Ethical Fashion: Clothes for People Who Give a Sh*t
In 2020, the age of unethical consumption, there’s finally a way to dress totally sustainably whilst still looking stunning.
2020 has been the host of a plethora of social and environmental world issues, which have ultimately caused society to grind to a halt and reflect on the reality of its actions. Its becoming painfully apparent that the reality of living in a modern, Capitalist society with all the perks makes it almost impossible to live entirely sustainably.
But hold the waterworks; its not over yet. Here are a few simple and brilliant ways you can change your fashion habits from being part of the problem, to part of the attractive new solution. Dressing sustainably no longer means donning a burlap sack 7 days a week: on the contrary, its actually stylish!
Avoid Fast Fashion
As the second biggest pollutant in the world, the fashion industry would appear to have a lot to answer for when it comes to the future of our planet. One of the main reasons for this is the rapid growth in fast fashion in recent years. The requirement of fashion brands to release new clothes every season, or even every month, due to the demand of consumerism has caused massive amounts of damage to the industry and the environment. Fast fashion operates at an extremely low price range, as a result of the often unethical, unsustainable means through which it produces garments.
The first tip for avoiding unethical consumption is to do your research, and avoid fast fashion, which does include most high-street stores. The temptation to shop cheap and fast may be great, but I can assure you, the thrilling new eco-friendly, totally ethical brands I’ve complied for you are far more tempting. Not only are they environmentally friendly, but they’re more voguish than any high-street store could ever dream to compete with.
Go Carbon Neutral
According to statistics from 2019, 10% of annual global carbon emissions are generated by the fashion industry. If we continue to allow fast fashion to produce clothes at the rate and in the way that it does today, by 2030, fashion’s greenhouse gas emissions will be up by more than 50%. Its become everyone’s responsibility to shop for clothes in a way that prevents this from happening.
Luckily, many fashion brands are now trying to reduce – or completely eradicate – their carbon footprint, in an attempt to combat the impact of fast fashion. Two of these carbon-neutral brands are Ararose [below right] and The Sisterhood [below left]. Ararose’s mission, outlined on their website, is to “help plant 10,000 trees” with every purchase. Their capsule wardrobe is both chic and environmentally friendly, making it all the more attractive. The Sisterhood similarly donates a portion of their profits to projects in global sustainability every month.
Ask for Recyclable Packaging
Its hard to imagine that the part of your clothing you discard immediately after unwrapping it is actually one of the biggest issues in unethical consumption when it comes to fashion. How ridiculous is it when you order, say, a pair of earrings, and it arrives in two plastic bags, choked in bubble-wrap, and then all packed into another larger plastic bag with the brand’s logo slapped on the side?
Recently, eco-friendly brands have been offering, or better yet enforcing, plastic-free packaging in order to reduce the waste they put back out into the world. Well-known and popular online brand, ASOS has recently begun addressing this issue of waste as a part of their “corporate responsibility” to the environment. As a result of their collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur New Plastic’s Economy, they’ve pledged to eliminate unnecessary unrecyclable packaging by 2025, and will be trialling reusable mailing bags in 2020.
Not only is waste generated from the shipping of products, but an even greater amount of waste comes from making them in the first place. Producing a single pair of jeans requires around 10,000 liters of water according the United Nations, which launched a campaign in 2019 urging people to “commit to zero-waste fashion”. Another form of waste is in the discarding of left-over fabric that designs don’t use.
House of Sunny, a brand popular among celebrities and influencers for its unique style and eco-friendly mission, promotes that their jeans are washed with e-flow technology, a technique which greatly reduces the amount of water wasted in production. They also use repeat prints on clothing like shirts, which reduces the amount of fabric wasted.
Perhaps one of the most devastating evils perpetrated by the fashion industry is its abuse of garment workers in third-world countries. People hired by even the most reputable brands are often massively under-paid, over-worked, and forced to operate dangerous machinery in inhumane working conditions. Its no wonder why many so many brands are becoming vocal about their outrage and opposition to this, refusing to use abuse or forms of legal slavery to create their clothing.
SZ Blockprints [below right] is one of the newer brands which stands against the harmful treatment of garment workers. By donating a sum of their profits to the SZ Foundation – a charity which helps organizations in Jaipur, where their products are made, to support and empower local women – they give back to the community that their clothes are made in. Lucy & Yak [below left] is another example of a brand which gives back, as they not only offer 100% recycled packaging and stylish clothing featured on a diverse group of models, but they also pay their garment workers 4-times the minimum wage.