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A Conscious Choice

Jan/06/2024 / by team-seema

The ethical marketplace making a global difference

Maisa Mumtaz-Cassidy always loved fashion from a young age, but after working for a few years in the industry, she quickly learned about the unseen costs of fast fashion—and set herself on a mission to change it. 

“Western brands come into countries like Bangladesh to take advantage of cheap labor,” Maisa explains in a podcast with “It was my experience in that industry in manufacturing that really gave me a clear understanding of just how little the lives of garment workers are valued.” Maisa describes witnessing the indifference of fast fashion buyers towards contributing to fair worker wages. She believes everyone in the supply chain bears responsibility for paying textile workers a thriving wage.

After an “existential crisis” over her role in an exploitative system, Maisa pivoted to sustainable fashion. She was struck by the contrast between ethical brands uplifting workers and communities, and fast fashion’s detached focus on profit at all costs. Maisa also noticed consumers’ rising appetite for ethical fashion, but often stymied by confusion navigating the crowded, complex space.

In 2020, Maisa launched Consciously as a curated e-commerce site to spotlight vetted sustainable brands, and simplify ethical shopping. The platform features Consciously’s sustainability criteria covering values like fair trade, small batches, transparency, female founders, and eco-friendly materials.

Maisa is guided by a vision to shift fashion’s status quo. “My belief is that it’s everyone’s responsibility” to ensure garment workers not only survive, but thrive. Consciously moves the needle towards a more ethical fashion paradigm—but also empowers consumers to participate through their purchases.

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box:The average monthly salary for a worker in a textile factory in Bangladesh is 8,300 taka, about $75 in U.S. dollars. The country’s trade unions are currently asking for an increase to at least $207 per month.


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