Today’s consumers have become all so familiar with words such as ‘sustainability’ and ‘eco-friendly.’ They are constantly trying to reduce their carbon footprint, but simply recycling their household goods at the end of the week isn’t enough anymore. Consumers go out of their way to protect their environment by eating local foods that are sustainably farmed, buying organic cleaning products, supporting ethical fashion brands and more. As the trend grows, more and more brands are hopping on the bandwagon to cater for their conscious consumers and so should you.
Why you should care about Ethical Fashion
Second to oil, the fashion industry is the most polluting industry in the world, generating approximately 1.5 trillion Euros each year. Global garment production is reaching its physical limit as it is set to increase by 63% by 2030. According to Greenpeace International, in 2015 nearly 80 billion cubic meters of fresh water was consumed while over a million tons of carbon dioxide was emitted by the fashion industry. In addition to this, the fashion industry was responsible for the production of 92 million tons of waste.
Moreover, the textile industry is responsible for generating plenty of chemicals, mainly as a result of growing raw materials, particularly cotton. Chemicals from fertilizers and pesticides used during conventional cotton production runoff into waterways, polluting the water and harming the environment and communities. Dyeing of fabric also causes water pollution as the chemicals are released into the water, causing the same effect. These statistics are shocking, and if more brands don’t realize that it’s their responsibility to try and halt the destructive impact the textile industry has already had on the environment, it will be too late.
To read more about Fairtrade Cotton, the latest Eco-friendly trend, click here.
The benefits of Ethical Fashion
Heavyweight brands such as H&M, Patagonia, and New Balance as well as smaller brands are more frequently releasing clothing lines that are produced sustainably. For example, H&M’s Conscious Exclusive collection was released earlier this year where every piece is made from sustainable materials such as recycled plastics from shoreline waste. They aim to source 100% of their cotton sustainably by 2020. Let's take a closer look at some of the benefits of sustainably manufactured clothes:
1. It’s better for the environment
Even though this one may seem like a no-brainer, it’s worth mentioning because it’s one of the major benefits of sustainable fashion. Choosing materials that have been organically and sustainably produced decreases some of the devastating effects the textile industry has on the environment that we discussed above. In addition to this, it lowers the number of chemicals consumers bring into their lives that may harm their skin as well as pollute the water when washing their clothes.
2. Fair Trade Act benefits
The Fair Trade Act supports sustainable fashion in many ways, particularly for those working in the manufacturing plants. It ensures that all clothes are manufactured under safe working conditions that are sweatshop free and ensures that the workers earn fair wages. In an industry full of harsh labor practices, these benefits are very much needed.
3. It’s animal cruelty-free
Unfortunately, many animals have to suffer significantly and lose their lives in the name of fashion. Silk, cashmere, leather, fur, wool, and shearling are examples of materials where animals have to pay the price for fashion. Ethical fashion prevents this problem.
4. It lasts longer
Sustainable clothing is made to last longer as it is made from organic, renewable fabrics that are made to be more durable, timeless and not as toxic as conventional materials. Longer lasting clothes contribute to reduced consumerism and waste reduction which positively affects the environment.
The fashion industry is extremely lucrative and destructive, and brands should be held accountable for leading by example. Popular brands and brands that are new to the scene should work together to be pave the way for sustainable fashion, making it more mainstream. If more brands don’t start making necessary changes in their apparel supply chain, we will be left with irreversible damage done to our planet.
What are your thoughts on ethical fashion? Does your brand practice sustainable apparel production? If you have any questions, don’t be shy to leave a comment below. We’d happily assist!