Fashion is one of the biggest industries in the world and unfortunately, the most polluting one. The major resource-intensive industry has been consuming resources like there is no tomorrow, leaving a minuscule amount for the generations to come. However, we need to realize that this exhausting process of fashion needs to take a halt and find new, innovative methods to be fashionable yet sustainable before it's too late.
Ethical fashion is what this industry needs to take seriously now or the future generations will never be able to experience what we have been fortunate enough to experience. Ethical or sustainable fashion means utilizing the resources and functioning efficiently to many are being developed and adopted new innovative practices are leaving enough resources for the future. But, one more important aspect of ethical fashion that is often ignored is being fair to all the people involved in the supply chain of this enormous industry. As the term “ethical” suggests, it is utterly important to pay the due credit to those small yet highly momentous artisans/ farmers/ karigars without whom this industry would not have been where it stands today. Many times, big brands and their founders get all the appreciation and credit completely looking over these highly talented people who are not even fairly paid for their hard work. This exploitation that has been hidden behind those big brand names and their glamorous products, is now being noticed and discussed by consumers all over the world as a result of which fair and ethical brands are coming into play.
Fashion has a significant impact on communities around the world, therefore any ignorance, in this case, can irrevocably impact people’s lives. It has an enormous climate change footprint which makes it urgent to alter the unsustainable practices. The journey to achieving 100% sustainable practices and ethical trade is not going to be easy or fast, however, starting it from the very day is the need of the hour. Observing the gradual shift in consumer preferences, many brands have realized the impact of their lucrative business and have started adopting relatively ethical methods to do things. Big fast-fashion brands like H&M are seen, including conscious clothing, zero-waste, etc. in their stores and offerings. Furthermore, a lot of luxury brands like Burberry, Gucci, and Versace have even pledged to go fur-free after facing backlash from their consumers. Brands offering a new collection every week, claiming to bring the latest styles do not realize the opportunity cost involved. This trend of being up-to-date has encouraged overconsumption and wastage leading to an increasing landfill. This pattern of consumerism needs to be reformed by a more need-based and value-based consuming behavior, but this will not be possible until both the brand and the consumer prioritize the environment realizing the effects of their action.
Upcoming homegrown labels that cater to the fashion needs of their customers while following an ethical approach are a ray of hope in these worrisome situations. With the spread of the deadly coronavirus, people around the globe have seemed to realize the importance of life, sustainability, nature, and efficient use of resources. This has led to a momentous shift to sustainable labels than fast-fashion brands giving the fast-fashion industry a moment to think about their old practices and given a rise to sustainable fashion brands.
Today’s consumer is smart and aware and wants to know the details of the product and the brand before making a purchase which has pushed brands to adopt a transparent marketing approach, being more vocal about their practices on social media or other platforms. A well-informed consumer will know about the origin of the product, the value it offers, and the way it has been brought to life as compared to the conventional consumer who’s just concerned about the product and its price. This rising interest of the customers in the brand and their products is also giving birth to a term called “greenwashing”, where brands simply pretend to be sustainable instead of being one.
Looking at all this, today it becomes very important that we as humans, as fellow citizens realize that every effort, every bit counts, and our choices will define the future of the generations to come. A few things that we can follow to lead a more sustainable lifestyle are:
- Buy Less
- Buy from sustainable brands
- Buy better quality
- Think before you dispose of your clothes.
- Swap your clothes that you no longer need
- Watch your washing process
Ethical fashion is and should be the future if we want to live a life that is fair to all, have resources that we can enjoy and use in the future, and want a better world for our future generations. The payment of fair wages to the people who create our clothes has been a major problem in the fashion eco-system. Sustainable brands have been working their way to pay fairly to these people and give them their due credit. Transparency is the key to having a sustainable future and these brands try their level best to ensure zero secrecy between the brand and its customers.
Taking a note of all this, it is safe to say that ethical fashion has a successful future with big brands developing new ways to create clothing out of sea waste, landfills, and whatnot. The technological advancements will also ensure to further simplify the success of achieving sustainable alternatives. Vintage clothing and thrift stores will gain popularity among the youth and designers are going to innovate practices to design and launch their collection in the most eco-friendly way possible. What we see today is just a start to an amazing journey in the sustainable fashion industry. As customers embrace sustainable options, brands can no longer afford to miss out on this emerging love for ethical fashion, thus they are and will continue to find contemporary and nature-friendly methods of doing conventional things.
The most amazing part of the future of sustainable fashion is that more and more people are taking interest in it day by day and now there is no going back. From small homegrown brands to big global fashion bran are many new innovative practices are being developed and adopted to give back what nature has long lost. The future of ethical and sustainable fashion is a bright one by achieving harmony with the environment and catering to the consumers’ fashion needs simultaneously.
Next time you make that purchase, make sure you are asking yourself the right questions- where am I buying the product from? What reason? and the most important one at what cost?