Ethics is a pretty broad term and is often used as an umbrella for all different types of ways our businesses can succeed without exploitation or damage to people and the planet. In this blog we are going to talk about 2 key issues in the fashion industry.
Fashion is one of the top 5 most-polluting industries in the world. With disposable income increasing and clothes becoming more affordable, the “wear and repair” ethos many people grew up with is almost unknown to the new generation. But with fashion trends constantly changing and consumers wanting the next new style, the affect that fast fashion is having on the environment, in countries such as Kazakhstan and Indonesia, has been kept in the dark from us shopaholics.
And it’s not just the act of throwing away clothes that is the issue, the whole production process has an effect on the environment and the people living in these countries.
Did you know it takes 15,000 litres of water to make cotton for 1 pair of jeans?
Taking water away from inland seas causes local communities to suffer. In places such as Indonesia, chemical waste from toxic dyes are disposed off in rivers that locals rely on as a water supply which is not only extremely dangerous to humans but also the animals in these rivers.
To find out more and see what you can do to reduce your fashion waste watch Stacey Dooleys documentary on BBC 3 on Fashions Dirty Secret. Greenpeace are also campaigning for toxic-free fashion, check out what they say in their Detox my Fashion campaign.
Behind the scenes
It’s not only about the environment, there are people behind the clothes that you buy. Many industries have made a conscious effort to be completely transparent with their manufacturing process but many companies still exploit workers (predominantly women), from countries such as India, so big brands can keep costs low and profits high. Businesses face growing pressure to ensure their supply chains are both environmentally-friendly and pay their workers fair wages, as campaigners estimate some 25 million people globally were trapped in forced labor in 2016. (Bacchi, 2018).
You might think that changing the way you shop won’t make a difference but it can! By taking the first steps you can become a trend setter in a new fast fashion world. Buying clothes that are ethically sourced and repurposing or recycling your old clothes is the first step to changing our fashion conscious society.
Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts!
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