Ethically-made...so what?! What does it mean? Well, if you paid $5 for that t-shirt, you’ve got to wonder how the person who made that shirt could possibly be well-paid. There is simply no way. A big part of ethical fashion has to be fair and living wages for workers. And have you ever thought about the working conditions? We’ll never forget the Rana Plaza garment factor tragedy, where well more than 1,000 people (mostly women) lost their lives due to gross negligence on the part of the factory owners, despite well-known structural issues. The brands involved? Benetton, Gucci, Prada, Walmart, Joe Fresh, among many others. It should have been the kind of cautionary tale that caused consumers to think twice and ask lots of questions every time they buy something. But then, the latest blight on the fashion industry was a breaking story of brands including Burberry, H&M, Nike destroying merchandise to ensure scarcity and exclusivity. It's the height of greed and capitalism, sadly. The undercurrent here is transparency. If the brands you support can’t answer some simple questions about who made your clothes and shoes, the conditions under which they were made, and what they're doing with remaining merchandise, then there’s a problem. Sustainable brands proudly talk about who makes their products, where they’re made, and what they’re made of, and I can tell you with certainty that they don't burn surplus products. You might think that it's a lot of work to figure out whether those sweet kicks, smart shirt, or cool dress were ethically-made. But it's not that hard. Here are a few tips to help. 1. Shop at SOULiers Studio. We work with brands that are committed to offering fair and living wages to workers under good working conditions. Most of the shoes we offer are well-crafted in Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Brazil. 2. Check the brand's website for information about their manufacturing practices - ask them about their policy on fair wages and standards on working conditions. 3. Check to see if they have any third-party certification validating their ethical practices. Look for third-party certifications like:- FLOCERT who is an independent certifier for fair trade standards. On the most basic level, Fairtrade ensures that small-scale farmers and workers in developing countries around the world have the opportunity to earn a sustainable living. An alternative to conventional trade, Fairtrade guarantees that producers receive a minimum price for their Fairtrade products and a premium payment, which they commit to investing into their businesses and communities.- B-Corp Certification is the only certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance. The B Impact Assessment evaluates how your company’s operations and business model impact your workers, community, environment, and customers. From your supply chain and input materials to your charitable giving and employee benefits, B Corp Certification proves your business is meeting the highest standards of verified performance.