In the era of sustainability, ethically sourced fashion products are becoming an important requirement in a millennial’s shopping cart. Millennials are said to have a “social first” mindset; they care about how something is made, what it is made of, who makes it, and under what conditions.
They thus have the right to save our decomposing planet and thanks to their fearlessness and their powerful voice, they open the way to an eco-responsible and sustainable fashion.
Origin of ecological and ethical fashion
Eco-fashion – refers to the production of clothing and other products from materials that are recycled or otherwise produced by methods that are not harmful to the environment.
In 1922, ‘Levi Strauss & Company’ was exposed for using prisoner labor in China to make their jeans. This incident, and others like it, brought to light the desperate working conditions of workers around the world, mainly in countries like Vietnam, China, where there were no rules and regulations regarding to the age of the workers and no consideration for their safety and health.
Later in 1999, Naomi Klein published a hugely influential international bestseller, No Logo, which revealed the truth behind many global giants around the world. This book helped lay the foundations of ethical fashion and had a serious impact on the history of eco-fashion. It has also led to the start of many eco-conscious brands, as well as the rebranding of established brands to more ethical ones.
On the other hand, in 2005, fashion entrepreneurs as well as business owners gathered in London, with the same mission: to create successful fashion brands with a positive environmental and social impact. They believed that they would be able to achieve this goal as part of a collective effort rather than individually. In 2006, the Ethical Fashion Forum (EFF) was therefore established with 20 members from four different continents with the primary mission of helping fashion businesses succeed with the triple bottom line – people, planet and profit.
In 2016, EFF developed a new platform, Common Purpose, to scale up its work.
“Fast fashion is not free. Someone, somewhere is paying.
Fast fashion refers to the rapid production of large volumes of clothing at cheaper prices. All the elements of fast fashion, such as trend reproduction, fast production, poor quality, competitive prices, have a bad impact on the planet and also on the people involved in the production of clothes, because many brands fashion girls violate human rights for fun. of fashion.
Slow fashion offers an alternative, with conscious manufacturing, fair labor rights, natural materials and sustainable clothing, to traditional production techniques or design concepts that strive to be seasonless or last aesthetically and physically for longer periods.
Nevertheless, the concept of slow fashion is not without controversy.
“Fashion has done more harm than revolutions” – Victor Hugo
The billion dollar fashion industry is believed to be the second biggest polluter on our planet. The fashion industry uses vast amounts of the Earth’s natural resources and approximately 8,000 synthetic chemicals to transform raw materials into textiles that are used to make our clothing and accessories.
As a result, this industry is a main source of greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide (CO2) which is a main source of global warming, which is rapidly changing the global climate.
How does eco-friendly fashion help the environment?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
Saves natural resources and reduces carbon footprint
The raw materials, especially cotton, used to make clothes are rapidly running out and to keep up with the demand, harmful agricultural practices have been used. Additionally, our clothing is petroleum-based and is also made from fossil fuels, which contributes to global warming.
In contrast, the use of sustainable materials made from recycled or natural fabrics requires relatively less or no chemical processing, less energy, less water or no pesticides and fertilizers to grow. By buying clothes made from renewable materials, you reduce the demand for materials that harm our environment.
In addition, by wearing second-hand or eco-friendly clothing, you reduce the number of pesticides used daily while decreasing the demand for clothing. In addition, maintenance is more environmentally friendly because garments made from environmentally friendly resources require special care. which means that the clothes are washed in cold water without using a dryer or chemical detergents.
Ultimately, this helps reduce your carbon footprint.
Requires less water and reduces the amount of toxic waste
Water, the fashion industry’s primary source, is used in the dyeing and finishing process of our garments. Producing a single t-shirt requires 2,700 liters of water and 1/3 pound of chemicals. Such a quantity adds up and is disastrous for our environment.
Additionally, the cultivation of cotton is highly dependent on water, but they grow in hot, dry areas where water is not easily accessible. Meanwhile, organic cotton helps reduce water consumption compared to conventional cotton.
Save animal life and support animal rights
Around the world, the fashion industry is guilty of killing animals for fur and leather. We have seen that the leather industry in the world kills around 400 million animals every year.
However, in recent years consumers have become more aware of the importance of boycotting the use of leather and real fur in clothing. Yet it continues to be used by high-end fashion designers as a luxurious material.
Fortunately, sustainable brands around the world have started using cruelty-free alternatives, and there’s one for just about every material used in fashion. By switching to cruelty-free brands, you can rest assured that your fashion hasn’t caused the death of another living thing.
Healthy for people and the planet
Fashion items go through a very long and extreme chemical process before they end up in our closets. Many synthetic substances are used to bleach and dye clothes. These chemicals can cause illness or even death to workers and impose severe congenital disabilities on their children.
So, to minimize the harmful effects of chemicals, you have to opt for sustainable, healthy and cruelty-free fashion.
While ethical fashion may not be the solution to all of our environmental issues, it allows us to reduce environmental impact and invest in safer and more sustainable practices.
On the other hand, sustainable fashion ensures safe working conditions and does not support child labor. In addition, by purchasing clothing from responsible brands, as well as thrift stores, such as thrift stores and vintage clothing stores, we are defending the environment.
However, although millennials prefer to opt for ethical and slow fashion, even if it means investing more money in their closets, the industry does not provide them with enough eco-responsible brands.
How can I help you?
Choose brands that are transparent about their manufacturing process and the sources of their resources.
Reuse and recycle your clothes.
Buy ethical brands or thrift stores.
Invest in vintage clothes (The Champagne Diet)
Here are some eco-friendly brands you can buy from:
ELLERALI (You can watch her talk about her mission and goals here)