Is sustainable fashion really better?
The past couple of years has seen the rise of many ethical dilemmas, forcing our society to rethink norms and beliefs. One of these norms relates to the consumption of fashion. Many have raised questions regarding the responsibility of both brands and consumers when it comes to ethical, environmental and quality issues. This questioning help lay down the foundation for the rise of sustainable fashion.
Fast fashion has many negative impacts. Not only can the customers be paying for poor quality clothing, but this industry uses and exploits overseas workers by having their clothes made in sweatshops. Aside from the human aspects, it also has negative effects on our environment. Sustainable fashion, on the other hand, is aiming to be a more responsible fashion practice from both fashion producers and consumers.
Sustainable fashion brands are based on two main pillars, a fair and vegan fashion. The fair side of this fashion regards the work conditions under which the production takes place. This “fairness” relates to fair salaries, decent hours, comfortable workspaces and more. All these elements help improve the quality of life of fashion workers. The vegan side isn’t only for those who want to morally encourage the diminution of animal suffering, it also is environmentally friendly, by reducing the negative impacts that the breeding culture has on our planet (such as the emission of carbon dioxide and methane).
There are also many things we can do as fashion consumers. Buying second-hand items, joining a swapping group or consuming slow fashion are all actions that support sustainability.
Swapping groups are becoming more and more popular, even planting roots in physical locations. If you’re interested in learning more about them, you can visit the Shwap Club and Empire Exchange in Montreal.
Although sustainable fashion is a “more ethical” form of fashion, it is important to remember that even if sustainable, it is still a form of consumption (and production). Therefore the goal of sustainable fashion is to reduce and minimize the negative impacts of the fashion industry, all while being aware that some of them can’t disappear, as long as there are production and consumption.