Is Ethical Fashion The Future?
The fashion industry is coming under intense scrutiny in 2019. As the years go by, people become more and more aware of the unethical practices that they partake in. Due to these methods of production, clothes and textiles are the 2nd largest polluter, coming up short to oil.
The general public are becoming more aware of how big industries negatively impacts not only the natural environment but also the local communities involved in the production. This is why ethical fashion brands and shopping choices are becoming increasingly popular with the average consumer.
Fashion brands are aware of this too, with big labels like H&M getting in on the trends, but how genuine can H&M actually be? What is clear is that businesses are going to have to adapt to this growing demand and expectation if they are going to survive long term.
What is Ethical Fashion?
We have recently spoken on Fferal about sustainable fashion and why it’s so important in 2019. These two practices are linked together closely. Sustainable fashion is a broader movement, which looks at everyone involved within the industry. Ethical fashion is more directly linked to consumers and their shopping choices.
Ethical fashion is brought about in response to customer demand. In short, it’s designing, sourcing and manufacturing clothes in a way that benefits people and communities while minimising the impact on the environment, to be precise.
Therefore, it focuses mostly on environmentally friendly production processes, using sustainable materials and being cruelty free - to both animals and the human workers. At its roots is very anti-high street fashion, but these chains are getting in on the act now too.
Why is it Becoming so Popular?
There is an undeniable surge in popularity for stores that practice ethical fashion. The number of zero-waste shops in Wales has increased, doubling from 5 to 13. Many of the new stores opened over the last year, according to Zerowastenear. So why is this?
It is mostly down to Millennials and Generation Z. These are the consumers who are looking to consume more ethically and consciously. This means that there is currently a perfect storm for these types of businesses to start.
This increase in local stores thriving off these ethics leads to the bigger fashion brands implementing it into their strategy. Luxury sustainable brands like Stella McCartney, Mara Hoffman and Eileen Fisher have been dominating the space.
What Makes it Ethical and Sustainable?
There are different ways to produce ethical fashion, and according to the Ethical Fashion Forum, they fall into three categories: social, environmental and commercial. They specifically tackle these issues:
- Countering cheap, fast fashion and damaging patterns of fashion consumption
- Defending fair wages, working conditions and workers’ rights, and supporting sustainable livelihoods
- Addressing toxic pesticide and chemical use, using and/or developing eco- friendly fabrics and components
- Minimising water use
- Recycling and addressing energy efficiency and waste
- Developing or promoting sustainability standards for fashion
- Providing resources, training and/or awareness raising initiatives
- Protecting animal welfare
Ethical Fashion and Materials
One of the goals of ethical fashion is to use less plastic waste and more sustainable materials. This encompasses both clothing and packaging processes. We have seen a massive movement against plastic recently in the food industry, with the slow elimination of plastic straws. Fashion is surely going to follow suit with this when it comes to their packaging. Consumers will vote with their wallet if they don’t.
Clothing material is obviously a massive factor. Organic cotton is the fabric we use here at Fferal as it’s high quality and organic. It’s a great material as it is a renewable natural resource, it biodegrades and is comfortable to wear. The problem with cotton and the textile industry isn’t the material itself but how it is used.
The growing demand has led to some disasters in drought-ridden countries. This can be combated with sustainable farming techniques. The farmers we use in India work closely together to grow cotton in a way that reduces the stress on the local environment and improves the livelihoods and welfare of their farming communities.
Ethical Fashion and Government Action
Currently, ethical fashion is just a choice. It isn’t supported by government legislation when it comes to overuse of plastic in the fashion industry. This will probably not be the case for much longer.
There is a precedent of the government stepping in to reduce plastic waste. Supermarkets and other stores were issued a plastic bag ‘tax’ to combat the excess waste. With the government supporting causes like this more and more, it won’t be long before the packaging of clothing is affected and even the production.
The cheap production of clothing is only possible in the first place through exploitation. Fashion is not only one of the biggest polluters in the world but also one of the biggest employers of modern day slavery. With this increased awareness being spread, governments will step in on this aspect of the industry as it is a clear violation of human rights. Expect a huge shakeup in the textile industry and a switch to more ethical and sustainable production methods.
Fair Workers Conditions
Having a close connection with the communities who help make these clothes possible is essential. This is why we commit to using cotton in our products. It is a crop that is grown world-wide and around 250 million people’s livelihoods are dependent on it in the production stages alone. Of these people, many are in the world’s poorest areas and growing cotton is a large part of their economy.
Not only do we need to monitor the production of materials but we also need to support those who make the clothes out of these materials. All our products are made ethically in Portugal. We ensure our products are made ethically by people who earn a proper living wage.
Support Ethical Fashion With Fferal
We pride ourselves on supporting the sustainable fashion movement. We want to combat fast fashion and give you the option to choose alternatives to unethical clothing. This is done by creating products on a slow fashion basis to help reduce the environmental impact of textile waste whilst creating high quality garments.
All our clothing is vegan-friendly and produced ethically, ensuring the workers receive a fair wage for the production of the clothing. Check out our range of sustainable clothing for adults and ethical clothing for children. We also allow your home to be sustainable too with ethical bedding. Support the sustainable fashion today!