It’s probably quite difficult to imagine what the chocolate and fashion industries could possibly have in common aside from both being loved by women everywhere, but they actually share something else; a growing commitment amongst their respective brands to ethical production. The chocolate industry is increasingly welcoming the Fairtrade scheme, ensuring that all growers, farmers, distributors, etc., are paid a fair price for their raw materials, meaning they can afford to live a better lifestyle than they had previously. The fashion industry, although more gradually, is becoming increasingly aware of its responsibilities towards the environment and towards the raw materials suppliers like cotton pickers, ensuring that more sustainable materials are used and that they are paying a fair price for them. More and more brands are also committing to ensuring that they are not directly or indirectly using slave labour like that in sweat shops anywhere during their supply chain.

The Fairtrade scheme is hardly new, but recently it has embarked on a programme of massive growth, infiltrating some of our most well known brands, such as Nestlé and Cadbury. Before now, Fairtrade chocolate was used mostly by smaller, more exclusive brands, but now the bigger brands have put their money behind the scheme and this means that the everyday consumer can be confident that they are supporting the ethical production of chocolate. Meanwhile, some of the most fabulous artisan chocolatiers, like those at Rococo Chocolate, who own their own fairtrade certified cocoa farm in Grenada, are able to continue to offer their exclusive, handmade and lovingly created products, whilst maintaining their commitment to ethical production. You could think of these artisan chocolatiers as the designers of the chocolate world, creating bespoke products and using the finest ingredients, so perhaps there are more similarities that we originally thought.

Much like the chocolate industry, in fashion it is not just the designer brands taking the ethical approach; some of the High Street brands are also starting to get involved. Vivienne Westwood is perhaps currently the most well known, or rather outspoken designer trying to reduce the impact on the planet of the fashion industry, most notably encouraging people to “buy less, choose carefully, make it last” and using her catwalk shows and public appearances to promote the Climate Revolution, raising awareness of environmental issues. High Street brands H&M and Primark are two of the big players with ethical production schemes, with H&M on the cusp of the launch of their ‘Exclusive Conscious’ collection (a couture offshoot of their sustainably sourced ‘Conscious Collection’) and Primark continuing to promise that they monitor all of their suppliers and manufacturers to ensure that working conditions and pay are good and fair. H&M’s Conscious Collection has graced some of the biggest red carpets, with Amanda Seyfried wearing a gorgeous electric blue shorts suit and Michelle Williams in a classic black and white strapless maxi gown.

You could say that it might be difficult to enjoy lots of chocolate and fashion at the same time (unless of course you’re lucky enough to be able to eat what you want!), but you can rest assured that if you do, you can feel confident that there are plenty of conscious choices available.

Louise Hayward

If you do want to experience both fashion and chocolate and are in London on Monday 25th March, do not miss our Semple Secret event with Chantal Coady Founder of Rococo Chocolates.  

visit our website for tickets and further details.

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