This philosophy embraces organizing participatory forums about sustainable fashion and supporting businesses who want to improve their sustainability credentials. Ethical Time does not position itself in opposition to wasteful fashion organizations; rather, Ignasi’s team seeks a productive, sustainable solution that works for all stakeholders.

Perhaps this collaborative attitude is best demonstrated by Ethical Time’s recent visit to Bangladesh, where representatives toured sustainable clothing factories. Héctor was humbled when local garment workers commended Ethical Time’s efforts: “They gave us their full support, and became so happy when they realised that people are fighting for their rights.”

 

Learn more about Ethical Time through the website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Photos courtesy of Ethical Time

David is a freelance writer and researcher based in Beirut. He has previously worked in Cairo.David Wood
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Ethical Time Sustainable Textiles & Clothing
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