Socially Conscious Apparel; what’s in a name.
The authoritative Wikipedia defines Social Consciousness as “consciousness shared within a society. It can also be defined as social awareness; to be aware of the problems that different societies and communities face on a day-to-day basis; to be conscious of the difficulties and hardships of society“.
Through the years it would appear that by and large there have been two types of brands; for-profit and not-for-profit. You were either a greedy, blood-sucking capitalist or a Birkenstock wearing, child-sponsoring philanthropist. However, over the years though there has been a drastic shift in our culture where brands have been motivated-no, forced into being a blend of the two. I say “forced” because where it used to be the forward-thinking thing to do, companies recognize you’ll quickly grow irrelevant if you shun the concept of giving back. This is in no way a bad thing. Essentially, consumers are holding brands accountable and saying “we’ll give you our money, but we expect you to be a part of this community you so freely benefit from”.
Operating a brand built on the concept of inseparably blending for-profit and non-profit concepts, I am sensitive to the challenges this endeavor presents. While “community donations” can be just another line-item for major corporations or even long-established businesses, brands like Faith & Fortune are faced with the dilemma of nurturing a sensitive bottom-line while passionately pursuing opportunities to prove an ethos (ours at heart being “look good, do good”). How does this play out in the scales of investment? Where do consumers expect, or more importantly, want their hard earned dollars to go? Is it towards building the business that one day will be this powerful influence? Or does the influence need to be fully pursued from the get-go regardless of “needs”?
Wikipedia also states that “Consciousness brings moral implications. Often, people with an awakened consciousness become socially active“.
So the question becomes, what to you defines true socially conscious activity? How does that show itself?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.