Take a deep look in your wardrobe and think, how long has a piece of cloth travelled? Whose hands fabricated it? How many lives did it affect? And, does your wardrobe bode well with your ethics?
The significance of ethical fashion
Fast fashion sacrifices longevity in exchange for low prices and more purchases from the customers. Whereas, ethical fashion emphasizes long-lasting fabric, good clothing quality, and timeless pieces instead of filling the market with weekly collections.
The problem with fast fashion is, the cheap pieces of clothing are produced at a considerable cost to the environment and through the exploitation of poor labourers.
Let’s see how you can navigate both fashion and ethics. These are the 5 ways you can tell if your clothing is ethical.
1. Ethical fashion is slow fashion
Fast fashion is the term that means inexpensive clothing, produced by mass retailers to keep up with the latest trends, intended to last for a short time.
It impacts the production cycle, design, sourcing, production processes. It further impacts everyone and everything from the environment to the workers and the consumers who purchase it.
Whereas, slow fashion is inspired by the Slow food movement which revolutionized the outlook on fashion. Instead of surrounding the customers with time-bound throwaway stuff, slow fashion emphasizes celebrating with what lasts long and suits you well.
2. Fast fashion contributes to the exploitation of human rights
Perhaps because the per-product cost is less, the manufacturers care even less. Due to their relentless pursuit for low-prices-than-ever, fast fashion is culpable of affecting millions of lives.
This was highlighted by the catastrophic Dhaka fire On April 24, 2013, in which thousands of garment workers died and many severely injured. It made fashion consumers over the world cautious of who makes their clothes and in what conditions?
The Netflix documentary ‘The True Cost’ shed a light on how fast fashion is depleting the fundamental resources and leveraging slave labour.
Fast fashion produces more at the cost of the inhumane price point of slave and child labour. The pure remedy ethical fashion offers is methods of production in eco-friendly and cruelty-free alternatives while taking care of employees well beings.
3. Fast fashion is destroying the environment.
Fast fashion has turned us into consumption monsters. With trending low-cost garments the industry is destroying our planet, and the fast-fashion industry is to blame. From excessive water consumption, extreme water pollution, the harmful usage of chemicals, to soil degradation and greenhouse gas emissions, the fashion industry is poisoning the planet.
However, there are solutions to mitigate the challenges, with sustainable fashion. Sustainable clothing companies use renewable energy to produce goods, utilise eco-friendly fabrics, practise fair labour, pay fair wages, and much more while adding ethical appeal to your wardrobe.
4. Fast fashion apparels cannot be recycled
Thanks to the rapidly churning world of fast fashion, it has become a disposable industry. As the majority of apparels are made of synthetic fibres, like plastic, take years or never completely biodegrade. Clothing made of synthetics like polyester or lycra, when left in a landfill, emits methane, a toxic greenhouse gas, which takes at least 30-40 years to biodegrade. Cotton clothes woven with synthetics aren’t biodegradable.
On the other hand, sustainable fashion is a fashion system aiming towards environmental integrity and social justice. It is clothing that does not harm the environment and is made out of pure green materials.
5. Does your favourite brand support ethical clothing?
Where does your brand stand on the sustainable report?
Here’s how you can know.
- Seek out their ethical labels.
- Check out their Impact report.
- Email or question them about their wages policy, worker’s health standards, and working conditions.
The more transparent they are, the more likely they are to produce clothing ethically.
Sustainable fashion has its roots intertwined with greater ecological integrity and social justice. This movement has a clear possibility to act differently, pursuing profit and growth while also creating new value and deeper wealth for society and therefore for the global economy. With this agenda, we can perpetuate environmental, social, and ethical improvements.
Make Sure You Look Good While Doing Good.