Why ethical fashion?

Let’s face it: ethical fashion is generally more expensive and less accessible, while so many stores selling “normal” fashion do so at cheap prices and on our doorstep.

So why bother going for a slightly less comfortable option?

Here’s why.

Children shouldn't make my clothing

You think it’s 2018 and those things don’t happen anymore? Think twice. In 2016 there were approximately 152 million child labourers1 in the world. Among them, 73 million2 worked in hazardous conditions. More than half of child labourers (that means between 5 and 17 years old) work more than 9 hours per day3.

Garment workers should be paid decently

But what does decently mean? We all know the cost of living is different in each country, but still. Millions of people work in the fashion industry, work more hours than we could even fathom and do not earn enough to pay for life’s basic necessities. In Bangladesh, garment workers earn $68 per month4. That is just a fourth of a living wage there.

Nobody should be forced to work

Have you ever heard of modern slavery? It can be carried out in lots of ways: by violenceintimidation, manipulated debt, retention of identity papers or threats of denunciation to immigration authorities. 1 in 4 victims of modern slavery are children5

No workplace should be deadly

Low cost comes at a price: sometimes it’s the garment’s workers’ lives. The first accident we actually heard of is the collapse of Rana Plaza, which killed 1,134 people in 2013. Unfortunately, many others took place before that, such as Ali Enterprises Factory (Pakistan) and Tazreen Fashions (Bangladesh) that both burned down in 2012, killing a total of 366 people, and injuring hundreds.

Women shouldn't get paid less then men

Most of the clothes made today were made by women. In Pakistan, men working the garment industry are paid 66.5% more than women6.

Clothing shouldn't be disposable

One of the direct consequences of fast fashion is that much of it ends up in landfills or incinerators. An estimated 350,000 tonnes7 of clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year. Clothing production doubled8 between 2000 and 2014, even though the world’s population did not.

Western consumers are thought to buy 60% more clothes than they did 10 years ago, even if they’re spending the same amount of money on them.

LET'S AIM FOR AN

EVEN BETTER FASHION

We chose to feature on the Ethical Fashion Guide brands that manufacture their goods in humane ways, but there’s a lot more to be cared about. Around 60 to 75 million people9 are employed in the process of making clothes. What’s the point of buying an organic, vegan and upcycled jumper if it has been made by an underpaid garment worker?
None, in our opinion. But that does not mean the other issues are not as pressing.

Cotton production is now responsible for 18% of worldwide pesticide use and 25% of total insecticide use10. As our skin is the largest organ, these chemicals are passed into the bloodstream of the people wearing these clothes. Why not go for organic clothes? Or have a look at eco-friendly materials such as cork, hemp, Tencel or organic cotton! 

Brands can play a greater role than simply selling beautiful clothing. We believe in using business to create a positive impact on people’s lives. Have a look at brands that support charities!

Some brands make the effort to be fully transparent about their supply chain, while others try to reduce their waste, or support a circular economy

What if all we needed to create beautiful clothing exists already? Go for brands that use  recycled materials or use surplus materials to manufacture their garments!

Or, how about those brands that love all beauties, not only the ones society told us at some point would be the only beautiful ones? Or brands that have come to realise that not everyone fits in a EU 36/UK 8/US 4?

Feeling like empowering women on their journey? Go for brands that are female-owned.

The rapid turnover of trends is the very specific characteristic of fast fashion. Support brands who are on a quest for slow fashion.

Are you sensitive to animal welfare? Have a look at entirely vegan fashion!

SOME

FAST FASHION

NUMBERS
1000000
garments are processed EACH DAY by companies like Zara and Forever 21
25
of the world's insecticides are used for cotton production
6800
of water are required to produce one pair of jeans
64
per month is what a Bangladeshi garment worker earns. That is 1/4 of a living wage there

Every time you step into your jeans or put on your t-shirt you decide to be an accomplice of human exploitation and environmental disasters.

OR NOT. YOU CHOOSE.

Want to learn more?

Find podcasts, books, documentaries and more on our resources page.

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