Ethical fashion is a movement and an approach to look at the fashion trends concentrating on the way it has reached you. It talks about the ecological factors and social mannerisms by which it has come to you. It also talks about inhuman workload and toxic textiles that harm the environment and people.
It is a new way of cool. It is the trend and it is called ethical fashion.. Another way of simplifying ethical clothing is ‘Slow fashion’. Fashion which is slow and not continuously changing, evolving or replicating. Opposite of this is “Unethical clothing” or “fast fashion” is a regressive process which is creating havoc in the environment with a surplus of trash and wastage in the landfills, the release of toxins and increase in global warming.
Fast fashion replicates the runaway fashion trends that is economically made and are intended to be worn for a very short time use. The big ‘fast fashion’ companies change the whole trend not for every season but for average 52 micro seasons a year which is approximately every week in a single year.
So, can you imagine the workload on the people who need to cater to the whole world every week from designing to sourcing to production? Definitely it is not less than madness and in any case, it should not be supported.
WHAT IS ETHICAL FASHION OR SUSTAINABLE CLOTHING
Ethical fashion or let’s just say eco-fashion or slow fashion is all the umbrella terms that define and include lots of aspects. It questions the complete process of designing, producing, sourcing and then consuming it. It questions the whole business model.
It covers the factors of exploitation of workers, overloading them with work, fair trade, use of unsustainable materials, sourcing the products from one small developing country to the whole wide world, the release of pollutants in the natural habitats, animal cruelty and issues of wastage in the landfill thereby actively supporting the alarming problem of climate change.
It’s a big subject that also points towards the consumers who must define themselves what they actually need and care towards its workability. Ethical fashion points towards brands as well who misguide the consumers with catchy taglines and attractive advertising and non-transparent marketing.
Ethical fashion covers all the pillars of concern in sustainability talking for economic reforms, social justice and environmental protection.
UN – ETHICAL FASHION FACTS
1. Each year, fast fashion industries emit 1.2 billion tons of CO2 in the atmosphere.
2. They are responsible for contaminating 20% of global water.
3. They used 80 billion cubic metres of freshwater in 2015.
4. Production of textiles uses 3500 different types of chemicals.
Read more : https://7billionfor7seas.com/fast-fashion-facts/
KEY ISSUES OF FAST FASHION OR UNETHICAL FASHION INDUSTRY
SMALL LIFE OF CLOTHES – The store launches new designs every week to bring the consumer in the rat race of following the trends which supports the shorter life span of cloth and eventually end up piling up and finally in the landfills.
CHEAP MATERIAL – since the fashion industries know that the trend is not going to last forever or it will not be on the shelves for a longer time in accordance to their business model, they tend to use cheap and non-eco-friendly materials which are cheap and quick to procure and quicker to discard.
CREATES LOTS OF TRASH – needless to say that once you are following the trend of fast fashion you will obviously consume more, buy more, waste more and discard more. Hence a lot of trash.
PRESSURE ON AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY – the pressure on agriculture fabric industry is huge for the continuous supply of raw materials and thereby increasing the use of pesticides and treatment on the natural fabric plants like cotton etc. harming the health of workers, farmers and even wildlife.
TOXIC CHEMICALS – The never stopping production of these products needs to pace up with the demand which encourages the use of dyes, chemicals and solution which is harming to the workers and hazardous to the user.
EXCESSIVE WATER CONTAMINATION – this in another key issue with the fast-fashion brand that due to excessive usage of chemicals and fabrication the outlets of the industries are contaminating the water bodies and getting into the living creatures making their survival a challenge. Also, the amount of water being used in this industry create a shortage for nearby local communities and form a deadlock in the locality.
OUTSOURCING THE MANUFACTURING – The location of these highly rich, top-rated fashion brands locate their manufacturing units in the outskirts of developing countries where they can fetch cheap labor, exploit them, keep them in improper working condition and then add up to lots of transportation to export the products.
INHUMAN WORK ENVIRONMENT AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION – you would be surprised to see how the work is carried out behind the curtains of these fast fashion brands. No working timings, inhuman treatment, tight work environment, unbeatable timelines and low wages are some of the highlights of these production units. I would recommend to you guys to see the movie “The true cost” if you haven’t already. If you have a heart to value sentiments it will give you a hard time to finish.
See the trailer here : https://youtu.be/NDx711ibD1M
FALSE BRANDING – the taglines like latest, trends, new in, limited editions and so on, are the branding criteria that they consider to falsely target the consumers. I would not say that they are forcing anyone to go for their branding but the whole point is, it is not in the right direction of ethics. Morally they should not promote this.
MAKE TAKE DISCARD WASTE – the overall model is a complete non-sustainable model which encourages you to just buy, discard, waste and repeat. An ideal model would be to make, use, reuse, recycle. – A circular economic model.
READ MORE ON : COMPLETE GUIDE ON SUSTAINABILITY
TREND REPLICATION – so basically the run for the runaway is the key concept for all these brands. The designs originate from the runaway designs. They replicate it, design it, manufacture it and here you go. People go crazy for the stuff that is not even original art. Just a sheer copy.
So to summarise it, the whole method of RAPID PRODUCTION, LOW QUALITY WITH EVEN LOWER COST AND NUMEROUS ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT is the foundation of these unethical fashion brand.
BENEFITS OF ETHICAL FASHION AND WHY YOU SHOULD BE SUPPORTING SUSTAINABILITY IN FASHION.
Needless to say, that if you just read the NEGATIVE impacts of un-ethical fashion above; your conscious would not allow you to opt for the following. There are so many benefits and positive of going with ethical fashion brands if adapted in a sustainable manner.
You waste less, you don’t put the burden on the landfills, you organize yourself better, save money, feel satisfied, save communities and above all do not violate any of the above-mentioned negatives like human rights violation and protecting the environment. You directly help to fight the safety of earth and its fellow creatures as soon as you do so.
WHAT IS THE MOST SUSTAINABLE FABRICS?
Organic Cotton, Linen, Denim, Silk, Wool, Cashmere, Recycled Nylon, Bamboo, Hemp, Soyabean fibre are considered most sustainable fashion fabrics but some VEGANS OUT HERE might take few out like wool and cashmere because of its animal origin but by the definition of it, they are the most sustainable.
Fabrics you should avoid buying is Acrylic, Nylon, Polyester, Sequins, Polyurethane, Polyamide etc. because of their fossil fuel oil origin. They are all plastic threaded so when they are thrown away, they take hundreds of years to break and then eventually breaking into small parts that enter our life cycle.
IS ETHICAL FASHION AFFORDABLE?
Other than being socially better, cruelty-free and planet friendly, sometimes ethical fashion is questioned for being a bit expensive. I shouldn’t be saying no to the fact that due to better quality of the materials, fair trading, apt wage payment to the workers and sustainable sourcing these factors might add to the little cost in compared to the quick and non-lasting fashion choices.
But if you re-evaluate it on a long run when you minimise your wants, last your clothes longer, its better quality sustains it and classical fashion keeps it updated, you don’t need to worry about the prices. It is way cheaper than buying 10 tee-shirts to last for 2 months than to buy 10 tee-shirts for a couple of years. All you need to follow a zero-waste lifestyle, minimalist approach and make repeating clothes COOL!
CONCLUSION ON ETHICAL FASHION CHOICES
Adapting certain things in once life or accepting what you think is right or wrong is completely one’s personal choice.
But if fashion that follows treating people with respect, dignity, ethics and fair wages.
If fashion that follows eco-friendly materials, sustainable procedures, fair trade and low impact development.
If fashion that follows good quality products which are made to last and worn forever, is YOUR kind of fashion then ETHICAL FASHION SHOULD BE YOUR CHOICE OF FASHION AND SLOW FASHION SHOULD BE the WAY OF YOUR STYLING.
So tell us, are you doing it the ethical way ?