Ethical fashion is a big part of our daily life and it often expresses individual style. In reality, ethical fashion also concerns the respect and care for animals and humans as well. So, ethical fashion is also about universal fashion, meaning that it concerns all people in society. It’s not just about what you look like or who your friends are. The fashion industry is a big part of our culture and affects the way we dress and the things we buy.
Our current culture supports and encourages irresponsible consumerism. With increased wealth, comes more consumerism. This has resulted in an increase in poor labor practices, exploitative business practices, and an environmental damage that has lasted generations. Fortunately, eco-friendly clothing is making a comeback with a focus on ethical fashion. People are looking for ways to make products that are both good for the environment and good for their employees.
One example of ethical fashion is clothing produced locally and in partnership with workers in the local community. Workers would benefit from a reduction in overwork and in addition get a higher wage. Companies that support these worker communities through projects and activities also tend to attract positive publicity. Therefore, companies that choose to work with local women in textile factories benefit not only themselves but also the local economy. A positive example of this is the organic cotton clothing movement which started at universities in the 1990s.
Sustainable fashion is a growing segment of the ethical fashion industry. A sustainable business cycle replaces harmful materials and energy with non-toxic and biodegradable options. The circular economy benefits everyone involved including consumers, producers, consumers and suppliers. A recent article in Fast Company titled “Green Fashion – Recycling Clothes For the Green Movement” reported that nine out of ten clothing brands stated that they had no plans to run any green campaigns.
The ethical fashion industry has come to the forefront in the US due to campaigns such as the Fight for the Future. This group is lobbying for better working conditions in the clothing and shoe industry. One issue that has been brought up is the fact that many children work long hours in minimum wage jobs without benefits or any means of support. The Fair Trade brand supports the rights of workers to be treated humanely and in return they provide them with free clothes, shoes and school supplies. Other sustainable brands that have adopted an ethical fashion strategy include Burberry, D&G, Diesel, Unilever and Levi.
Ethical fashion has come about as a direct result of worker abuses in the clothing industry. Many advocates of ethical fashion campaigns highlight the critical problems of child labor and slave labor in the textile industry in developing countries. They argue that by buying ethically produced clothes you can help alleviate these issues and empower the workers to improve their living standards. A major problem in developing countries is the lack of access to education for children and workers who perform manual tasks in clothing factories. By buying ethically manufactured clothes you can help improve working conditions for these children. By purchasing ethically produced garments you can also create job opportunities for women in these regions.