Interview: Jonathan Mitchell | Brothers We Stand
Brothers We Stand was set up with the aim of making it easier for men to find well-designed clothes by brands who are revolutionising the fashion industry, incorporating ethics and sustainability at their core. We spoke to founder Jonathan Mitchell about how he got started and what consumers can do to shift the dial in the fashion industry.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What got you into thinking about ethical clothing?
I studied International Development at University which has been a great background for exploring the ethics of the fashion industry. The Indian economist and philosopher Amartya Sen proposes that the aim of development should be to “increase peoples opportunities to do the things they value”. This approach has been a useful lense through which to examine the ethics of the fashion industry.
What inspired you to start Brothers We Stand?
The name Brothers We Stand represents the idea that the men and women who make our clothes are our brothers and sisters in humanity. I set up Brothers We Stand to make it easier for people to find clothes made by people who have been respected.
Why should men buy from you?
Men should buy from us if they want to find stylish clothes that have been made ethically. Every item on Brothers We Stand has a footprint tab, explaining who made it and detailing information about the item’s social and environmental impact. Your choice to buy through Brothers We Stand helps create new norms in the fashion industry, prioritising ethical and sustainable production. We have lots of sisters who like buying from us to. Either for themselves or others.
How do you choose the clothes you sell?
I carry out careful research into every item sold on Brothers We Stand. You can read a summary of my supply chain research on our ‘product footprint’ tabs. In addition to “Ethical Production” there are two other key criteria that all products sold on Brothers We Stand should meet. The first is “Designed to Please” - products should look good and perform the jobs they were created to do. The second is “Created to last” - Clothes should be made to be enjoyed for many years.
What's the future for Brothers We Stand?
I would like Brothers We Stand to continue be a useful platform that supports people to buy ethically made clothes and receive transparent information about where these clothes are made. I’m looking forward to continuing to take this vision forward and making ethical clothing more accessible. We’ve recently opened a Brothers We Stand shop in Bristol and it will be interesting to explore physical retail alongside our website.
What advice would you give to someone who is trying to be more 'ethical' when it comes to their wardrobe?
Vivienne Westwoods “Buy less, buy better” adage is a good place to start. Look out for items you will cherish that have been made by people who have been treated fairly and in a way that minimizes harm to the environment.
Last but not least...Can consumers make a difference in the fashion industry?
Yes. Brands are highly-tuned money making machines that will produce what we as consumers will pay for. If we choose to buy only clothes that are fairly made and produced in a way that minimises harm to the environment, change will happen. The growing movement for a more ethical fashion industry is being led by consumers who collectively hold real power.
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