What is ethical fashion? Why is it becoming more important? What is it in response to? These are all important questions for us to think about in our disposable, fast moving society. I have only recently become fascinated by this topic and am just starting my journey into ethical fashion by doing some research. I think it is becoming a more important topic today because of the way we live and the consequences of our fast fashion society.
Let’s start with the last question – what is ethical fashion responding to? It’s responding to social and environmental issues arising from the fashion industry. The plight of sweatshop workers has become prominent as it is more widely reported. The state of these factories and the people working in them is so poor. It is a horrible reflection on society that we have historically endorsed these practices. Although now as the issue has gained more traction and people have become aware of it, fashion companies are starting to change their ways…at least some of them.
Ethical fashion is also responding to the environmental consequences of the fashion industry including pollution and waste. Huge amounts of pollution are created by manufacturing clothes. Also landfills are filling so fast with enormous amounts of tossed out clothes. We live in a disposable society, and we are finally seeing the consequences. What fashion trend is in this year, won’t be the next, and people are buying into these trends only to wear their clothes for a season and then disposing of them. There is much to be said about classic fashion and buying what suits you, not what the trends are.
So just what is ethical fashion? Well I think it is multifaceted. On one hand ethical fashion is about supporting good manufacturing processes in terms of paying proper wages and having good working conditions. On another hand it is about reducing waste in the manufacturing process. And yet on another hand it is about sourcing sustainable materials to make clothes with. There are so many elements to ethical fashion that it is very hard to define and it is even harder to find companies that seem to meet all these challenges.
To me, ethical fashion is a combination of investing in good quality clothes that will last a very long time hence reducing my waste, supporting companies with good working and wage conditions and if possible, supporting companies that are recycling or sourcing sustainable materials, or reducing their waste in their manufacturing process.
So with all these issues around ethical fashion, where do we find brands and companies that meet at least one of these challenges? In Australia, I think the first place to start is ethicalclothingaustralia.org.au. This is an accreditation company focusing on holding companies accountable throughout the entire process from manufacture to sale. It mainly focuses on fair wage and working conditions. For people in Europe, a great source I have found is a YouTuber called My Green Closet who really got me into this whole area of ethical fashion and has great videos on the issue as well as brand recommendations. In addition, I will be writing a post soon about 10 Australian ethical fashion brands I want to try, so be sure to subscribe if you don’t want to miss out on that.
What are your thoughts on ethical fashion? Let me know in the comments below and also if you have any ethical fashion brand recommendations.
Thanks so much for reading, Christina xo