It doesn’t take a lot of money to buy a piece of clothing these days. Furthermore, even if you want to buy branded clothes, you do not have to belong to a “higher class.” Instead, clothes are available to everyone, and you can find many items sold at budget-friendly prices.
That is the so-called concept of fast fashion, which is a term the industry uses to describe designs that are quickly delivered from fashion events to the stores. You might say there is nothing wrong with this because it makes trendy clothes available to everyone, but you are only partially right.
The process of manufacturing a clothing piece might be inexpensive, but it comes with many health and environmental risks involved. That is why we are investigating the issue of environmental justice in this article, and we are especially focusing on securing this justice to the fashion workers around the world.
What Is Environmental Justice?
The Environmental Protection Agency of the United States defines environmental justice as equal treatment and involvement of everyone in developing, implementing, and applying policies, regulations, and laws that have anything to do with the environment.
They indicate that environmental justice has two objectives:
- Ensuring everyone equal protection from any health or environmental danger
- Securing that everyone has the same access to the process of deciding to live, work, and learn in a healthy environment.
If we have the above in mind, how can we provide environmental justice to global fashion workers? Let’s take a look at three ways how that can be made possible.
1.Improve the Working Conditions Around the World
The statistics indicate that low and middle-income countries produce about 90% of the global clothing. More than 40 million people are employed in the field of garment assembly and are earning their livelihood in poor working conditions.
These working conditions are often caused by the fact that low-income countries do not have adequate organizational management, political infrastructure, and even resources to create an adequate environment for their employees.
As a result, the workers often spend most of their day in areas that have poor ventilation but are filled with synthetic air particles and cotton dust, which can be respiratory hazards. Additionally, many employees perform the same repetitive assignments for hours, which can affect their musculoskeletal health. Apart from health issues, inadequate working conditions also cause an increased number of injuries in the workplace.
Fortunately, many manufacturers try to be responsible in this area, which is why they decide to acquire a “green” certificate from an independent authority. The National Council of Textiles Organization and the Fair Trade America are among the organizations that have tools that can be used to evaluate and help to set up production standards.
Whether you are looking for bodybuilding apparel or another type of clothing, you should always aim for high-quality products. Brands that have a long tradition and are dedicated to quality will ensure that the entire production process is flawless just like the final result.
2. Minimize Textile Waste as Much as Possible
Have you ever heard the sad story of old clothes? Here is how it goes – when you have an unwanted item, you naturally try to get rid of it. However, some reports show that only a small portion of clothing donated to charities ends up sold or used again.
Synthetic fibers can take centuries to biodegrade, and the story is not much better with natural fibers. First of all, the workers will use chemical baths, bleaching, dying, and other unnatural processes during the production of clothing. It is how toxins can end up in both air and water, which can negatively affect both the fashion worker and the overall global environmental situation.
Some clothing brands, such as H&M, are offering discounts to those that bring used clothes to their stores. While that has some effect, the problem is that there is not adequate demand for secondhand clothing due to the low quality of produced items. That is why we should all join together to reduce textile waste.
If you want to minimize textile waste, the best thing to do is to purchase clothes of superb quality. The next time you choose black-corsets, go for a provider that utilizes materials of great quality and durability. Make sure to choose an item that you love, and you will purchase a piece that you can wear for years.
3. Consumers Can Reshape the Fashion Industry
Here is an interesting idea – what if the consumers would make an effort and only buy their clothes from brands and manufacturers that care about their workers and the environment, but also the customers? For example, look for beautiful girls party dresses online, and discover beautiful designs that can be delivered quickly, which is an excellent indicator of the company’s dedication to what they do.
They say that knowledge is power, but the search for knowledge starts with curiosity. Many brands won’t visibly reveal who made your clothes on the label, but they will gladly tell you all the details if you ask. If you find that a company isn’t willing to cooperate, perhaps you should consider finding an alternative. After all, is it really necessary to buy that piece of clothing or you can find a similar one from another brand?
Fashion companies and brands, as well as the authorities and other relevant stakeholders that participate in creating the laws, are the ones that can secure environmental justice to global fashion workers. However, we cannot neglect the role of the consumers. They are the ones that need to demonstrate responsibility and be smart when it comes to choosing their clothes, which is how they can help to minimize textile waste.
The scientists should continue their research on examining different health and environmental hazards of fast fashion during the entire supply chain. It may be another way to support the creating of improved public health regulations and policies that may lead to ethical consumption and sustainable production.
About the Author
Jessica Smith has been writing articles for e-business and e-lance sites for more than 4 years. Her educational background is Masters in English and journalism which gives her a broad platform to write on a variety of topics with ease and efficiency. She is an independent writer especially enjoys writing on fashion and lifestyle.