Fashion and Beauty Ethics: Fair-Trade, Fair-mined, Cruelty Free

Photo: (Gap, Calvin Klein & Levi Pollute Mexian water sources)

In my posts, Ethics in Fashion: Labor and Environmental Concerns and Ethics in Beauty and Fashion, I discuss several concerns regarding the fashion and beauty industries including pollution, waste, and labor.  In terms of pollution, contaminating water sources, dumping, and the chemicals involved in manufacturing and dying fabrics and garments caused for birth defects and deformities, cancer…and this overlaps into the labor and human rights discussion as well as fair-trade.


Unfortunately, the responsibility falls largely on consumers to vote with their dollar and or voice their opinions, demanding responsible design and sustainability, and seeking cruelty-free beauty products.

Cruelty Free


The following applies to both the Fashion and Beauty industries:  Animal testing, the use of furs and skins- which include shearling (don’t make me repeat it, they’re skinned alive and left alive to slowly die), and even wool shearing cause harm and or death to animals in a cruel and torturous manner that is unnecessary: there’s no reason you can’t kill the animal and continue skinning it!

I was shocked to learn that Maybelline, under parent company L’Oréal, continues to test on animals, among the brands listed in the photo below! I will definitely not purchase anything from these brands anymore, and suggest you boycott them as well until they change their practices.

The false claim on Maybelline’s site states it doesn’t test on animals anywhere…except where required by law, and it is required in China, thus animal testing ensues.

L’Oréal no longer tests any of its products or any of its ingredients on animals, anywhere in the world nor does L’Oréal delegate this task to others. An exception could only be made if regulatory authorities demanded it for safety or regulatory purposes.

Brands that still test on animals:

  • Estee Lauder
  • Benefit
  • Lancome
  • Avon
  • Almay
  • MAC
  • Revlon
  • CoverGirl
  • Tresemmé
  • Victoria’s Secret
  • Clinique
  • Maybelline

Here’s a link to PETA’s post:

12 Beauty Brands That You Thought Were Cruelty-Free (but Aren’t)


Mining, similar to the textile industry, causes pollution

Creating jewelry with fair-trade and mercury-free gold sourced from Fairmined-certified mines avoids one of the key downsides of gold mining—mercury emissions. With gold mining the leading source of mercury pollution in the world, changing the manner in which it’s sourced could have a profound environment impact.

-Pamela Love, Vogue


Working conditions, pay… overlapping areas of labor and environmental concerns all relate to fair-trade practices.  Remember the recent tragedies in India, collapsing buildings, or stories of workers in other areas being locked inside burning buildings, unable to escape, or children and tweens working eighteen hour days to construct cheap clothing for fast-fashion brands.

Sustainable Fashion

You may hear the word sustainability a lot, and there’s a reason.  Also in my previous posts on ethics in fashion and beauty, I discuss the issue of waste, the sourcing of raw materials including  the resources that go into the growing of crops- water, land, etc.  With landfills piling up with clothing, and fast fashion continually churning out mass quantities of clothing each year, we have to be environmentally conscious of how we are sourcing materials and disposing of waste, and should make an effort to donate rather than throw out.

Stealing Designs


Claims of plagiarism have sprung up lately- from Kylie’s dripping lips and beauty looks and Gucci’s ad campaign, to Ivanka Trump’s clothing being relabeled and sold without her knowledge, there’s definitely shame and shade in the game of beauty and fashion.

G-III…owns the right to manufacture and distribute Ivanka Trump apparel through a license agreement — and also owns brands including DKNY outright — acknowledges that it sold the relabelled merchandise to Stein Mart without the knowledge of the Ivanka Trump brand (BOF/Sherman, 2017).

(Photo: BOF)

The design process extends way beyond design- trend forecasting, marketing and sales, production, raw materials sourcing, costing, the mass production…to have innumerable people’s time and hard work put into something only to have it stolen by the company to which you’ve licensed manufacturing and distribution!  This is an ethical issue- it’s dealing in stolen goods in my opinion, depending on the terms of the agreement.   If I license my artwork, and that artwork is printed on another brand’s merchandise, that’s taking it a step beyond copying, it’s stealing my intellectual property and signing your brand’s name on it. While the terms of the agreement are the critical point here, it’s still shady of G-III by any standard.


Educate yourself, buy wisely and consciously, and donate rather than dispose of clothing that is wearable.   Read my previous posts on ethics in fashion and beauty:

Ethics in Fashion: Labor and Environmental Concerns

Ethics in Beauty and Fashion,


Comment with your thoughts below.


One Comment Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s