One of the reasons why I love my husband Tim is his choice of fashion. When he turns up wearing a checked shirt, fitted chinos, rustic loafers, and a styled neck scarf other men would turn their noses up at, I count my lucky stars I didn’t marry a man who arrives at dinner out, wearing a hoodie. But being up close and personal in a man’s world, has also made me really angry on their behalf. As an ethical fashion advocate and blogger, I rant on and on about ethical fashion alternatives. Yet, when my man asks for a recommendation for boat shoes, or black jeans, I find myself quite speechless.
Ethical fashion for men: Where the heck are you?
*Disclaimer: This article will be full of stereotypes, which are only generalisations, but helps to get my message across. Bear with me! Focus on the message.*
Now that ethical fashion has been a hot topic for several years now, there are brands are popping up every week with amazing eco-alternatives that do right by people and the planet. But ethical fashion for men is like Donald Trump nodding whilst listening to global warming podcasts. Or Beyoncé staying still whilst music plays, and Jack Black saying something that isn’t funny. It just doesn’t exist.
Okay, so there are many brands that have basic tees (helpful, thank you) as a token option for the men, and I did find one pair of men’s black jeans, but overall, it’s really difficult. You must go digging, ask eco-bloggers specifically, and spend hours sifting through sites to find that glorious ‘menswear’ bar on the menu. And you think guys are going to do the research? Forget about it.
Apart from a few exceptions, like my trendy husband, it’s hard enough to get men to care about fashion. Full stop. So, getting them to care about clothes as well as go out of their way to care about the ethics behind them, is near impossible. You try to get a man who doesn’t care if his shirt is inside out, and only purchases packs of identical t-shirts on sale, to suddenly ask “oooh, is this ORGANIC cotton? Do you know who made this?”. Good luck.
I understand how hard it would be to launch an ethical menswear company. That’s probably why they don’t exist. You’d have to be extremely clued up, pour a lot of money into it, and hit the market at the right time in the right place. I’m sure many have tried and failed, and we never knew about it.
Men make up half of humanity, but the change towards slow fashion practices is not moving ahead for this 50 percent of society. Yes, they are not generally the excessive consumers us women are stereotyped as, but come on, men still want to look good. It’s 2018, and the fact I can’t find ethically made men’s boat shoes, is grinding my gears.
After several attempts to find my beloved boat shoes that ticked our values, I got to thinking:
Perhaps men are actually ahead of the game when it comes to slow fashion?
The shoes my husband needs to replace, are so worn through, that when I look at the bottom, I can see more of his foot, than the shoe (slight exaggeration, but you get the picture). He’s worn them for six-plus years daily and repaired them several times. Looking at the rest of his wardrobe, there are holes in t-shirts he keeps for lounging around in at home and he often has a pile of clothes with missing buttons or rips that he insists I mend. Most things he’s purchased, since I met him over six years ago, are from the second-hand shop.
Even though men don’t partake in buying ethical fashion, the way they wear their clothes is how we should all be doing it. How we care for and maintain our clothes throughout their lifetime, has the biggest impact on the environment. We’re so caught up in how clothes are made, that we sometimes forget how they are used is important too. Men give their clothes an amazing, full life. Their favourite clothes stay with them for decades, and turn into rags they clean their cars with afterwards. This is slow fashion.
Men have been leading the way in slow fashion habits without us even realising, but the lack of ethical fashion alternatives for men is more than disappointing. When I say fashion, I mean fashion. Not just another white tee to wear under their H&M shirts, because seriously, that’s all they’ve currently got. Since they’ve got their habits locked and loaded, we owe it to them to offer alternatives.
So who’s up for it?
After all that ranting, here are a few resources to find menswear. ONLY A FEW. Because there are hardly any…
Read our article: Top 10 Ethical Fashion Brands For Men (there’s also this one on men’s eco-friendly surfwear too)
The Kind Guide – curating a range of menswear brands in one easy place
My dad’s favourite place to shop for shirts: Thought Clothing
Good Krama – slightly more improved than your basic tees
Know any ethical and eco-friendly brands for men that offer more than just basics? Make sure to list them below so we can check them out too!
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