How ethical are those toe socks? Well, there's an app for that

  • Tech
  • August 24, 2016
  • Elly Strang
How ethical are those toe socks? Well, there's an app for that

The Good On You app rates fashion brands based in three categories: people (the impact of the supply chain on humans) the environment (materials, energy efficiency and packaging) and animals (use of fur, leather and angora).

Users can refine their clothing search on the app by their values, what style they're after or their ideal price range. 

Information to decide the ratings is gathered from third-party certifications like Fair Trade and the Global Organic Textile Standard and Baptist World Aid’s Beyond The Barcode survey.

The app was founded in Australia, but brought to New Zealand via a successful crowdfunding campaign earlier this year.  

Dunedin-based social enterprise Sustainable Projects is behind the launch of the app’s New Zealand version.

Lead catalyst Bec McMaster says the demand is very much there for an app of this kind within the New Zealand market.

“We're still getting feedback on social media to the effect of people have been waiting for something like this to come to New Zealand and they can't wait to use it,” Mcmaster says.

“So naturally we're very excited to be able to finally share the New Zealand customised app with Kiwis.”

A survey she conducted last year on ethical fashion found 66 percent of respondents felt shopping for ethical and sustainable products was very important to them.

It also found that shoppers’ main barriers to buying sustainable fashion were: It’s hard to identify what’s ethical, it’s hard to know which brands to trust and that the clothing may be more expensive.

When deciding what brands to include on the app, McMaster says they asked supporters what brands they wanted to see while also researching the most common brands found in New Zealand’s 50 largest malls.

There are now more than 1000 brands to peruse on Good On You, of which a third are readily available in New Zealand bricks-and-mortar stores.

This include brands right across the spectrum, McMaster says, not just the “super ethical” ones.

“This is part of the reason that makes the app so appealing to such a wide audience, as one - the users dictate the brands on the app, and two - you'll see the ‘good’ and the ‘could do better’ brands right beside each other - which gives consumers the power to make the choices that are right for them and their values.”

Some of the brands featured include Thunderpants, Silkbody, Kowtow, Stella McCartney, Cheap Monday, Cotton On, Jockey, Jets Swimwear, Country Road and Witchery.

Brands can track the traffic and sales that come from being listed on Good On You, while also enjoying a direct line of communication from consumers who use it.

If a brand has a “good” or “great” rating, it’s rewarded with the ability to run special deals within the app.

Silkbody director Emily Cooper says she decided to be a part of the app to help consumers form educated decisions about what they’re buying.

“Any tool that helps empower consumers to make informed choices about what they buy has got to be a good thing. Both retailers and consumers can be accountable for purchasing responsibly - this app encourages this,” Cooper says.

She says the app also helps put Silkbody clothing in front of consumers that share the same ethical values.

Thunderpants director Josie Bidwill says many consumers buy on price without considering what it means for the working conditions of employees or the impact on the planet.

“We do think about these things at Thunderpants and we wanted to help Good On You get their app up and running so that fellow New Zealanders have access to more information about the products available to them,” she says.

Good On You is available free for download on the Apple store and the Google Play store.

This story first appeared on our sister publication The Register.

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