It’s time to talk about some easy steps into ethical fashion consumption. Everyone can do it and have a new approach to fashion, more sustainable and ethical! In this post you can find what does ethical fashion mean, why it is important to start having a sustainable approach to fashion and 5 easy steps into ethical fashion consumption.
What does ethical fashion mean?
Ethical fashion englobes clothes design, production, and distribution based on reducing harm to people, animals, and the planet. It creates a better future for everyone and benefits workers along the supply chain. In fact, ethical fashion is worried about social impact and the ethics of a brand.
Why have ethical fashion consumption?
We are buying more clothes than ever. Now we consume about 80 billion new garments every year. In particular, this is 400% more than the amount it was consumed 20 years ago. And this is due to the fast-fashion established system. Fast fashion is the mass production of cheap and disposable clothing. It uses trends replication and low-quality materials in order to bring affordable and trendy styles to the public. Indeed the United Nations established fashion as an environmental and social emergency.
Then, it is important to start changing our fashion consumption to a more responsible and conscious one. For example, if you have a capsule wardrobe or purchase clothes in second-hand or vintage clothing stores, and why not buy from ethical fashion brands? There are many ways and steps to follow that will make a difference.
If you want to know more about the main problem of the fashion industry, I recommend you to read Fast fashion facts that make you rethink your habits.
Steps into ethical fashion consumption
Here are some easy steps into ethical fashion consumption.
Wardrobe clean up
This is the very first step into ethical fashion consumption: do a strong wardrobe clean-up in order to know which clothes do you have and which ones do you really need. I’m aware that it’s not easy to let things go but it’s a matter of time and of realizing that it’s nonsense having your wardrobe full of clothes that you are not wearing anymore. And it can be for many reasons: it doesn’t follow your personal style anymore, you don’t know how to wear it, the size doesn’t fit anymore, you never liked it but it was a special gift… and the list continues. Believe me, it’s a relief when you see your garments having a second chance, more life. I sell my clothes online and give them away as well. And I loved it because I also make people happy!
This is a great exercise to do when a season changes and then we have to change our clothing. And to be honest, nowadays it’s very easy to sell online so there are no excuses to keep your old clothes and the ones you don’t use anymore in your wardrobe. So… you know where to start at now!
There’s nothing better than purchasing clothes that were already made. Buying vintage or second-hand clothing has a lot of benefits:
1- When you shop vintage you buy better quality clothing
A garment is considered vintage when it has at least 10 life years. So this means that the quality of a vintage cloth is better than in retail stores. The average lifetime of a garment today is of 3 years.
In addition, decades ago clothes were made to last. The fabrics and it tailoring were much better than nowadays. Therefore, if you have a vintage cloth you actually have a relic.
2- Is sustainable
The fashion industry is the second-largest polluter after the oil industry. Fast fashion is the mass-production of cheap and disposable clothing. And it uses trends replication and low-quality materials in order to bring affordable and trendy styles to the public.
So when you shop vintage clothing you are being more sustainable. In one hand, it is because they are clothes that are already made and it avoids all the chain production. And in the other hand, when you buy a vintage item you are giving the garment another opportunity and more life. Avoiding its end on a landfill.
Shop vintage clothing prevents:
- Industrial pollution: The apparel industry emits 10% of the global carbon emissions. That’s more emissions than international flights and maritime shipping combined. And this is due the energy used during its production, manufacturing and transportation of all the million pieces each year.
- Material waste: According to the UN, every single second the equivalent of one garbage truck of textils is burning or throwing to a landfill. Most of the garments are made of synthetic fibers (like polyester) that are plastic fibers. So they’re non-biodegradable and can take up to 200 years to decompose.
- Water abuse: The fashion industry is responsible for 20% of the total waste of water globally. This is the equivalent of the amount of water that 5 million people need to survive. For example, it requires 10,000 litres of water to manufacture a single pair of jeans and 20,000 liters of water to produce just 1kg of cotton.
- Animal exploitation: quality wool, leather and down products, for example, last decades. And its better if you obtain vintage clothes of these materials because they were already made and there was no need of another animal suffering.
3- Prevents human exploitation
“The 100% of Zara’s production in Asia is child labor”, said Ehsan Ullah Khan, Pakistani leader against child slavery. He is the founder and president of the Front for the Liberation of Forced Labor, an organization that since its inception has freed more than 100,000 people from slavery. Ullah Khan currently lives in Sweden as a political refugee.
Nearly all of our clothes are made in countries where workers rights are nonexistent. Garment laborers are exploited because they are forced to work from about 14 to 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, and just gaining $3 per day in terrible conditions.
A report from 2018 published that forced labor and child labor exist in the fashion industry in different contries like Argentina, India, Brazil, China, and more. You can see the report here.
4- Is cheaper
Being pre-owned, the vintage clothes cost a lot less money than new items. Of course that the prices depend on its label, materials and if it’s from a designer or don’t. But surely you will pay less money. So if you love saving or just don’t like to spend lots of money on clothes then vintage clothing is ideal for you!
5- You will find unique pieces
When you enter into a vintage clothing store you will find that every item is one of a kind. So if you have some vintage clothes in your wardrobe it will be different from the rest. And that’s fantastic because it ensures a unique style. This also means that you have the chance to explore your personal style. It encourages creativity. So don’t doubt at the time of play with clothes and try on new things. Because you don’t know until you try!
Focus on quality instead of quantity
At the time to buy new clothing, the best thing to do is focus on good quality pieces so they last longer. For example, basics deserve to be of good quality due they are the type of clothes every wardrobe needs because they can be worn with everything you can imagine and fits everybody well. For instance, a white shirt, a pair of jeans, black boots, white sneakers, a long coat. But this also depends on your personal style and your lifestyle, the activities you do during the week and on weekends as well. That is why I always recommend knowing and following your personal style but, at the same time, trying on new things and keep discovering your style.
If you don’t find what you need in a vintage store or prefer to buy new clothes (it’s understandable), then I recommend you to buy from sustainable brands. There are many of them with great missions that take care of the environment, the working conditions, and the people! If you want to know some of them then read these posts
If you don’t find what you need in a vintage store or prefer to buy new clothes (it’s understandable), then I recommend you to buy from sustainable brands. There are many of them with great missions that take care of the environment, the working conditions, and the people! If you want to know some of them then read these posts: Fair trade fashion brands and Sustainable shoe brands.
It’s true that greenwashing exists and it’s crucial to have information in order to avoid it. Greenwashing is a communication and marketing strategy that companies and organizations adopt. They exaggerate their behavior on green practices such as their environmental impact, their use of organic/recycled/sustainable materials, etc. This misleads consumers and makes them believe that they are buying an environmentally friendly product when actually is not at all. If you want to know more about it then I recommend you to read: Greenwashing: what means and how to spot it.
These easy steps into ethical fashion will help you not only to have a sustainable approach to fashion but also to find your personal style and feel more confident than ever wearing clothes! Start these steps and tell me how did you feel! For more content you can follow me on Instagram and TikTok and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to write me!