I’ve touched on the ethical side of fashion before and since then have been keeping an eye on how the fashion world is evolving to our changing attitudes towards not only the human cost but also the plight of our four and two legged friends.
Today it’s the two legged variety I want to talk about. Our feathered friends. I think we have all at some point owned a down filled winter coat or the more flamboyant amongst us, may have some costume pieces with a brightly coloured feather headdress. Have you ever thought about the methods used to obtain the “materials” for these garments? I know I haven’t or perhaps didn’t really want to think about it. But after reading an article by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) about Down production I’m looking at that lovely warm jacket of mine with a tinge of guilt.
In 2016 some of the biggest names on the high street including Topshop, Primark, Warehouse, Asos, and Boohoo vowed to ban down feathers from their collections. This was following an expose by PETA detailing the horrors that are occurring in some of the worlds largest down producing countries. In China, which produces 80% of the worlds down, videos emerged of the practise of live plucking. Just that phrase alone is enough to give you chills.
So why now? Why has this only just come to light. Personally I think its because we are at a moment in time where our morals have kicked in. The Bangladesh incident of 2013 that I talked of in my Primark post was a huge wake up call and I think other areas of clothing production are now under more scrutiny. We want to know where our clothes are from and more importantly how they are made.
So what can you do? Well there is no way of knowing if the down used in your clothing is cruelty free or not but just like the meat and dairy industry, its a simple case of supply and demand. You don’t buy it, they won’t make it.