What is an ethical fashion?
Good style does not only mean the package. It also means that you take responsibility for your choices, you are aware of their consequences and you respect the world around you with all living creatures. Luckily, today we do not have to compromise and we can both – look stylish – in high quality clothing and accessories.
Fashion can mean nothing but clothes, shoes and accessories. Although, at the same time it is something very variable, something that might show up as fast as it disappears, to make space for another trend. This scheme is a never ending story. That is how big companies are growing. Putting pressure on being fashionable, they keep products affordable for mass consumer by all means. Low prices mean slavery, low quality products and no respect for our Planet Earth and other beings.
Performing this way fashion industry devastates environment, sorely exploits millions of people and is a cause of extermination of even more animals. „Ethical fashion”, in this case, might sound a little bit like an oxymoron, but fashion here means nothing else but human basic need of being dressed. Its ethics though means minimizing its bad influence on Earth, through conscious choices of products, which were made with respect not only for human rights, but also for animals and the environment.
5 reasons for conscious shopping
1. Ethical shopping means respect for human work.
We feel grief and injustice when we hear about catastrophes in Global South countries, like the one that happened in Bangladesh in 2013. Due to the enormous negligence of Rana Plaza complex, the building has collapsed, killing more than a thousand employees and injuring much more. It is painful to think, that most of the kids instead of having a childhood and going to school have to go to work, because their parents earn so little, that are unable to provide family’s basic needs. On the other hand, we think that we have no influence on these Countries that are so far away. However, by choosing consciously we can actively change that situation. How? We can choose products that are made by people who work in safe conditions, with their right being respected and who get a fair salary for their work. Certificates like Fairtrade or Fair Wear Foundation guarantee that. We can also choose products made locally from fabrics from a well known source of origin.
2. Ethical shopping does not hurt animals.
Not only human’s suffering is injust and unnecessary. These days we don’t have to exploit animals to live comfortably. There are so many high quality alternatives for these animal originated components, like microfiber which looks and feels like leather and is even stronger, rubber, textiles, natural cork, rope, recycled PET bottles fabric or Piñatex – fabric made out of pineapple leaves fibers. To be sure that the production process caused no harm to animals, you should look for certificates like Peta Approved Vegan or Vegan Society and also choose brands whose policies include empathy and veganism.
3. Ethical shopping has an impact on the Environment
Thinking of leather as a side product of animal industry is not always true, especially if we talk about exotic animals – their fur or skin is probably the only product wanted by the fashion industry. Leather tanning requires a lot of harmful chemicals like chromium VI, which ends up in rivers and on the fields around. Adults (who very often are economical slaves), sometimes together with their kids working in leather factories have to deal with all these chemicals directly, which causes skin and respiratory diseases leading to early deaths. Economical slavery, children labor and hazardous working conditions exist not only in shoe industry. It is 21st century’s standard in whole fashion industry. By making conscious choices as consumers we can decrease our impact on the Environment. There is plenty to choose from. Try to find some natural materials like cork, organic cotton, natural rubber or Piñatex.
fot. Lu Guang/Greenpeace
4. Conscious shopping means choosing fabrics that are free from harmful substances
It is not only shoe industry where big amounts of harmful chemicals are being used. It is also common in cotton production process. Cotton, as a plant is very easy to be attacked by pests, that’s why very strong pesticides are being used to prevent it. When we talk about conscious choices in this area, it comes to choosing textiles that are environment friendly like organic cotton. While looking for it you might pay attention to certificates like Oeko Tex Standard 100 or GOTS.
5. Ethical shopping supports new technologies development
Caring about people, animals and environment forces creating alternatives for leather, that are very high quality, like microfiber or Piñatex, both having some great properties. What is more, Piñatex production not only develops existing industry but also creates new workplaces and gives extra money to the farmers – without devastating The Environment!