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A Guide to Ethical Fashion and Why You Should be Part of It

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For most of us, shopping for clothes is a normal process, and we do not take the time to find out the nitty-gritty details about the clothes we purchase. Fashion houses are always competing on the latest fashion trends. And the best part is that most of these trendy clothes are affordable. It is now possible to look good without breaking the bank.

However, do you know what goes on behind the scenes in the fashion industry? Have you ever heard of sustainable fashion or Eco fashion? All these terms refer to ethical fashion; a term that is yet to be embraced by many “fashionistas”, but it is gradually gaining popularity. Most people think that ethical fashion is expensive. It’s not. In this article, I will explain this concept.

What is Ethical fashion?

Ethical fashion is more of a movement that aims to stop the production of high street items on a low-cost budget. In simple terms, ethical fashion is a call to all fashion designers to be ethical. It addresses all aspects of the fashion industry including fashion design, manufacturing, and retail and purchasing.

ethical fashion industry image

What do I mean?

Ethical fashion guarantees that in the next century, our environment will not be highly polluted by decomposing fashion waste products. Additionally, the designers will not continue cutting trees, killing animals, and other similar degrading social activities in an effort to find raw materials to sustain their industry. By embracing sustainable fashion, we embrace positive social responsibility and preserve our environment.

Why is Ethical Fashion Important?

As I mentioned above, for the trendy clothes to be affordable for many people, several sacrifices have to be made. Some of these sacrifices are detrimental to other human beings, animals, and the environment itself. Ethical fashion sheds light on the bad practices that take place behind the scenes that you and I, as consumers, are not aware of when buying the finished product. The critical areas that ethical fashion scrutinizes include:

  1. The working conditions of the laborers’

In over-populated countries like China, labor is widely available and cheap. Research shows that the laborers are exploited by working overtime, skipping meals, while being paid peanuts. Similarly, there are also cases of child labor and the worst part is the congested and unhygienic working environments with an aim to cut down on production costs. Ethical fashion fights against these poor working conditions.

  1. Chemicals used in the textile industries

Polyester is a product of petroleum, and it is one of the most used fabrics. Its production requires a lot of crude oil, and in the process, harmful emissions are released into the atmosphere, which causes respiratory diseases. Eco fashion aims to protect our environment.

  1. Animal rights

Cruelty-free fashion image

Animal cruelty continues to be a controversial topic in the fashion industry. Many people are quick to argue that we cannot be comfortable eating meat yet we are uncomfortable wearing fur or leather from the same animals. However, the bone of contention is the intentional killing of these animals for the sake of their skin other than for food purposes. Either way, we can let our furry friends live in peace if we chose to embrace ethical fashion.

  1. Environmental degrading

There is a lot of competition among the numerous fashion houses. All of them want to outdo each other. Consequently, they keep coming up with new fashion trends that are affordable, and they aim to sell many pieces so they can continue being relevant. However, the problem comes in the manufacturing bit. Cotton is one of the most used fabric, and some of the pesticides and insecticides used in the cotton plantations are harmful to the environment. When we, as consumers, damp the torn and worn out garments, these pesticides find their way back into rivers and soil. As a result, we contribute to degrading our environment.

  1. Sustainable production

Fashion trends keep changing every single day. This is not a bad thing. However, the rapid change of the fashion trends is what fuels the bad practices addressed by ethical fashion. Renowned companies like H&M have embraced eco-fashion, and they are now using eco-friendly materials and sustainable manufacturing practices.

Why should you practice Ethical Fashion?

The most important reason why you and I need to be part of the ethical fashion movement is to put to an end the bad practices that are never talked about by fashion designers. We need to be assertive and take time to scrutinize every detail of the clothes we are buying. It is the high time we put an end to the animal cruelty, exploitation of labor in the developing countries, and the damage to our environment.

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There are two ways you can know whether a particular clothing line is ethical;

  1. Manufacturers always list the materials used. The list builds confidence in the consumers, and you will be able to know what the clothes are made of before purchasing them.
  2. Go through the company website. A fashion line that is serious about ethical fashion will always state this fact to the public. If the designer does not mention anything, send them an email and ask them.

We should wholeheartedly welcome any movement that seeks to protect our environment and buying eco-friendly clothes is only the beginning. There are numerous ways we can protect our environment and put an end to its degradation.

Are there affordable Vegan brands that promote ethical fashion?

Yes, many fashion lines have embraced sustainable fashion or Eco-fashion. Some of them include:

  • PACT Apparel
  • Krochet Kids Intl
  • Ararose
  • SmartGlamour
  • Threads for Thought
  • Cossac
  • Swap
  • Friday’s project
  • thredUP
  • Jan n June

You can also use the Good on You App. The App will help you find ethical clothing lines that match your taste. In addition, it has tons of information on different ethical brands in the market. The App makes it easy for you to find out which of these stores have discounts.

Good on You App Image

In addition to the clothing lines, some cosmetic companies have also embraced the manufacturing of products without harming animals. The cruelty-free brands safeguard animal rights, and they are against the testing of cosmetics on animals. Therefore, you can have eco-friendly clothes and cosmetics too. How cool is that!

In conclusion

Ethical fashion has gone a long way in creating awareness in the fashion industry. It is refreshing to find more eco-friendly products slowly filling up our shelves, and there is absolutely no reason to continue damaging the environment. There are even coral safe sunscreens to ensure that we don’t damage our marine environment.

Ethical Fashion also encourages slow fashion which aims to curb the massive production of high fashion items on a low-cost budget. Slow fashion emphasizes the need to buy vintage clothes instead of dashing for the latest trendy designs, making your clothes or accessories at home, and repairing or redesigning old clothes. This factor will help to break the never-ending production cycle.

Beauty

Cruelty-Free Brands Information That May Change Your Perspective

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Picture this: someone chopped off your favorite cat’s ears just to have them stitched onto their purse or coat. That may sound obscene. But that’s precisely what you are doing each time you wear fur coats, leather handbags, and shoes, and basically, any product that is either made from animal products (like leather and wool) or has animal products finishes (like fur and horns).

People have always argued that it’s okay to eat animal products and to use their body parts to adorn humanity. But I firmly stand against this. The same way you can’t stand your cat’s ears being chopped off is the same way I can’t stand everyday torturing, killing, and slaughtering of animals all in the name of science experiments, food, and value addition. And I am certain that I’m not alone. What happened to Empathy?

And on that note, science experiments on animals also need to stop sooner or later. Testing cosmetics, cleaning products, personal-care products, and some fruit juices on animals is not fair. The only way to make these companies stop experimenting with animals is by boycotting their products. Because every time you buy and use a product tested on animals, you give that manufacturer more income and reasons to continue experimenting. But if we all shop consciously and boycott products without PETA’s bunny or CCIC’s Leaping Bunny logo for the sake of our animals, they will have no one to sell to unless they change.

How Do They Test Products on Animals?

You might not have an idea of how they test products on animals so let me explain it to you briefly. It is more brutal than you see in the media. The poor animals are confined in cages, pricked to draw blood samples, shaved to expose their skin for tests, and much more. When these companies produce a new product, say a face cream, for example, they apply a certain amount in the animal’s eyes, or on a portion of its shaved skin, and observe the reactions without giving the animal pain relief or an antidote.

In severe cases, these animals go blind. And when this happens, the manufacturer discontinues the product or they improve it. Alternatively, in mild eye irritation, the manufacturer gives a stern warning on the dangers of exposing that product to your eyes. Sadly, more than 115 million animals are caged in laboratories to be used for product testing worldwide.

rabbit image

Non-vegans argue that it’s better for an animal to go blind or have a severe skin rash instead of the human consumers. But in my opinion, technology in this day and age is super advanced. They can test the effects of any product on a hypothetically created eye and skin.

The companies that don’t test on animals, by the way, have some of the best products on the market. I haven’t heard consumers complain of allergic reactions to any cruelty-free brands of cosmetics. Most of the negative reports come from non-vegan brands so spare me that lecture. And for your information, the law hasn’t mandated companies to test products on animals. It is a choice they make. And in some countries within Europe, Cosmetics testing using animals has been banned since 2013.

Cruelty-Free Brands

Moving on, in the spirit of embracing animal rights, let’s discuss the top cruelty-free brands on the market for animal lovers and like-minded shoppers. And, with 1,700 companies producing cruelty-free products, you have plenty of options to spritz, swipe, and lather, without worrying about our dear furry friends. So now you have no reason to hang on to your favorite brand if they haven’t pledged to be cruelty-free.

And by cruelty-free brands, I mean products manufactured using methods which do not in any way whatsoever involve brutality to animals. This includes physically slaughtering the animals and testing products on them.

Cruelty-Free Cosmetic Brands

cruelty-free cosmetic brands image

Do you love shopping at Sephora? The following brands retail at Sephora, and they are cruelty-free.

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare – This brand deals with rejuvenating your skin and everyday improvement formulas such as anti-aging lotions, facelift serum, anti-collagen creams, and eye gels.

REN Clean Skincare – Ren have majored their products to skin cleansing and toning. Their cleansers work with any skin type because they are organic and of course vegan.

Amika – Founded in 2007 and based in Brooklyn, Amika specializes in hair products such as shampoos, vegan hair foods, hair sprays, and brushes.

Tarte – In addition to everyday make up items such as lipsticks and eye-shadows, Tarte also deals with skin cleansers, toners, and correction products like their famous Maracuja Oil.

Too Faced Cosmetics – These deal with all categories of makeup; foundation, bronzer, setting powder, mascara, lipstick, lip gloss, primers, eye-shadows, and other makeup products along this line.

Peta has also created a list of cruelty-free brands. Take a look at the list here.

cruelty-free cosmetic brands list image

The above list has cosmetic manufacturers for all your skin and hair needs. However, the products are endless. Be sure to check out more cruelty-free brands in their store.

Cruelty-Free Fashion Brands

Similar to cosmetics, fashion designers are also quickly embracing the vegan lifestyle.

SUSI Studio – Based in California LA, Susi studio is famous for up-cycled footwear. They make lovely shoes and sandals from vegan materials such as rubber.

Della – An apparel manufacturer whose factory is based in Ghana, Della makes 100% cruelty-free outfit and retails them in Los Angeles.

Vaute – Are famous for cruelty-free sweaters, coats, and gowns.

Doshi – Based in southern California, Doshi deals with school style bags, wallets, backpacks, handbags, belts, and anything along this line. This year they are launching their line of vegan shoes.

Cruelty free fashion brands image

An Alternative Approach

Are you familiar with DIY? I didn’t discover DIY by chance; for me, it was more of a way to save a few bucks. However, looking back I can say that it is the best decision I ever made. I make my soap, lotion, shampoos, and several other toiletries as well as jewelry and handbags. I don’t expect you to do all this for a start. But some DIYs are a perfect solution to our vegan lifestyle.

Soap making processes are easy to follow, and the ingredients are locally available. I make mine using freshly squeezed oils from plants in my garden. My all-time favorite is the aloe and lemongrass exfoliating beauty soap. The only ingredients you need are the essential oils, water, and lye (a metal hydroxide that you can purchase online, but I make mine from leaching ashes left in the fireplace after burning hardwood overnight.) As you get better at the skill, you can custom make your own version of these products!

In Conclusion

With all the information I’ve shared above, you have no reason to continue using animal products. Embrace cruelty-free brands and be the change you want to see. And together, we’ll make this world a better place for both humans and animals to live in.

 

 

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