With the effects of climate change being more apparent nowadays, more people are becoming aware of the need to save the environment (though, arguably, not enough are concerned enough). It is no longer just environment activists who are demanding accountability from major fashion brands but also mass consumers. However, a lot of people seem to think that sustainable fashion meaning only being environment-friendly. Sustainability in fashion is fundamentally about making the entire process of producing clothes ethically—that means environmentally, socially, and economically ethical choices.
When considering sustainable fashion brands, check these aspects on top of their environmental policies:
Be it sweatshops or dangerous work situations or unlivable wages or child labor—these are some of the long-standing issues in the fashion industry. Some of the biggest fashion brands have been accused of inhumane treatment of their workers at some point in history.
It is quite easy to forget that the issue of human rights is tightly knitted in the fashion industry. Consumers easily forget about the process when presented with a sparkly dress. But consumers need to do better at making it difficult for companies to bury inhumane treatment of workers. Ask your favorite fashion brands directly about their labor policies and refuse to support those who give out vague generic answers.
Animal rights activists have been vocal about their demands from the fashion industry long before the sustainable fashion movement, yet it has not been given enough attention. What many seem to miss is the connection between animal rights and the environment. For example, leather, which is made by treating animal hide with chemicals. This process is not environmentally sustainable because it prevents the animal from decomposing easily. So, when disposed of, the leather may take longer to decompose, much like plastic.
Intellectual Property Rights
When people think of sustainable fashion’s meaning, they rarely think of intellectual property. However, although the intellectual property does not have a direct impact on the environment, it is integral to fashion sustainability. Social media is rife with complaints about fast fashion brands stealing independent artists’ designs. If you check, you will find that the plagiarism is blatant. It is just plain unethical—brands who engage in plagiarism are essentially using the labor and creation of a person without the owner’s permission. Indeed, it is another form of human rights violations.
At its core, sustainable fashion demands fashionable items that were well-thought-out—not just during the supply chain process and disposal or recycling, but also in its conception and design. After all, a brand that takes the time to create original designs is bound to think through its product’s life cycle. It is also likely that they will create timeless designs or pieces that you will not tire from wearing year after year.
It’s about time we change sustainable fashion meaning to include all aspects of life. Sustainable fashion is a multifaceted and complex movement—it aims not only to make the earth livable but also to make our society ethical. Better fashion choices are available at The Etho so you don’t have to sacrifice your style while making the world a better place.