What is Ethical Fashion?
The fashion industry is the 2nd most polluted industry. An average individual discards nearly 40-50 pounds of clothing each year! Ethical fashion is an open-ended term standing for the maximum output with minimum harmful human impact on the environment (under this falls various topics such as working conditions, exploitation, fair trade, etc.). This sustainable practice is that in contradictory of fast fashion.
The major goal of sustainable fashion is to work ethically and responsibly by pursuing growth and profits. Supporting recycling and upcycling majorly focuses on adding value and giving back to the society. Other practices involve increasing value on local production, prolonging life cycles of materials and apparels. Most of these revolve around the idea of thinking global, acting local.
History of ethical fashion.
During World war II- Rational policy was implemented to maximize utility and reduce wastage. Late 1980s and early 1990's, sustainability took a turn during industrial revolution when topics like child labor were being prevailed, labor rights being discussed and concern for the environment had risen. Sustainable fashion was introduced to general public by well-known companies like Esprit and Patagonia.
1992- These companies, gave birth to a new fashion movement with the launch of Esprit collection developed the head designer Lynda Goose. These low impact companies were hitting shelves. Moreover, Patagonia was committed towards recycling polyester. Together these 2 supported the cotton project.
2000- the term sustainable had grabbed the attention of 100s of brands making promises of an eco-friendlier production and ethical approach, and consumers pleading to a more thoughtful consumption.
2009- Livia Firth in collaboration with iconic fashion houses to create the GCC also known as the Green Carpet Challenge, included to bring ethical fashion into the golden Globes and other red carpet events.
2013- (April,24) the tragedy that revolutionized the fashion industry shaking its roots was the Rana Plaza tragedy. This tragedy was a result of the clothing companies neglecting the fact that the building was unfit for production, risking the lives of their workers. The manufacturer's died non-stop. This recklessness resulted in death and injuries of over 1200 workers, when the building collapsed.
2014- millions of people came together to spread awareness about the cost of fast fashion with the first ever fast fashion revolution day 24th April which went viral with the tagline "who made your clothes?" marking the one year anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy.
Fashion brands that follow slow fashion:-
This brand states that for every shoe that is purchased a pair is donated.
Toms initially started off with just shoes implementing “one for one” model primarily through partnerships with humanitarian organizations like Partner in health, IMA, World health. Proving to improve life, TOMS expanded with their recent concept with each new eyewear line that provides sight to one person for every pair of frames purchased, either through medical treatment, prescription glasses, or sight-saving surgery.
Moreover Toms successfully engaged colleagues by Toms campus club that engages students into knowing more and expanding their values on conscious consumerism, conducting events like one day without shoes shoe painting parties and other campaigns for like-minded students to be.
More than 1 million pairs of shoes have been distributed across 23 countries coma including Argentina, Ethiopia, Haiti, and United States. By this, we see the enthusiasm Toms as a brand has for giving back to the society. With the assistance of reputed groups, Toms has become a part of comprehensive development programs, targeting healthcare and education.
She started off with a simplistic idea of gaining back the comfort from her childhood clothes and her parents. All of it revolving around building a sustainable lifestyle. Focusing on longevity rather than trendy.
What is slow fashion?
In recent years, the fashion industry has a 180 degree change! Fashion became more than just a hustle between consumerism and minting money. Its focus shifted from just production to a more sustainable approach of making clothes. Powered by its gross truth about its implications on the planet, number of brands rejected the concept of fast fashion replacing it with a more sustainable way coined slow fashion. Evidently the era of slow fashion has arrived.
Slow fashion consists of handmade clothing made profoundly by local artists. These are then given global exposure and they practice fair trade due to being produced locally, ditching the modern technology. Most of its produce are organic and eco-friendly, recycled or upcycled.
Slow fashion also revolves around three agendas: planet, people, profit. Starting off with the consideration of the planet, creating the least possible carbon footprint, it also stands for conserving peoples right making sure workers get fair and hygienic working space. Moreover, consumers gain full transparency from the producers. Lastly, in the making process, the producer’s goal is always to achieve maximum profit, without which survival would be questioned. In conclusion, slow fashion is the eye opener as this is the second most polluted industry and high time manufacturer brands and consumers collectively act upon it.
Where did it all begin?
Slow fashion is an awareness of the gross malpractices of the fashion industry. It said to be termed by Kate Fisher in 2007, in an article called the Ecologist comparing ethical fashion to slow food movement that links pleasure and food with responsibility and awareness.
Slow food movements advocated on certain principles and they also apply to the fashion industry, that they are good quality of the produce and that their production does not harm the environment.
Things that fall under slow fashion could be buying vintage clothes, redesigning the old clothes, shopping from local small markets, etc. Moreover, buying clothes that will last longer. Slow fashion can be counted as the revolt to fast fashion brands and producers who just chaise profits.
- (Shrutika Sanghvi)