Positive Fashion Criteria

Promoting and contributing to positive change within our industry

The British Fashion Council Positive Fashion logo celebrates the designers who are adhering to Positive Fashion principles within their businesses and in turn promoting and contributing to positive change within our industry. We encourage the whole fashion industry to promote the good news stories and come together with one voice.

Designers at London Fashion Week who have been awarded the Positive Fashion logo have been awarded for their efforts within the below criteria -  

SUSTAINABILITY – Ethics – Focuses on social, environmental and business governance to drive a more sustainable fashion future.

Protecting the Environment

Energy & Water Efficiency

Reducing your environmental impact involves thinking about the natural resources used in your production or in making the products you sell. It’s about managing those resources as efficiently as possible. Working this way can help limit your environmental impact, including on global warming – plus it can bring significant cost savings.

Chemical Management

Around 8,000 synthetic chemicals are used in the fashion, textile and footwear industry.

Think about how chemicals are used in your processes or products. How are you managing the use of hazardous chemicals? Check the regularly updated ZDHC MRSL list on restricted substances for conformity guidance.

Pollution Reduction

Pollution - of air, land and water – occurs at all stages of the supply chain. For example, 20% of global industrial water pollution comes from textile dyeing and treatment. Are you measuring the emissions from your production processes or that are attributable to your products? What are you doing to reduce these?

Recycling & Waste

Recycling treats used or waste products so they can be reused not discarded. For textiles, this can result in a drop in quality or requires items to be reprocessed into something new (eg turning old clothes into new fibre).Upcycling reuses the material or product without degrading the quality and composition of the material for its next use (eg turning bicycle tyres into jewellery).
Unlike a linear economy (make, use, dispose), a circular approach means products are designed with their eventual reuse in mind.

Environmentally Friendly Materials

Organic Materials

Pesticides and insecticides used in growing crops, primarily cotton for the fashion industry, affect our natural environment and the farmers who grow them.

Are you using organically grown cotton or other fibres? Do you have a plan to increase your use of these? Are you a 100% organic brand or manufacturer?

Other Environmentally Friendly Materials (excl organic)

Aside from organically grown fibres, there is an increasing number of more environmentally friendly alternatives to conventional textile fibres and materials. These include recycled and alternative fibres (eg hemp, nettle), closed loop and/or more sustainably produced cotton (BCI, CmIA), innovative cellulosics from waste products and several more.

Animal Friendly

Animal derived materials such as leather, wool, silk, fur, down, bone and exotic skins have been used in fashion for centuries. However some materials require the death of the animal, others may be raised in poor conditions.

If you use animal-derived products what do you do to ensure good animal husbandry, including: 

  • freedom from hunger and thirst
  • freedom from discomfort
  • freedom from pain, injury or disease
  • freedom to express normal behaviour
  • freedom from fear and distress

Further reading on animals and fashion:

  • CO’s Taking Stock research on the impact of fashion on animals
  • Fibre Briefing: Wool
  • Fibre Briefing: Down

EQUALITY & DIVERSITY – People – Represents the people, from the product makers to the staff, students and models who pioneer our brands.

Decent Working Conditions

Formal and informal workers in your operations and in those of your suppliers have a right to work with dignity and enjoy a good livelihood. Ensuring this includes, but is not limited to, providing good working conditions as outlined in the ETI Base Code on wages, working hours, health and safety, and social protection.

Consider what steps you are taking to meet such standards.

Are you adhering to the British Fashion Council Best Practice Guide for Industry when employing Interns? www.britishfashioncouncil.com/Education/BFC-Colleges-Council/Internships

Further reading on decent working conditions:

  • The Issues: Working Hours
  • The Issues: Regular Employment
  • The Issues: Health & Safety
  • The Issues: Freedom of Association & Right to Collective Bargaining

Diverse Workforce Representation

London is the most diverse capital, talent and creativity is not bound by colour, race, nationality or gender so it is right that our catwalks, advertising and creative imagery should reflect the representation of our city. Does your business workforce meet the national UK average representation of 15%? Or is it closer to London’s population average of 40%?Are you committed to being an Equal Opportunities Employer? www.eoc.org.uk/

Fair Trade

Fair Trade is often understood differently. We suggest you use the FINE definition (Fairtrade certified goods – both Fairtrade Cotton and Fairtrade Textiles – and WFTO membership comply with the FINE definition) -

"Fair trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South. Fair trade organizations, backed by consumers, are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade".

Do you aim

  • to work with marginalised producers and workers to help them move from a position of vulnerability to security and economic self-sufficiency,
  • to empower producers and workers as stakeholders in their own organisations,
  • actively to play a wider role to achieve greater equity in international trade?

Ethical Sourcing & Supply Chain Management

Whom you choose to buy from and how you trade with them is key to enabling decent working conditions and to minimising any negative impact on local people and the environment.

For example, do you follow social and environmental criteria when sourcing suppliers and/or in your supplier handbook? Check whether your buying practices support or undermine your ethical criteria.

Do you use the British Fashion Council’s High End Designer Manufacturing database www.designerfactfile.com/Tools/Manufacturers-Database or Common Objective’s platform to work with reputable suppliers? www.commonobjective.co/

CRAFTSMANSHIP & COMMUNITY - Community – Supports the community of talent, skills and craftsmanship that make up our unique industry.

Support Traditional Skills

Heritage and handwork skills sustain local livelihoods and can have fewer negative social and environmental impacts as mass produced goods. Informal workers, often women with families to support, also benefit from a revival of traditional crafts and skills, as many are homeworkers.

Consider sourcing from artisans – many of whom now trade direct online – for components of products or for finishing. Doing so can help skills such as handspinning, handweaving and finishing to thrive.

British Made

Many of our designers manufacture in the UK. There are brilliant, highly skilled units, many of which are based in and around London. It is essential that we continue to work closely with manufacturers and help promote their services as they are a key part of the talent eco-system in the UK.

Do you use the British Fashion Council’s High End Designer Manufacturing database to source locally skilled workers and businesses? www.designerfactfile.com/Tools/Manufacturers-Database

Community or Charity Commitment

Does your business model allow for community projects in the UK or overseas? Do you or your business contribute to your local community? your products support European or International communities or charities?

Do you or your business contribute to your local community?

Do your products support European or International communities or charities?

 

The BFC wishes to thank Common Objective for supporting with their criteria (www.commonobjective.co). Common Objective is the platform created by the Ethical Fashion Forum - it is free to join and offers comprehensive resources to support fashion designers to operate in the most sustainable way. Definitions and guidance links for the criteria set out below can be found at bit.ly/sustainabilitydefinitions

We encourage the whole fashion industry to promote the good news stories and come together with one voice. #PositiveFashion