With a rapidly growing concern over the sustainability and ethics of fast-fashion, many consumers now turn to big-label brands to set the tone for the future of this mammoth industry. What is ethical fashion? And why is it crucial in the next 5-10 years? According to data, almost 50% of consumers across the world aged 18-24 supported sustainable fashion in 2018 – with this number set to increase steadily. So, here is why you should care:
SAVE THE ANIMALS
Our planet relies upon the existence of wildlife and plants to thrive. Therefore, when the lives of animals are at stake from our production of items that include fur, leather and wool – it’s time to take notice. Look out for ‘cruelty-free clothing’ and pay attention to brands that use human-made fibres and material alternatives such as bamboo.
A critical aspect of ethical fashion is ensuring that workers get paid fairly. Providing jobs for people in underdeveloped countries can be hugely beneficial to the local economy but only if the pay is fair. Brands like With Legacy are a shining example of steps we can take towards making fashion more ethical. They exclusively work with virtuous factories that pay above the minimum wage and ensure that all fabrics are sourced ethically from principled manufacturers.
The fashion industry has a huge impact on the planet. Landfill is the obvious consideration, but what about contaminants used in the production process being released into the ecosystem? Not to mention the gigantic power, water and other resource drain. A good quality garment that is produced to a higher standard and done so ethically will create less waste for our planet.
- The world’s population is consuming 400% more clothing than it was at the beginning of the millennium.
- Cotton production is responsible for 18% of the worlds pesticide use.
- 97% of fast-fashion clothing is produced overseas, primarily in third-world countries.
- 8.1% of the worlds greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to the fashion industry.
- 7,000 litres of water are used in the production of a pair of jeans.
- 77% of the top 71 clothing retailers in the UK believed there is a likelihood of modern slavery occurring at some stage in their supply chain.
If you need a more compelling reason to foray into the world of ethical fashion, consider the cost to you. That may sound surprising given the fact that most people believe ethically produced and sustainable clothing costs more but let me explain. Fast-fashion garments are not built to last and when you consider that the average American woman spends 8.5 years of their life shopping, it’s easy to see that fast-fashion costs you at least a lot of time.
Add to this the constant need to replace cheap and substandard garments due to rips, tears or other wear and it often works out cheaper to buy ‘slow fashion’ clothing over time. Slow fashion being production of clothing with an emphasis on quality and durability – many of these brands are also employing sustainable and ethical practices in their supply chain too.
The time to make a change is now, because the fashion industry is slowly but surely heading that way anyway. What’s the harm in making a positive impact a little sooner?
Thank you so much for reading! – xo N
This is a contributed post.