What is Ethical Fashion

Ethical fashion is designing, sourcing and manufacturing clothes in a way that benefits people and communities while minimizing the impact on the environment. Focusing on the wellbeing and welfare of human beings and animals, however, as the demand for fashion continues there have been many cases of unethical practise….

On 24 April 2013, an eight-store factory complex collapsed killing 1,134 factory workers. The Rana Plaza was one of many poorly built constructions created to produce fashion garments. At the time this caused uproar; families, communities, individuals around the world demanded answers. This pivotal, historic event became a symbol of global awareness of unethical practices.

The Rana Plaza may be one of the most devastating unethical fashion cases, however, there are more… In recent times, the billion-pound company Boohoo has been exposed for ‘modern slavery’ accusations suggesting that staff at one of its factories in Leicester were paid as little as £3.50 an hour, much less than the national average. And let’s not forget the welfare of animals too, although this is highlighted less often the welfare of animals is still important.

For example, the demand for fur is one of the few materials that gives poachers the opportunity to use unethical methods to kill animals. Other materials include elephant ivory, crocodile skin and leather.

Unfortunately, there are lots of untracked and unreported events taking place around the world all the time. Ethical fashion falls under the umbrella of Sustainable Fashion. To guarantee longevity within the fashion industry human beings must adhere to sustainable practices in three key areas: People, Planet and Profit also known as the Triple Bottom Line Theory founded by John Elkington in 1994. It’s evident that more than ever we need a balance of integrity and equality across the entire spectrum of fashion.

For instance;

Planet - we need to start using regenerative materials to reduce the risk of climate change,

People –to prioritize fair working conditions to prevent unlawful deaths and poverty,

Profit – we need to make an effort to give back to communities and the fashion industries to create sustainable innovation. All these factors contribute to longevity and sustainability in fashion. Although large corporations are at fault, we as consumers continue to purchase fast fashion knowing the challenges.

However, it’s never too late to come together to change the narrative and incorporate ways to support ethical fashion:


5 Simple Ways You Can Support Ethical Fashion

Do your research – Research is important, companies that support ethical fashion are transparent and will highlight their support on social media, websites and via branding. Purchase ethical brands – By purchasing ethical brands you are ensuring workers are paid the industry standard. Also, this supports workers who are working in clean, safe environments.

Avoid Greenwashing – In recent months many companies say they are ethical however it’s not true. Therefore, always remember to research.

Go on a Fast Fashion Detox – Fast fashion is the cause of unethical practices as companies try to keep up with demand. So, go on a detox, try to support ethical brands for a while.

Spread the word – Continue to talk about ethical fashion, share credible sources about unethical practices and highlight the importance of creating awareness to give other the opportunity to make a decision on purchasing clothes with all the available facts.

Hasan Seremet