In the past, “fashion” and “sustainable” were two words you wouldn’t think to put together. Today, they have come to mean a better way of producing clothes, which benefit both people and the planet while also ensuring that ethical standards are met. The people and brands involved in the sustainable fashion movement can be divided into three main categories, all of which are looking to achieve one thing: a more environment-friendly and ethical way to look good.
Eco-friendly and ethical clothing brands
These are brands that make sure they are respectful not only of the environment, but also of the people involved in the production of the clothes. Working conditions and fair trade are taken into consideration to make sure they prevent the employment of child workers and exploited adults. Animal welfare is also important to ethical clothing brands as many animals are intensely farmed for fur and leather. Prominent brands mindful of the environment include U.S. brand Peggy Sue, whose collections include intricate designs sourced from raw fibers coming from North American farms. They also use organically grown cotton and wool. Thought Clothing is also a brand that has developed long-lasting relationships with their factories and suppliers because of their high regard for fair wages and working conditions.
Initiatives moving for a more accountable fashion industry
New Internationalist has a feature on three of the fastest growing initiatives that are advocating the fashion industry to take accountability in producing clothes. It includes On Our Radar, which consists of journalists, digital storytellers, and dedicated development workers using the information to spread awareness against irresponsible clothes production. Raising awareness is by far one of the most effective ways to communicate the importance of the mindful creation of garments. Some fashion labels aren’t even aware of where their clothes are being produced. A story that appeared on The Guardian details how over one thousand garment workers in the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh died when the complex collapsed. Many brands weren’t even aware that their articles of clothing were being manufactured there, demonstrating the huge disconnect between sales and production. Effective dissemination of awareness is key to prevent these accidents from happening again.
Organizations teaching consumers about sustainable fashion
While there are movements to educate brands and producers, there are organizations trying to educate the consumers, too. If you’re ever curious about why animal advocates throw paint at fur-wearing models, you can get vital pieces of information and insights about it from movies, documentaries, and online videos such as The True Cost. This Andrew Morgan documentary highlights the social and environmental impacts of patronizing an irresponsible fashion industry. Fashion Revolution also breaks it down for you, from their provocative social media campaigns to published in-depth studies.
Waste is also a huge problem that Trusted Clothes has covered, with too many customers not recycling their clothes. Thankfully some charitable organizations are combatting this. In the UK, Save the Children started their fun and quirky campaign Christmas Jumper Day that not only encourages consumers to give kids around the world a better future, but also to give old clothes, particularly jumpers a second chance. The campaign raises awareness on love, reuse, and sharing second hand clothes regardless if they’ve gone out of fashion. As a result, it has become a worldwide awareness campaign about the consequences of each and everyone’s choices.
Shopping apps and services are also hopping on the sustainable fashion bandwagon by creating applications that let you see whether or not you’re buying from brands that share the same values as you. Good on You, Done Good, and Wearwell are only a few examples. Meanwhile, online boutiques like Accompany and Fashionkind sell you clothes and pieces of jewelry sourced from eco-friendly materials and produced from humane factories. No matter where you purchase it from, as long as you’re actively choosing sustainability, you’re doing the environment a huge favor.