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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
There are two ways you can know whether a particular clothing line is ethical;
- 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.
- 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
- Threads for Thought
- Friday’s project
- 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.
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!
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.