By Madeleine Ang
Thigh high boots, 90s grunge, chokers and bomber jackets are some of the newly emerging trends of 2016. Could ethical fashion be making the list?
Ethical fashion, otherwise known as ‘clothing with a conscience’ has become increasingly important to modern day consumers. Ethical fashion buyers are like the vegans of the fashion world. They’re making a conscious decision to buy products that are better for them, for animals and for the environment. Ethical fashion considers all moral aspects of the clothing – whether or not clothing is made using environmentally friendly, cruelty free materials and whether or not they are produced in safe working conditions, providing fair wages to workers.
Designers are paying more attention to the ethicality of their business and the effect their products are having on the environment. Creating pieces that are environmentally friendly and cruelty free are becoming a higher priority as customers become more and more aware of the story behind the clothes they’re purchasing.. Buying clothes is no longer as simple as picking what you like the look of, accepting it for a cheap price and calling it a bargain. Consumers are further considering how their clothing is sourced and how businesses can afford to price their garments so cheap?
Ethical fashion will proceed to increase in popularity as long as people continue to display an interest in living an ethical lifestyle and look for more noble substitutes to ‘fast fashion’, which tends to trade quality for quantity.
The hazardous clothing industry of fast fashion has been put under the western worlds’ spotlight after incidents regarding workers safety have appeared in our news. It was the tragedy of the Bangladesh factory collapse that became a key event in exposing the evils of this industry. For many of our big branded fashion companies such as ‘H&M’ and ‘Forever 21’ their products are produced in third world countries where workers have very few rights and are poorly protected. This means they can hire thousands of workers and get away with paying them very little, enforcing long working hours and under unsafe conditions.
There’s also a greater chance that these ‘fast fashion’ companies are responsible for child labour and slavery. Low priced items are slowly beginning to be seen not as an advantage, but as a clear sign that that product caused harm to our environment and the worker who helped to produce it.
Another reason people are starting to opt away from ‘fast fashion’ and towards ethical fashion is because it has a terrible effect on our environment. Not to mention the millions of animals that are slaughtered annually for the fashion industry, enduring inhumane suffering throughout the production process. Clothes are manufactured using cheap materials made up of chemicals that can be potentially harmful to the consumer as well as the earth. Fast fashion also encourages overproduction. Millions of unwanted clothing pieces go to waste and go towards land fills.
As this sort of information about the fashion industry continues to be exposed, ethical fashion will maintain its progressing popularity status. It also owes some of its newfound popularity due to vintage clothing and thrift shopping currently so on trend right now.
Vintage and second hand clothing are appealing because you can own unique, one of a kind clothing for an affordable price without your purchase causing any further harm to anything or anyone. Perhaps the environmentalists are right, maybe going green is the new black!