How to start an ‘ethical’ fashion company

  • Travel to ‘Asia’, ‘Africa’, ‘South America.’
  • ‘Fall in love’ with a place that is not your own.
  • Name your brand in a language that you don’t speak.
  • Source your fabric and goods from locals.
  • Pay locals enough to keep them working for you but never enough to start their own businesses.
  • Have locals make goods from materials and patterns drawn from their history and culture but modified just enough so that they will never wear or use them, let alone afford them.
  • Create an Instagram of thin, carefree model waifs. If sourcing from Africa, use Asian models for inclusivity and vice versa. Always photographed against a stark white background. But never include the people of the land, the people making ‘your’ products, and never wearing ‘your’ goods. The only images you share of locals are of them working for you, describing how you ‘saved’ them from domestic violence/sex work/poverty/gangs/drugs, or exoticized, like in a circus asking viewers to gawk at the unfamiliar rather than empathize, or all three.
  • Name your clothes after traditions that are not yours, that you don’t practice.
  • Open a retail store or pop up in a gentrified neighborhood.
  • Get press coverage centering you, your idea, your ‘discovery’ of this fabric, craft tradition that has existed for centuries, and your desire to ‘save’ the black and brown folk. But never give them a voice.
  • Have your line picked up by Anthropologie, West Elm, Urban Outfitters. The dream. You’ve made it!