By now you may be familiar with the terms ethical fashion and sustainable fashion. They are an alternative to fast fashion which is having a devastating effect on both the environment and the people involved in making our clothes. Fast fashion is garments produced in high volumes, at low cost (underpaid garment workers) and of low quality, in response to the latest trends. With most of this clothing being produced in the developing world, it often results in human rights violations and toxic production processes.
The problems with fast fashion were brought to the attention of the world with the Rana Plaza Collapse. On the 24th April 2013 the Rana Plaza building, located in Bangladesh, collapsed killing 1,134 people and injuring over 2,000 others. The 8-storey building housed 5 garment factories that manufactured clothes for popular global fast fashion brands. It is one of the worst industrial accidents to date. After this tragedy, the global demand for ethical and sustainable fashion grew and people started to question where their clothes came from.
But the question is – can fashion be ethical AND sustainable? To answer this, let’s begin by defining what each of these terms mean:
A focus on the social impacts of the fashion industry, ensuring garment workers are paid a living wage and have safe working conditions, it also includes a focus on animal welfare.
Clothes that are produced with a focus on reducing the impact on the environment and the people involved in making them, across all stages of the supply chain.
In simple terms, ethical fashion is concerned with social issues and sustainable fashion, with environmental issues. So, the answer is – absolutely! fashion be both ethical and sustainable. Check out the below resources to learn more about each!
- GOOD ON YOU
This is a free app you can download on your phone and it rates over 2,000 fashion brands on a scale of 1 to 5, in terms of how sustainable and ethical their business practices are. It also provides a summary of the key criteria used to generate the rating. Visit the Good on You website here.
- FASHION REVOLUTION
A not-for-profit global movement that raises awareness of the current state of the fashion industry to help create one that values people and the planet over profit. Check out their website here and find out more about the incredible work they are doing to bring about change within the fashion industry.
- CONSCIOUS CHATTER
A podcast that provides valuable information about the garment industry and how each of us can make a positive change towards a more ethical and sustainable future. Visit their website here to find out more about their latest episodes.
- SLAVE TO FASHION
This book is written by Safia Minney, the founder of ethical fashion label People Tree. It includes a range of interviews of all the men, women and children who are caught in slavery within the fashion industry in the developing world and the actions needed to eradicate modern slavery.
We hope you find these ethical and sustainable fashion resources as useful as we did since we started KEEPER Denim! If you are just starting on this journey, it is important to remember that you don’t need to be perfect. It is about making small changes, because if we all did our part and made small changes in our everyday lifestyles, we could make a big positive impact!