There are probably lists full of lists going through your mind when you're deciding for something--let's say this case on buying tees. They have to be comfortable, fit well, and be on-budget. However, have you ever considered being ethical or sustainable as a deciding factor? Did you know that the fashion industry is considered as one of the "dirtiest" industries next to oil?
If not, then let this article be your guide to understanding what ethical fashion is, so you would be able to make informed decisions that could help create a big impact on saving the world.
First, let's find out what ethical fashion is.
What is Ethical Fashion?
Ethical fashion is not a kind of fad that comes and goes like popped-collars and bell bottom jeans. Ethical fashion is a state of being that permeates every aspect of fashion--from the materials being used to how clothes are going to be disposed.
It describes ethical fashion design, production, retail, and purchasing. It covers a range of issues such as good working conditions of labourers, zero-exploitation of people and environment, fair trade, sustainable production, and animal welfare.
As much as companies are a big part of ethical fashion, the consumers, us, play a major role in doing ethical fashion when we shop for clothes.
So the next logical question is: how can I know if I'm shopping ethically?
How to shop responsibly?
No, this isn't the Confessions of a Shopaholic.
Shopping ethically, responsibly, or ethical consumerism refers to the practice of purchasing fair trade, organic, cruelty-free, sustainably produced and environmentally-friendly goods.
Choosing fair trade, organic and cruelty-free consumer goods is known as positive buying, and is arguably the most important form of ethical shopping because it directly supports socially minded and progressive companies. It also spurs companies to re-evaluate their practices in order to address the needs of a more ethical market.
You can start by checking what the fabrics used to make a piece of clothing. The textiles used by sustainable clothing brands should be renewable or recyclable materials like linen, silk or hemp. Organic cotton is also acceptable, as long as it is a biodegradable variety.
Natural fabrics like cotton and bamboo have a lower environmental impact than their synthetic counterparts, making them preferable to materials like polyester or spandex.
Where sustainable fabrics are not suitable for the entire garment, try a composite approach. This involves blending natural and synthetic fabrics such as cotton and polyester, which has been shown to create a long-lasting product with less environmental impact than a wholly synthetic garment.
An easy way to make sure you're shopping ethically is to find certificates of accreditation from groups/associations/bodies that regulate ethical fashion.
For example, Stedman Collection AU is compliant with the requirements of OEKO-TEX Standard 100 via Stedman GmbH. Furthermore, we trade in accordance with the prescriptions of the amfori Business Social Compliance Initiative based in the EU.
Now you know what ethical fashion is and how to shop ethically for your clothes. We hope that the next time you reach for a t-shirt from the rack or online, you'll add ethical and sustainable to the many deciding factors you're considering before you buy.