Ethical Fashion: A Global Revolution
Did you know that the fashion industry is a huge contributor to climate change?
On a daily basis we are reminded of the impact we have through our actions on our environment. Whether it be frequent flying to exotic destinations, buying a new phone every few months or driving a fuel-guzzling vehicle, our carbon footprint is something that we all must take seriously.
The way we consume fashion must also now be a consideration as ‘fast fashion’ is contributing considerably to climate change, the destruction of our oceans and global warming.
Here at Beach Bums & Feels we do support global revolutions in fashion trends, particularly ethical fashion. So please read on to learn more about where you fit into this and how together we can help save our fragile planet.
Fashion and ethics
What does ethical fashion mean? Can fashion be ethical?
Until recently, we wouldn’t have related ethics to fashion. Medicine, law and politics, sure, but fashion? Well the fashion industry brings $1.2 trillion a year to the world economy and with such a giant industry comes great responsibility, and slowly it has become clearer that fashion can and must take a great ethical stance.
Ethical means morally correct. Ethical fashion refers to ethical fashion design, production, retail, and purchasing. It covers a range of issues such as working conditions, exploitation, fair trade, sustainable production, the environment, and animal welfare. Therefore, ethical fashion seeks that the current manufacturing trends become obsolete. Outsourcing manufacturing to developing countries and paying peanuts to the workers suffocating in hot production halls making clothes for the world out of cotton full of pesticide and synthetic fibres that pollute our seas are no good for anyone!
Fast fashion vs ethical fashion
Is fast fashion ethical?
The short answer is NO. Fast fashion means that the rate of production is fast; the customer’s decision to purchase is fast; delivery is fast; and garments are ‘worn fast’, usually only a few times before being discarded.
So much so that we learned in a recent survey that 17% of young people would not wear the same outfit again if they’d posted it on Instagram already. Apart from that, many people would be embarrassed to wear the same outfit for a special event twice. That’s how the trend of buying a new cool dress every month or so is reinforced!
However, with the Coronavirus pandemic, things have changed for the major fashion brands. Sales have significantly dropped because people are not out shopping for fear of infection. Another reason is that recession is looming. People are finally realizing that they can live without a new piece of clothing every week!
Nevertheless, the 150 billion pieces of clothing manufactured each year require a whole lot of water for production, pesticides to get more cotton, and a lot of coal-powered electricity. And then the many unsold pieces are burned… Luckily, trends are changing and ethical fashion is slowly becoming the mainstream.
Principles of ethical fashion
Here are the three main principles of ethical fashion.
Social good. As we mentioned, the fashion industry is notorious for poor wages, especially in developing countries. The social good principle of ethical fashion seeks to ensure that workers get fair wages and fair working conditions.
Planet-friendly. Planet-friendly fashion is slow, as opposed to the fast fashion we talked about earlier. This means that people should take care of their clothes so as not to throw them away quickly. The materials used are organic and require much less water and no pesticides to grow.
- Animal-cruelty free. Vegan leather is just one example of this. No killing of animals for fashion is justified! Additionally, the microfibers and plastic are poisoning the fish in our oceans. Fortunately, there are brands that use recycled plastic and other materials from oceans to make swimwear!
Ethical fashion trends
Ethical fashion trends encourage taking care of the environment, reusing, redesigning, and repurposing of materials, and fairness towards the workers.
For example, greenwashing by many brands is something consumers are sick of. They demand that brands disclose the lowest wages they pay, among other things. Half-hearted attempts at going green are no longer tolerated, as rising numbers of buyers want to know the carbon footprint of their clothes.
Another trend is fabric innovation. Many new brands and manufacturers are reusing, repurposing and recycling the plastic from oceans and other waste to make fabric. Econyl is particularly popular, as it is as sturdy as nylon. It is part of activewear and swimwear - we love it here at Beach bums and feels!
Sustainability is important too. Hey, we all want cheap clothes! But what is the cost of the health to the people that make them? What is the cost of the time they spent bent over the machines making you a pair of jeans you’ll throw away in two months? Living wages and investing in the local community where clothes are produced is a must!
Ethical luxury fashion
If you thought you couldn’t get luxurious pieces that are also ethical, you were wrong. Let’s look at some ethical luxury fashion brands!
Maggie Marilyn - transparency is key to sustainability, and they live by this policy.
Phoebe English makes sure the supply chain is all within a 10-15 mile radius. Talk about leaving a minimal carbon footprint!
- Stella McCartney was the first vegetarian luxury label in the world. She makes sure her pieces are animal-cruelty free!
Ethical fashion brands
Not all of us can afford luxury goods. Fortunately, there are brands that take care of the environment and your budget, such as the ones below.
Pact is GOTS certified organic and fair trade! For super-soft and long-lasting basics, they’re all you need.
- Kotn really is fair to its employees and associates. On top of that, their garments are quality and comfortable. You won’t regret buying their products!
- Alternative Apparel uses recycled materials and processes whenever possible, all the while maintaining affordable prices. They also care about paying their workers living wages, so you know you’re contributing to a good cause on multiple levels!
Ethical fashion vs sustainable fashion
Ethical fashion, as we have seen, mostly refers to fair working conditions, no forced, slave or child labour, and cruelty-free and vegan-friendly practices in manufacturing. On the other hand, sustainable fashion is more concerned with the environmental costs of production. It is all about reusing, making quality garments, and even providing less choice than fast fashion brands.
Sustainable ethical fashion brands
Fortunately, the number of both ethical and sustainable fashion brands is growing! Here are some of them:
Thought Clothing. They use organic ingredients such as hemp and bamboo and organic cotton, and they boast beautiful colours and styles!
Ref Jeans uses eco-friendly materials to tackle denim waste. We’re sure you’ll find something for yourself as they offer lots of different styles!
- Girlfriend Collective has inclusive-sizing, sustainable and affordable activewear. Their prices aren’t steep and the brand ensures their workers are paid fairly, while the clothes are made of recycled materials!
Ethical fashion companies in the UK
We’ve looked at various ethical and sustainable fashion brands around the world. These are based in the UK:
Rejina Pyo - ethical and sustainable UK designer!
Asos - although they manufacture clothes in 713 factories around the world, they pay fair wages and care for the environment.
- Our very own, Beach bums and feels, designed in Australia, fashioned in Bali and the UK, providing women with durable, eco-friendly and affordable swimwear.
Top ethical fashion bloggers
To keep up with ethical fashion trends, you need to know who to follow! We’re giving you a list of top ethical fashion bloggers:
Sustainably Chic - everything you want to know about sustainable fashion, green beauty and eco lifestyle.
IndieGetUp - digital marketing professionals bringing you ethical, sustainable fashion brands around the world!
- Seasons+Salt - a blog introducing sustainable, ethical and independent designers.
Now that you know more about ethical and sustainable fashion, you can’t say you didn’t know!
Choose ethical and sustainable brands. Opt for fairness and recycling. Join the Beach Bum & Feels Tribe today and let’s help change this world one bikini at a time!
Eco-friendly | Organic | Ethical | Recycled | Sustainable | Sexy