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Ethical Fashion In the Eyes of Bhoomki

Posted on May 20 2014

Have you ever wondered what Bhoomki means?

A good Hindi speaker might ask, don’t you mean "Bhoomi-ki” which literally means “Mother Earth’s", or what belongs to the planet and its people. Well Bhoomki-ki was a mouthful, so we dropped a syllable. Now we just have fun saying it: Bhoomki! 

Our tag line at Bhoomki is ethically fashioned. You can trace an ethos of environmental or social responsibility through every product we carry in our store. We love the term ethical fashion since it addresses the impact of fashion not only on the planet (like environmentally focused eco-fashion) but also on its people (fair trade fashion). 

The shift in usage of the term "ethical fashion" is a recent one, at least stateside. For years, we heard the most common of them: eco-fashion. Following these in no particular order: green fashion, fair trade fashion, sustainable fashion and so on. The term stems from the ethical fashion scene in London where the Ethical Fashion Forum, through it's founding, defined best practices for what it means to design and produce from the perspective of harmlessness. 

Indeed, the apparel industry is the second most harmful industry on the planet, destructive to both it's people and its natural resources. For instance: Erosion of soil due to cash crops like cotton, pollution of rivers from pesticide use in cotton fields and overflow of toxic dyes, worker abuse from low wage and dangerous factory conditions, child labor, high carbon footprints, landfills overflowing with disposable fashion, can I stop now?

When you visit Bhoomki, we have a veritable checklist (see hangtags) of different ways you can style it up ethically. Everything at Bhoomki falls under at least one of these categories : artisan/handmade, fair trade, made in NYC, made in USA, organic, repurposed and women-made. We also have a blank space for an excluded category we didn’t include, like gives back or zero-waste. You know what’s funny? Because our brands are so committed to making things right, they usually fall under more than one category.

At the end of the day, we embrace the intention by which a designer makes his or her line. Did she consider the people who cut and sewed her collection? Does she know if they were comfortable and were paid a living wage? Does his or her company want to make fashion that not only looks good, but feels karmically good to wear? Does the brand carry this ethic through all of its production processes? 

Several months ago, a large brand name’s saleswoman urged me to carry the line, asking me to consider buying the portion made in the USA. The pieces were no doubt beautiful, but the majority of the line was made from non-sustainable fabrics and produced offshore. We’ve seen retailers dip their toe into the ethical fashion pond without fully integrating and implementing transparent supply chains and low carbon footprints into all of their production decisions. H&M’s Conscious Collection is a case in point, as well as Anthropologie’s focus on global artisan goods. It’s important to us at Bhoomki that our brands share our philosophy at every step of the supply chain, and with great style.

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