Here’s the thing, whether we like it or not, fashion is political. The choices we make and the clothes we wear come at a cost. Often, we, as consumers, aren’t the only ones paying the price. You’ve probably heard the term ethical fashion revolution, and if you’re wondering what it really means and what it entails, then continue reading. I also have simple tips to help you transform your wardrobe.
The Fashion Revolution
When we talk about the ethical fashion revolution, we have to remember the tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in April of 2013. The tragedy cost 1,134 lives and injured over 2,500 people. Fashion Revolution was born after the incident: a movement that demands transparency from brands and companies. As consumers, is it not our right to know how our clothes are made?
If brands and clothing companies act more transparent and honest, we can also make more sensible choices. Imagine if you picked up a clothing item that read: “contains toxic dyes and chemicals?” Or something like: “this clothing garment was made by women working in harsh conditions.” What if the clothing item you bought said: “the person who made your T-shirt was not paid fairly.” But the reality is that we’re never confronted with the facts behind the fashion industry. Instead, we walk into a beautiful shop and purchase clothes without knowing their story. And so, the very idea of an ethical fashion revolution continues to be vague and distanced.
Knowledge Is Power
Like anything else, to opt for an ethical fashion revolution, we have to know the facts. One of the best resources is the eye-opening documentary The True Cost. Check it out for more information on the fashion industry. But until you do, here are some of the facts:
- The world consumes about 80 million new pieces of clothing per year (a 400% increase in just two decades).
- This means our clothes also become disposable: more clothes mean more waste.
- About half of our clothes are made out of cotton, and 90% of that cotton is now genetically modified, using too much water and chemicals.
- “Cotton production is now responsible for 18% of worldwide pesticide use and 25% of total insecticide use”.
- Aside from the cruelty, the leather tanning process is one of the most harmful practices in the fashion industry.
- 97% of our clothes are made overseas, which often means we cannot be sure of its regulations.
- About 85% of all garment workers are women.
- Global fashion brands continue to profit from their use of cheap labour in foreign countries.
Simple Tips For An Ethical Wardrobe
Ethical fashion revolution and a sustainable wardrobe are much more achievable once you know the truth about the industry. The excellent news is fashion and ethics can go hand in hand. Saying goodbye to cheaply made clothes doesn’t mean you can’t rock your favourite styles. Instead, you can be mindful of the planet and its resources, hold on to your values, and look fabulous!
Here are some simple tips to help you get there
First things first. Educate yourself and ask questions. There’s nothing wrong with demanding your favourite brand be transparent about how their clothes are made. At the end of the day, these companies stand because of you and pay for their products, so it only makes sense that we know what we’re getting.
The ethical fashion revolution and fast fashion don’t go hand in hand. Most fast fashion brands are unethical, and the quality they offer isn’t going to last. In addition, the clothing industry uses many of our natural resources (land, water etc.) and leaves our planet polluted. This means we have to choose our clothes wisely and invest in quality to not constantly buy.
Second-hand clothing is one of the best (and cheapest) ways of transitioning towards an ethical wardrobe. There’s nothing better than using what is already produced. This way, you don’t have waste, and you also don’t increase demand.
Supporting eco-friendly companies is another great way of promoting the ethical fashion revolution. When I can’t buy second-hand, I opt for ethical brands. It’s nice to buy pieces that are made with love and compassion.
And finally, remember this is a journey. You can’t transform your wardrobe overnight. However, buying less and buying right is already a significant first step.
Also, if you are interested in reading more, here is my previous post on The 10 Essentials Every Woman Needs in her Capsule Wardrobe.
There you have it. This is what I have to say about the ethical fashion revolution. It’s your turn now.
Comment below to share your tips.