During a brief to and fro with Kyb a few months ago, we mentioned the possibility of having a labelling system for clothing which would do the same as the labelling system on fridges. In other words one that would show which items are verifiably good in ethical/environmental terms, and which arent.
My opinion was at the time that such a system would be impossible to introduce, because the amount of variables invovled in manufacturing a garment, and then the question of what it would be used for, were too diverse.
I am still of that opinion, but its interesting to note that the organisation Made By have pioneered the nearest thing I have seen to such a system, which is active on certain brands, and certain products.
I havent quite got to grips with how it all works, and what I have seen of it doesnt quite go far enough for my liking, however it is a step in that direction.
What needs to be codified I think, is the materials, producers, energy usage, chemicals throughout the process, transport, conditions at all stages, and then the mark up on the garment also needs to be displayed – for the sake of transparency. Following that there needs to be an assesment of longevity, and how easy it is to clean the garment in cold water, as well as whether the garment is likely to endure more than a couple of fashion seasons before being retired.
If we can start to put a system in place that will do all of that… then we might get somewhere, until we do though, Made By are certainly the best example going. One to watch.