4 Tips for Embracing an Ethical Approach to Fashion
Make more ethical fashion choices for a better tomorrow
The fashion industry has a long history of employing unethical practices to make a profit. From the exploitation of workers to causing harm to the environment, there are many things to consider if you wish to make more ethical fashion choices. Here are four tips to get you started:
1. Choose your items carefully
We live in a fast-paced consumer culture. It’s easy to find the items you’re looking for, provided ethics aren’t at the top of your priority list. Instead of looking for the best bargain, prioritize quality when looking for new items for your wardrobe.
High-quality items last longer, reducing the need to make another purchase in the near future, and therefore reducing your environmental impact. If the price of an item seems too good to be true, it probably is. Exploitation is still common across the globe by the fashion industry to keep prices low. When you choose higher quality items, you can afford to pay more for them, as you will need to replace them less often. When you make informed choices, based on quality over price, you help to protect both the environment and the people working hard to create the items in your wardrobe.
2. Opt for sustainable materials
When looking for clothing that doesn’t harm the environment, the type of material used is often overlooked. However, this is really important. Many of the most common fabrics are not sustainable – and have a huge impact on the environment.
For example, polyester is made using coal and petroleum. Both of these substances have a harmful effect on the environment and come from non-renewable sources. The production of polyester also uses large amounts of water and energy, giving it a high carbon footprint. And to top it all off, it’s not biodegradable, which means clothing made using polyester will likely pile up in a landfill.
Instead, look for fabrics such as sustainable linen, cotton, and wool – which are made from natural fibers and are much kinder to the environment. The good news is many fashion brands are now starting to take this seriously, so sustainable items are easier to find. ASOS, for example, sourced 71% more sustainable cotton in 2017.
3. Don’t throw unwanted clothing in the bin
This should go without saying, but many people are still sending their unwanted clothing to landfill. When it comes to ethical fashion, “reuse and recycle” is the best mantra. When you’re having a clear out, ask yourself two questions:
– Is this item still good quality? If it is, sell it online or send it to a charity shop. This provides other people with an opportunity to purchase the item at a lower cost, and – if you go for the charity shop – means you’re also helping another social cause with your donation.
– Is it recyclable? If the item is not suitable for reselling, the chances are it can be recycled. Many landfill sites now have separate areas for recycling, which includes options for discarding unwanted clothing for reuse.
4. Support community projects
You can also choose to buy from community projects with a social purpose. As the popularity of ethical fashion continues to rise, new and interesting community projects are appearing constantly. These projects often operate to benefit communities of underprivileged people – and provide a way for you to “give back” each time you make a purchase.
Hopefully, our tips will make you more conscious about sustainable and ethical fashion!
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