When Ethics Meet Fashion

Article excerpt

The world of fashion has a world of market opportunities. At a time when industries are consolidating and high-volume, low-cost manufacturing is a competitive driver, one new alternative is emerging. "Ethical fashion," including the luxury segment, is on the rise. Several stories in this issue reflect this new trend.

This summer, we looked at four ITC projects, included in this issue as part of our "Portraits of Trade Development" series. We then stepped back to see what they had in common. All four stories reminded us of trends related to fair trade or non-governmental organizations reported in our previous issue. Three of the stories are from least developed countries. Three are linked to fashion.

Why is the United Nations working in fashion? Indeed, the general public is aware of the UN for its role in diplomacy, and for humanitarian assistance. Its work in development, an ongoing, step-by-step process, makes headlines less frequently. We therefore found the question, posed to ITC by a journalist of The Times of London, very relevant.

In short, supplying ethical fashion markets is an innovative way to reduce poverty. A growing body of consumers wants to invest in high-quality, well-designed products that are environmentally sustainable, help disadvantaged groups and reflect good working conditions. …

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