The Global Rebellion Of Ethical Fashion - A Beginners Guide

Kate Hall | 16 Oct 2019
"There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness." - Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi came up with many awe-inspiring quotes throughout his lifetime, but none as relevant to the fashion industry’s current state as this one. Although many do not realise their impact as they button up their shirts in the morning, most clothes that exist today have caused hunger and unhappiness.

Some Facts about the Fashion Industry

The fashion industry is polluting the environment while exploiting and oppressing people. Garment factory workers are forced into horrific working conditions for 12+ hours a day and work for as little as $169 a month. Harsh chemicals are used to dye clothes, fabrics are continuously made from plastics, and as the consumer demand for clothing increases, these problems are only getting worse.

With all global issues, comes a global rebellion. In this case, it’s ethical fashion.

Ethical fashion is not only the answer to the world’s fashion crisis, but it’s repercussions have positive effects on consumers’ well-being and happiness too.

What is Ethical Fashion?

Ethical fashion is the umbrella term for fashion made fairly, consciously, and mindfully. It includes consideration for people, the planet, and animals throughout the entire production of a garment.

From seed (growing the fabric) to a shopper’s wardrobe, ethical fashion ensures every decision made in the development of a garment first and foremost examines how these three parties will be impacted.

Take the design process, for example. When the garment first comes to life in the design phase, these questions (plus more) are asked: How long will this garment be worn by the consumer? Will this style go out of fashion? When unwearable, how will the consumer dispose of it? What materials are practical for this garment to ensure comfort for the consumer and low impact on the planet?

Moving into production, a garment created with ethical values in mind, will be made from sustainable materials (e.g. organic cotton and hemp), and every pair of hands involved in manufacturing the garment will be paid a fair wage and work in honest and just working conditions.

Often ethical fashion companies ship their products in eco-friendly materials, include instructions on how to repair and best preserve the garment, or even offer repair schemes themselves

Ethical fashion was once a term most people would turn their noses up at, and toss under the ‘hippy’ label.

No one wanted to hear about it. But now the world has started taking ethical fashion seriously. Consumers are jumping on the ethical fashion bandwagon to avoid being part of the catastrophic effects of mainstream fashion, but that isn’t the only benefit to them. Choosing to shop for ethical fashion, impacts a consumer’s well-being in a positive manner.

How Ethical Fashion Benefits a Consumer’s Well-Being

Embracing ethical fashion involves an awakening. A consumer will begin to educate themselves on the topic, become aware of their current wardrobe choices, familiarise themselves with what they’re putting on their bodies and consider who made their clothes.

Good things come from becoming aware. Although initially a consumer may feel ashamed by their past fashion purchases, becoming more aware is empowering.

Next step: purchasing ethically made items. A happy consumer is one who purchases garments made from sustainable materials and by garment workers who are treated fairly. Knowing who made their clothes and exactly what they are wearing is incredibly uplifting. The connection between a person and their clothes is often underestimated.

Clothes are an external representation of a person, and when the clothes have a positive creation story, who wouldn’t feel happy?

Simple Steps to an Ethical Wardrobe

1. Educate yourself: Read articles, books, and blog posts. Follow accounts on social media who are knowledgeable and passionate about ethical fashion. Learn as much as you can!

2. Audit your wardrobe: Knowing what you already own is the best start to making conscious choices that will add to your wardrobe, rather than gather dust. Look at your labels, familiarise yourself with fabrics, and email brands if you have a question about how your garment was made.

3. Buy ethically: Before making a purchase, check if the brand knows how it was made and with what type of materials. This will most often be on their website, but don’t be afraid to email them for more information.

4. Look after your wardrobe: Follow washing instruction labels, hand wash when required, spot wash, and repair your clothes instead of throwing them away.

Will you join me on this ethical fashion rebellion?

About Kate Hall

Kate Hall is an educator, Instagram influencer, blogger, freelance writer, and general sustainability activist. Founder of Ethically Kate, Kate heroes ethical and sustainable brands and demonstrates through her own life how others can live with less impact on the planet too. Kate is passionate about staying positive and encouraging individuals and businesses to make little, but consistent, changes towards a more sustainable way of living. She educates in high schools, speaks at events and works as a digital communicator for sustainability focused charities. Connect with Kate on Instagram or Facebook

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