Let's face it, without the internet ethical fashion would be a much tougher sell. The advent of the World Wide Web (which coincidentally turns 30 this week) has enabled producers, manufacturers and artisans to connect, collaborate and most importantly sell their wares.
The internet has also fostered an explosion of socially conscious projects and initiatives. Everything from awareness of rainforest and wildlife conservation to child exploitation and worker abuse in the third world. Of course, there are huge cross-connections between the two, and one thing's for sure: a connected world is, slowly but surely, becoming a more ethical one.
The launch of a new browser plug-in from a German activist group, Earthlink, is about to make the ethical choice a little easier. aVOID is designed to scour shopping sites like Amazon, Asos and Google Shopping for brands with known affiliations to child labour abuses, and simply makes sure that you never see them. It's a sure-fire way to ensure that when you're looking for clothes, you only find the brands with a decent and ethical employment record, without needing to do research every time you need a new pair of pants.
Up to now, aVOID has helped consumers to avoid 1.6 million items made using child labour. And as you also have the ability to view the uncensored results, you can see just which brands are happy to use kids to make their clothes: an eye-opening experience for many. Earthlink's Nikoletta Pagiati explains:
“Most people think, that cheap products are made by child labor. But there are a lot of high prized products–luxury brands–which are made by child labor, too. Consumers really have the power to influence and control great companies so that they are forced to change their corporate responsibility.”
We're all agreed that child labour should play no part in a modern, ethical workplace, and it's great to see groups like Earthlink showing just how much of a problem it still is - and just how easy it can be to make sure you don't support it.
aVOID currently runs on Chrome and Safari, with support for Firefox coming soon. For more info and to install and see the plug-in in action, check out http://www.avoidplugin.com/