Amidst all the sustaina-babble, terms like ethical clothing are thrown around for attention. The world is slowly realizing the need and beauty of long-lasting handmade clothing, made in harmony with nature, not at the expense of it. But what does it mean? What kind of clothing is truly ethical and why does it even matter?
The fast-evolving scope of ethical clothing includes clothing that aims to reduce the negative impact on people, animals, and the planet. It is made with a vast array of considerations, as we learn on this journey, and ethical makers strive to pay close attention to each part of the production process.
- Ethical Raw Materials
First, they need to carefully consider the materials used to make the clothing. From Hemp Fiber to Kala cotton, the sustainability journey has gotten many designers to explore the possibilities of alternative fabrics which are produced using lesser natural resources in a way that is kinder to the planet. Natural fibers for one are plant-based materials used to replace chemically produced yarn. For example, kala cotton as compared to traditional cotton uses minimal water in production and grows in drought-prone areas. Eri silk or ahimsa silk is made without the gruesome killing of silkworms. The list is expanding fast as social innovators and designers collaboratively keep the health of local ecosystems at the heart of their creations.
- Ethical Designs:
Focusing on intricate, novelty designs handmade by skilled artisans who have been passing on the craft for generations is another route towards ethicality. For instance, embroidery and block printing done by hand on organic raw materials produces one-of-a-kind results that cannot be bulk produced or replicated as machine-made goods are. Zero-waste designs rooted in the ethos of making the most of what would otherwise be waste in a landfill result in novel distinct pieces that are kinder to the planet. With attention to detail, they result in long-lasting, durable clothing for everyone, which outlives trends, thereby driving a shift towards mindful consumption bit by bit.
- Ethical Processes Supply Chains
Garment manufacturing is known to be one of the most destructive production processes. Ethical supply chains differ from fast-fashion models, as their main focus, above all else, is to ensure that the production process is environmentally friendly and fair to those involved in it. They adhere to strict regulations to make sure that there is no exploitation or abuse involved in the production process, as well as comply with guardrails for environmental impact.
Going a step further, there are some ethical supply chain models that are designed to keep the community at its core, ensuring a thriving ecosystem of sustainable livelihoods.
- Ethical Wages
Just 2% of fast fashion retail price ends up actually reaching the workers in sweatshops who are pushed to produce them. Many traditional crafts and artisanal skills die out as artisans find themselves in need of consistent work and livelihood. This need pushes them to switch to taking up jobs as construction workers abandoning their heritage skills. With no one left to practice it, in a few years, centuries of art come to a halting stop. Ethically produced clothing ensures better humane working conditions as well as fair wages for the creators. With access to consistent livelihoods, it creates an opportunity for them to take their craft further in eco-friendly ways.
Being ethical and environmentally friendly or sustainable is a long, constantly evolving process, it requires collaborative action and mindful choices. It all starts with one choice,: yours. Explore more ethical clothing ideas and styles on flourishplanet.com