Ethical, sustainable and fair fashion trends have gained traction as consumers are becoming more aware of how their purchases affect the world around them. A “good” fashion brand means that their clothing is produced under fair labor laws, and/or is sourced with sustainable materials. Good fashion practices are an alternative to the mass production of clothing which destroys ethical practices and has negative environmental impacts. With a little research, you can buy quality clothing that are good for the environment and fair to the producers—and that’s a purchase you can feel good about.
Terms to Note
Fast Fashion: is a trend where clothing is quickly and massively produced right off of the cat walk, so standards like fair labor and sustainability practices are compromised. Meaning, consumers need to take a step back and think about what they are buying and how their purchases affect the planet.
Sustainable: This focuses on the impact that the materials in the clothing have on the environment and include things like organic cotton and non-toxic dyes.
Fair Trade: Fair trade fashion focuses on the conditions of the workers who make the clothing. To be considered fair trade, a brand must be fair trade certified.
Ethical: The term ethical fashion combines sustainable and fair trade practices. Garments are made with materials like hemp and the conditions of the workers who make the clothes are carefully monitored.
Slow Fashion: This term means that fashion isn’t quickly and massively produced so that standards such as sustainability aren’t compromised. Often, slower production means higher quality, and longer lasting clothes are good for everyone.
How You Can Help
Spend more but impact less: Instead of buying a bunch of mediocre t-shirts from Target, consider buying from an ethical brand and buy clothes you love. Creating clothes that adhere to good fashion practices tend to cost more but their positive environmental impact is worth the money.
Donate and buy used: 15 million tons of clothing sits in landfills every year. Instead of throwing away clothes you don’t wear anymore, consider donating them. Instead of heading to the mall, consider buying gently used clothing from vintage and thrift shops.
Check out this list: 13 ethical clothing brands to buy from and feel good about.
Do your research: Spend a little time searching online for responsibly sourced goods…and that’s not limited to just clothing. Food, coffee/tea, jewelry, and furniture are other industries where workers can be exploited and environmental rules can be broken. There are many lists of socially conscious producers, like this ethical shopping guide, that can help you choose ethical brands.
Shop local: This is one of the best ways to ensure that your hard-earned dollar is going to the right place. Local retailers usually have a better grasp on where they get their goods from, and cutting out as many middle-men as you can is a good thing. Plus, you’re supporting your local community…and saving a bit of gas money too.
We’d love to know ways you dress and buy ethically. Leave a comment and let’s chat!
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