Ethical fashion may appear to be a popular trend that has emerged within the fashion industry but let me just say that ethical is NOT the new black. Ethics, by definition, refers to something that is “morally right” or “morally acceptable”, so in turn, ethical fashion protocols should be standard global practices. With that said, there several ethical fashion movements gaining momentum that you should know about as they will have a positive impact on your closet and our world.
Pineapple leaves, plastic water bottles, and Kombucha…yes, Kombucha, are being used to create unconventional textiles in the fashion industry. Dr. Carmen Hijosa of Ananas Anam, created Piñatex, which is being used as an alternative to leather. This saves our animals, reduces our carbon footprint, and utilizes materials that would have essentially been thrown away.
Vegan handbag and accessory company, Matt and Nat, utilizes recycled water bottles to create the lining of their products. They have recently introduced recycled tires into their collections.
Fashion Designer, Suzanne Lee, created a system designed to turn Kombucha into material that can be used for fabric. By blending tea, sugar, and a few microbes this is proving to be a resourceful method that can even be achieved by DIY enthusiast at home.
Learn more about Kombucha material here.
Slow fashion is about focusing on quality and longevity of the fashion cycle from design to production and distribution. Reformation, Oak73, and Alternative Apparel are just a few companies that are supporting slow fashion in efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. Slow Fashion’s evil twin, Fast Fashion, is directly responsible for unfair wages and treatment of factory and farm workers that can earn approximately $5 a day or less for intense and detailed labor. Fast fashion is literally killing our environment through air pollution, water pollution, and we are rapidly going through our natural resources. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, we throw out approximately 11 million tons of textiles that end up in overflowing landfills. Keep in mind that not all donated clothes stay in thrift stores. Many donated clothes end up in landfills overseas and it can take decades for certain fabrics to decompose, if at all.
Learn more about these awesome brands below!
3-Eco-Friendly Dye Methods
The use of harsh chemicals to dye textiles have contributed to approximately 20% of global industrial water pollution. Alternative technologies have emerged offering substitute methods such as waterless techniques, fabric printing machines, and even fruit and vegetable dying which I find to be fascinating since that is, after all, the original textile dyeing technique used by our ancestors.
Fair pay, treatment, and working conditions to produce a product to sell…sounds pretty basic but there are a surprising amount of companies and manufacturers that do not fall into the Fair Trade category and it’s an absolute disgrace. The Rana Plaza collapse in 2013 elevated the global conversation sparking much-needed change but we can do better by simply supporting certified Fair Trade organizations. Fair Trade is about respecting people and our planet.
Learn more about Fair Trade USA here.
Who made your clothes? Do you know? Fashion transparency refers to the knowledge that companies have and what they are willing to share with the general public such as their manufacturing practices, and treatment of the artisans that are actually producing the merchandise. Fashion Revolution has been very instrumental in building social awareness with their, “Who Made My Clothes” campaign, prompting consumers to confront their favorite brands with this question and demanding answers.
Learn more about the Fashion Revolution here.
The fashion industry is evolving and we all need to be a part of that evolution. I’m sure none of us want our shirts and dresses to come from an overworked and underpaid artisan. There is no excuse to warrant the pollution of our rivers and oceans so we can have another pair of skinny jeans. Our time here on this planet is short and precious. Let’s not ruin the environment for future generations as there really is no excuse to not be ethical with our fashion selections.