By Fanfare Label
Now more than ever there is an even bigger focus on shopping sustainably & ethically. Partly due to our wider access of knowledge and resources available at our fingertips but also partly due to our human nature in wanting to be more socially conscious consumers.
However some people may still question what exactly is 'ethical fashion' and why should they care about it? In the last decade or so, fast fashion has taken over the industry and left carnage in its path. Large brands have been notorious for underpaying and overworking their employees in factory settings. This has resulted in most people’s interpretation of “ethical fashion” as one in direct response to that.
The term ‘ethical’ used in fashion is open to interpretation and can be highly personal to each individual. The specific issues we talk about when we use the phrase ‘ethical fashion’ are : access to a good living wage, human rights, working conditions, ethical production methods & less over consumption.
Ethical Fashion is an umbrella term [used] to describe ethical fashion design, production, retail, and purchasing. It covers a range of issues such as working conditions, exploitation, fair trade, sustainable production, the environment, and animal welfare.
Ethical & sustainable fashion has evolved to focus on the ecological impact of the fashion industry as a whole; promoting the reuse of materials, creating timeless designs over on-trend items, reducing chemical waste and promoting the wellbeing of employees at all stages of production. This is not about niche marketing around someone’s pet concern. It’s about a new generation of products rewriting the rules of quality for a new generation of consumers.
As the Ethical Fashion movement educates consumers, people become more aware of the dangers of industrial chemicals in their clothing, of environmental damages from some mainstream industrial practices, and of the unsafe working conditions and inferior quality.
One of the biggest culprits in the fashion industry is “fast fashion,” or clothes made cheaply to meet demands for the latest trends and styles we "must have". However, fast fashion is putting our future planet at risk. Thanks to mass production, we can afford to simply discard products we no longer want, and replace them instantly with minimal impact on our wallets. As a result, products are designed with a shorter life expectancy and are poorer quality. The fashion industry is one of the worst of its kind, with mass production occurring on a scale that is no longer sustainable.
6 REASONS YOU SHOULD
SHOP ETHICALLY :
1. Fair on people + The Environment : When you shop ethically, you are contributing to a better life for those making your clothes. It ensures fair and equal pay, from farm to shop floor. By choosing to shop ethically you are choosing to improve sustainable development and a higher quality of life for all people. Cutting out unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. Never unnecessarily destroying or discarding but mindfully redesigns and recuperates in a circular way. Ethical fashion repaires, reuses, recycles and upcycles.
2. Supporting small businesses makes a difference : Aswell as creating unique designs & a having a fresh approach to style, supporting local companies means you’ll get locally hand-crafted goods. Choosing these products you’re helping reduce emissions created by shipping between manufacturers, while supporting local British craftmanship. Embracing clarity and transparency Anyone, anywhere can find out how, where, by whom and under what conditions their clothing is made.
3. Fuels positive change : Ethical products are handmade in a safe environment where artisans and employees can learn and grow. These encouraging and empowering environments are often times a safe haven for the artisans in their communities. They create a safe space for not only professional growth, but also personal development. Ethical fashion gives people a voice, making it possible to speak up without fear, join together in unity without repression and negotiate for better conditions at work and across communities.
4. Seasonless : Shopping ethical means you will be purchasing unique, well-designed, small-batch products versus mass produced goods. These pieces you can re-work and re-style all year round compared to fast fashion throw away products which you may only wear once and get bored. These collections help reduce waste & over consumption.
5. Quality : Fair trade and ethically made products are much higher quality compared to fast fashion pieces. Ethically made products are often made of strong, organic, durable materials, and often by hand, making them hold up longer against the test of time. This also means people tend to take more care of these pieces, if they know they were hand crafted one-of-kind with love and fair treatment.
6. Reduces waste : It’s time to recognise the impact of our buying decisions. quote Anne Lappe “Every time you spend money you cast a vote for the kind of world you want”. Choosing ethically produced goods will make you buy less, choose well & make it last. Ethically produced clothes last season after season, reducing the amount of waste going into our landfills which can take over 200 years to decompose. Recycled clothing takes products that would have been discarded as wastage and repairs, re-purposes and re-designs them into new pieces. Giving clothes and materials a second chance.
“What so many of us forget or perhaps don’t realise is that sustainability is not just about using ethically sourced fibers and slapping the term 'sustainable' on the hang tag. True sustainability comes when the entire supply chain of that product is sustainable."
Every day we are surrounded by sustainability claims and greenwashed messaging, so it's vital that we educate ourselves in order to separate fact from fiction. We need to explore the industry, realise what we care about and then take steps to change it. We are creating this habit of consuming more. Buying it, wearing it for a short time and then discarding it. The value of fashion is decreasing and we're not accounting for the nature and human cost of the garments we are wearing.
Fashion should be about celebrating who you are – it can be a force for good. Instead, we have lost the value in products and companies, and the industry has created a race to produce the cheapest product whatever the consequence. Around the world, children are working instead of going to school. People have been put at risk due to poor working conditions and a disregard for human life. The Rana Plaza collapse and the suicide of 300,000 Indian cotton farmers are only a few examples in the long list of tragedies that testify the damaging impacts of the current industry.
From a fashion brands point of view we believe that systemic and structural change, the global fashion industry can lift millions of people out of poverty and provide them with decent and dignified livelihoods. It can conserve and restore our living planet. It can bring people together and be a great source of joy, creativity and expression for individuals and communities. So it is really important to consider where the clothing you are buying is made. Many brands do not have traceability of their supply chains and we shouldn’t be supporting these activities so please protest with your wallets and #WearYourValues.