What Is Considered Ethical Clothing?

Fast fashion has been on the rise during the past 20 years and it seems that people can’t stop investing in it. This type of fashion is famous for never-changing fashion trends and cheap prices. However, a debate around its inhumane corporate practices has been going around for quite some time and in this article we are going to explore it a bit further. What is exactly “ethical clothing” and “sustainable fashion”? This type of industry has emerge as an alternative to fast fashion with relies on mass production and environmental pollution.

Introductionethical

The name “ethical clothing” is relatively new; it was mentioned for the first time in the 2002 essay Ethics and Innovation: Is an Ethical Fashion Industry an Oxymoron? The subject explored is the one of how fashion designers should be more ethical and what actually constitutes ethical behavior. Fast fashion retailers are successful because of their latest catwalk trends that now millions of people can afford at cheap prices.

There is a catch though. Those clothes do not last long and that is why they are cheap. They were made of the synthetic cheap materials that are unable to recycle and when they tear down into tiny clumps they get into water systems and pollute our environmental.

However, when they do enter the rivers and oceans they also find their ways into fish and drinking water, ending up in our bodies. Many synthetic materials have been proven to be cancerogenous. The waste from the fabrics gets into the rivers as well and kills off fish and animals.

Cheap labor and human exploitation are the second issue. Many of fast fashion brands source their manufacturing to countries in Asia where the economy is low. The workers are not paid much but the working conditions are usually terrible.

Fast fashion also promotes impulse buying, because the more we buy, the more we think we need even more clothing. Since the pieces are made of cheap synthetics anyway, they will get destroyed quickly and easily, leading to consumers throwing them away and creating huge landfills that cannot be recycled.

So what is ethical fashion exactly then? It will be defined in regards to three main points:

1. Environment

 

When it comes to waste water, dyes, pesticides and fertilizers, they should all be controlled and supervised to as to reduce the damage done to the surroundings. This means that the companies should work on minimizing the environmental impact of manufacturing.

2. Workers

 

The companies should respect the fundamental human rights regardless of the location. As we have mentioned previously, there have been many discussion related to fair wages and safe facilities. Having in mind that outsourcing is a standard practice in fast fashion industry, there should be laws that would protect the workers’ health and safety.

3. Consumers

 

The company needs to provide a quality service and transparent information regarding the products it is selling. People have been complaining about hidden animal components of garments, quality of the materials and injustice in the workplace. All companies should be transparent and provide their customers with all the info.

Controversies Surrounding Sustainable Fashion

 ethic brands

Despite sustainable fashion being the alternative to fast fashion and having many benefits, there are actually some controversies surrounding it. For example, people give an example of green washing – a marketing spin used by PR to persuade people to buy products they think are environmentally friendly, when they actually are not.

There were also some controversies related to organic cotton which is considered to be a better choice than the original cotton. However, organic cotton remains only 1% of the global cotton population and its growth demands hand weeding and water waste.

Bamboo fiber has also been marketed as an alternative to conventional cotton, but the conversion of it into fabric is as toxic as the production of rayon, which makes it highly toxic. That is why some countries have started demanding that labeling of bamboo fiber should be “rayon from bamboo” instead.

Materials

 

When speaking of ethical clothing, it is important to note which materials are considered sustainable and are slowly replacing the synthetics.

  • Cellulose fibers include: jute, flax, hemp, ramie, abaca, bamboo (used for viscose), soy, corn, banana, pineapple, beech wood and hemp.
  • Organic cotton
  • Soy
  • Recycled fabrics
  • Kombucha (SCOBY) - composed of cellulose fiber, a byproduct of the same symbiotic colonies of bacteria and yeast.

Future of fashion sustainability

 

The goal of slow fashion industry is to lead to less waste in the future and more jobs that would improve the economy. Since tailor couture has almost disappeared due to the mass production, malls and stores; the goal is to reduce pollution as well. Recycling is strongly advised – instead of throwing clothing away and creating landfills, consumers are encouraged to take them to charities, donations or recycle them. Rental fashion has also been on the rise recently – people are realizing that there is no need to spend tons of money on only one fashion piece that will be worn once in a lifetime. So they opt to rent a dress or outwear or footwear and eventually keep it if it proves a good fit. There are many sites that have become popular due to affordable process for renting. Luxury items are a bit pricier of course, but it is still a great way to save money and dress nicely at the same time.

9 Ethical Clothing Brands

 

Here is the list of 9 best ethical clothing brands that you should definitely check out.

MUD Jeans

 mud jeans

‘If you love jeans as much as this planet you’re at the good place here. We aim to change the fashion industry, starting with the most popular piece of clothing: a pair of jeans.’

MUD Jeans might seem like any other jeans brands but it is not. Founded in 2013 by Bert van Son, this brand truly cares about ethics and sustainability. They want to make good quality jeans without destroying the earth and that tells a lot. Repairs are provided for free and all fibers have been recycled or made of good materials. Their goal is to make jeans made of 100% post-consumer recycled denim.

  • Product range: Women and men's denim jeans and jackets.
  • Where products are made: Tunisia.
  • Price: Medium to high.
  • Ordering: Based in the Netherlands and ship worldwide.

Thought

 thought

Thought is a brand from the UK that has a mantra “Wear me, love me, mend me, pass me on.” They use breathable bamboo which is silky to touch and adjusts the temperature – it can both warm and cool you down. They also use hemp which is very strong and soft on the skin. It rarely gets destroyed which makes it practical and durable. There is also 100% natural wool that is sustainable, very warm and durable. They also use recycled polyester and rayon. The first is made of recycled bottles and the latter of a recycled tree pulp.

  • Product range: Women and men's clothing, socks and accessories.
  • Where products are made: China.
  • Price: Medium.
  • Ordering: Based in the UK and ship worldwide.

Bhumi

bhumi

Bhumi was founded by Vinita and Dushyant. She created Bhumi Organic Cotton, an organization and a growing movement of organic farmers that wanted to get rid of toxic water and harmful dyes.

The brand offers sustainable luxury, transparency, organic cotton, no genetically modified seeds used, no toxic dyes, crop rotation conserves soil, no hazardous synthetic pesticides. All materials are dyed by using the Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS) approved dyes which are free of hazardous elements such as nickel, lead, formaldehyde, amines, pesticides and heavy metals protecting farmers and their families as well as consumers.

  • Product range: Women's, men's, kids clothing, active wear and bedding.
  • Where products are made: India.
  • Price: Medium.
  • Ordering: Based in the Australia and ship worldwide.

VAUTE

vaute

VAUTE (“Haute” + V for Vegan) is the world’s first vegan fashion brand founded in the US. It is a high-end luxury brand what is creating amazing and stylish coats, gowns, sweaters and dresses – but from sustainable and high quality materials. They team up with the best high tech mills in the world in order to make only organic and recycled fabrics. If you are a vegan and you are against animal cruelty, this brand is definitely for you.

  • Product range: Women's and men's winter jackets.
  • Where products are made: US.
  • Price: Premium.
  • Ordering: Based in the US and ship worldwide.

Beyond Skin

beyond skin

Beyond Skin is a vegan shoe brand founded in the UK in 2001. They aim to create stylish and cruelty-free shoes. Just like VAUTE, this brand is against animal cruelty and their goal is to make soft and high quality footwear – just not at the expense of animals or the planet in general. They use recycled fabrics such as cardboard, resin and plastics. Their synthetic leathers are made from cotton-backed polyurethane (PU) and are sourced from Italy.

  • Range: Female dressy and casual shoes.
  • Where products are made: Spain.
  • Price: Premium.
  • Ordering: Based in the UK and ship worldwide.

Linenfox

linenfox

Linenfox is a Lithuanian brand that focuses on women swear from sustainably sourced linen. They believe in paying honest wages and implement the “no waste” principles because they sell all of their fabric scraps, even use scrawls for packaging. What is amazing about this brand is the fact that they really care about their style and design and they want to make it perfect for you. They are willing to make as many alterations to the garment as you pick.

  • Product range: Women's clothing, bedding, kitchen, bathroom and accessories.
  • Where products are made: Lithuania.
  • Price: Medium.
  • Ordering: Based in Lithuania and ship worldwide.

Etiko

 etiko

The clothes are made locally by a team of skilled professionals and they are all made of certified linen. This brand is very transparent and they consider themselves both vegan and sustainable. They sell everything from footwear to underwear. It is a family owned business and they promote human and animal rights. Founded in 2014, they need around 2 to 3 weeks to produce.

  • Product range: Men and woman's shoes, clothing, and underwear.
  • Where products are made: India.
  • Price: Low to medium.
  • Ordering: Based in Australia and ship worldwide.

Tree Tribe

 tree tribe

Tree Tribe is, as you can guess from the title, an outdoor lifestyle brand that focuses on planting trees. They have planted over 150 thousand trees and for each sale someone makes – they plant a tree. What makes them outstanding is that they actually hand make from lead leather, which is an innovative material. No trees are harmed in the process because they use fallen leaves.

  • Product range: Women and Men's basic clothing, accessories and stationery.
  • Where products are made: Some things made in Thailand.
  • Price: Low to medium.
  • Ordering: Based in the US and ship worldwide.

 

Tasi Travels

 tasi travels

Tasi Travels is an Australian brand founded in 2016 by Jess Abraham. She loves to combine minimalism and practicality. The main used material is Tencel which is amazing because it does not wrinkle, it is breathable and also one of the most sustainable fabrics in the world.

  • Product range: Women and men's clothing.
  • Where products are made: Australia.
  • Price: High.
  • Ordering: Based in Australia and ship worldwide.

 

Rent4Wear

Rent4Wear

 

Rent4Wear is a bag rental service that is quite new but aims to become one of the leaders in the sustainable fashion industry. They will offer affordable memberships so you will be able to borrow the most exclusive handbags from famous brands such as Dior and Chanel. Besides being able to wear the bags of your dreams you will also be able to contribute by being environmentally friendly. If you want to learn more about the brand, make sure to follow their Instagram page so you can keep up with the updates! The prices will be affordable and the bag models alluring, so make sure to check them out!

Conclusion

 

To sum up, we have talked about what is ethical clothing aka sustainable fashion aka slow fashion. We compared it to the term fast fashion which is far more popular but also stands for a dangerous industry due to its pollution and waste.

We also introduced you to 9 very amazing sustainable brands that promote cruelty-free, vegan and sustainable fashion. The pieces are not only soft and practical but also stylish!

This is all for now! Thank you for reading and do not forget to ask us anything you want to. Are there any sustainable ethic brands that you like to wear?

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