What Is Ethical Fashion?
Hands up if you’ve heard any of these phrases thrown about; ethical fashion; sustainable fashion; slow fashion. Some of you may not have heard any of these and some of you may have heard these words before. But what is ethical fashion?
These terms are all quite similar yet different people can have very different views on what they all mean. For the most part, they mean a new way of thinking about our clothes and the impact fashion has on the world. So what variations are there?
Compare Ethics have simplified what ethical fashion means by using our 3 core values; Animal Cruelty-Free, Social Good and Planet Friendly. In this blog I will answer the question of “What is ethical fashion?” and introduce you to some amazing forward thinking brands pushing the boundaries in the fashion revolution.
Some brands say they do social good but do not put their money where their mouth is. For us this goes much deeper than any brands public image. Social good means fair wages, fair trade certifications and access to good working conditions. This shows a larger purpose to a brand outside of growth in profit and sales but towards the growth of the people that make the brand possible.
Ethical glow in the dark knitwear from social good brand Glow + See. For exclusive discount use “ETHICS18” at the checkout.
One brand which is fully committed to doing Social Good for the community that Compare Ethics loves, is Glow + See. Formed by the visionary designer Comet Chukura, each piece is made by disadvantaged women in London. Raised in East London, Comet regularly volunteers at a drop-in centre in Tower Hamlets where the accessories are made and is where she gets her fashion inspiration. They make sure to pay their makers for each one and then sell them on to us. This empowers their East London artisans with a sense of value by giving them work skills and a fair wage.
Here’s a brand we can really get behind! Especially as their unique knitwear pieces even glow in the dark! Great for cyclists, runners or anyone wanting to be seen from dusk to dawn. You can learn more about other brands that are challenging inequality in this blog we wrote. Other ethical fashion brands focus on using fairtrade suppliers.
Animal cruelty free
On to the next value; Animal Cruelty-Free. This one might come as a shock to some thinking ‘How on earth can clothes harm animals?’. Digging a little deeper might remind you that old Snakeskin leather belt your gran bought you 3 years ago that’s now tucked away in your junk draw – there’s no shame, we all have a junk draw.
Animals can get hurt in multiple ways in the fashion industry. One was mentioned above, Leather. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, we produce over 300,000 tonnes of goatskins a year. Imagine that as the fatberg found in London last year, but it ran the entire length from the most southern point of the UK to the most northern point… 6 times over!
Thankfully, many ethical fashion brands have made positive choices to stay away from such practices. One Animal Cruelty-free fashion brand is Mayamiko. Mayamiko are a sustainable women’s fashion brand based in London and are a Peta approved Vegan brand. This means that they ensure no animals are hurt during any part of their production or used in their fabrics. Not only are they Vegan, they make fabulous outfits and designs that you can wear for all occasions, whether you’re at the beach or in Hackney. There is a new generation of Vegan brands emerging, find out who they are here.
Did you know that the fashion industry is the second biggest polluting industry in the world? (Number 1 being Oil & Gas). That’s a silver medal nobody wants.
When people think of sustainable fashion, many think about the environment. I for one did. That’s why our last value, Planet Friendly, means just that. By planet, we mean all things earthly, like water, the ground and the climate.
Some of you may have heard of ethical fashion brands using Organic materials like organic cotton or bamboo. These materials use much less water to grow and don’t use harmful chemicals that are sprayed on farm land.
Another one you may have heard of is Slow Fashion. If Slow Fashion is the opposite of Fast Fashion, and Fast fashion is buying and throwing away clothes as quick as the British weather changes. Then Slow Fashion is keeping and taking care of our clothes so they last longer.
There are many innovative ethical clothing brands reusing old fabrics to make new trendy pieces. Some doing great things like these upcycled and recycled clothing brands. Others are making sustainable swimwear made from ocean plastic waste. I’m sure many of you have heard of Vintage too, that’s also a part of the Slow Fashion movement as it uses items of clothing that are already made so doesn’t need to use up anymore raw materials.
We have come to the end of what is ethical fashion means, great. So what now? I think it is important that we don’t get too bogged down into which words we should be using where. Focus on the actual impact brands are having in the 3 values of being Animal Cruelty-free, Socially Good and Planet Friendly. Now that you have an understanding of ethical fashion, check out our 3 reasons why you should compare ethical fashion.
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