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Knowing which clothing brands do their best to take care of the world we are living in is important in 2018 with trends coming and going in a matter of months and people changing to them as fast as they can.
Ethical fashion talks about ways these same brands can make clothes that don’t harm the environment as much as they would if they kept on doing everything as they are right now. With organic textiles becoming popular, it’s becoming easier for fashion brands to change their materials towards something more ecological and with a potential to bring new consumers that otherwise wouldn’t use said clothes simply because they were harming the planet.
Ethical fashion looks to reduce pollution as much as possible while maintaining the same growth fashion has had over the past decade.
The problem is that fashion (fast fashion to be more specific) is ranked as the third most pollutant industry in the world by having people throw away their clothes in order to get a new one and having brands use a high amount of chemicals on said clothing in order to make them appealing to the consumer.
If you take into consideration the amount of water that is needed to make a pair of blue jeans (1800 gallons give or take) you would understand why fast fashion isn’t the best idea if we want to have a sustainable material for years to come.
The goal with ethical fashion or sometimes called sustainable fashion is to reduce the number of materials used in clothing creation and use a better process when creating them.
85% of the water that is being used when dying fabrics has to be thrown away which tends to pollute more water in the process.
By using vegetable dyes rather than artificial dyes, most of the water could be used again for other clothes to come and could reduce the amount of water being used and the pollution itself by a large margin.
Another problem fashion is facing for years now is paying employees.
Most brands prefer to pay a little as possible to their workers in order to get bigger profits from their products. People in Vietnam, Bangladesh, and other 3rd world countries have to live with less than minimum wage while working on places that aren’t safe.
Happy workers and good paying jobs are ethical policies when it comes to fashion and tends to give customers a good reason to pay an extra fee in order to get the garment.
People are starting to open their eyes and shift towards brands that want the best for the planet and for their workers even if they have to pay a premium in order to buy it, giving more room for brands to make their products eco-friendly without breaking the bank.
What ethical brands propose to do is change towards a slow fashion rather than live changing every few weeks into a new trend that isn’t bound to be a classic.
The principle is the same as with slow food if you think about it.
Good: high-quality materials and creation.
Clean: Production that doesn’t harm people or the environment and that can be sustainable in the long run.
Fair: Prices that are accessible (for the amount of work put into the garment) and fair pay for the people making it.
This was an idea created by Kate Fletcher when she published an article on The Ecologist, where she made a comparison between ethical fashion industry and the slow food movement.
The concept of slow fashion borrows heavily from the Slow Food Movement. Founded by Carlo Petrini in Italy in 1986, Slow Food links pleasure and food with awareness and responsibility. It defends biodiversity in our food supply by opposing the standardization of taste, defends the need for consumer information and protects cultural identities tied to food. It has spawned a wealth of other slow movements. Slow Cities, for example, design with slow values but within the context of a town or city and a commitment to improve its citizens’ quality of life.
Source: Fletcher, “Slow Fashion”, The Ecologist, 2007
Ethical fashion isn’t a trend that’s going any time soon (hopefully) and it looks to make an impact on fashion in the near future!