What's Ethic Fashion and what can you do to help the environment?

What's Ethic Fashion and what can you do to help the environment?

          In recent years, the fashion industry has become the second most polluting industry in the world.  The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of CO₂ emissions and consumes close to 20% of the world's total water expenditure.  Fast fashion is a business model dedicated to the mass production of clothing, generally of low quality in short periods of time and at low cost.  This model motivates us to consume more than we need by creating new collections and rotating inventory every few days or weeks, which creates an incredible FOMO (fear of missing out), so desire and purchases increase.  The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) estimates that 40% of the garments produced each year are never used.

        Behind each garment there are limited resources invested, including water, energy and labor, which are often exploited by companies.  A low cost is paid in recognized stores for garments that have been created in semi-slavery conditions by people, including children, who have no representation about their rights.  That's why we should not look the other way, rather we should help combat what's bad for the environment and society.  There's no planet B and we must take care of our world now, instead of looking for another that can be inhabited.  It's hard to be sustainable when millions of garments are created each year and almost half of them go unused because they "went out of style" or end up in a landfill for years without being able to decompose due to their material.

        As a powerful and responsible consumer, focus on buying organic, sustainable, ecological, vegan and/or fair trade fashion.  The term of organic fashion is based on the manufacture of a product with natural ingredients and free of chemicals or toxic substances.  Organic garments are safe for our health and guarantee the natural cultivation and maintenance of soil fertility, ensuring the land for future generations.  Sustainable fashion is based on those garments that have been created with maximum respect for the environment.  The sustainable garments are also manufactured free of toxins and use renewable energy, recycled products and vegetable dyes.  In ecological fashion, natural fabrics free of pesticides and other toxic substances are used and, in addition, it controls that the producers respect the working conditions of the clothing manufacturers.  Vegan fashion is based on the creation of garments without using any animal or derivative product.  Even so, the fact that the garment is vegan doesn't mean that it's organic, sustainable or ecological.  And fair trade is a system that dignifies work, encourages responsible and sustainable management of natural resources, respect for the environment and society, and promotes fair trade relations.

        Ethical fashion seeks to eradicate fast fashion practices and manufacture clothing in a responsible way with society and the environment.  Slow-fashion emerges as an alternative that takes environmental and social impact into consideration and seeks to slow down the design, manufacturing and distribution of durable garments.  This new model seeks to ensure the responsible cultivation or collection of garments, the quality and sustainability of the product, that working conditions are fair and dignified, and reduce toxic waste and the carbon footprint.  It is time to rethink the designs and resources available to create products that help us and that are not eventually a problem for nature when discarded.

       The big chains know that this is what consumers are demanding, but the million dollar question is whether they are really committed to satisfy the clients in this sense or just deceiving them.  Greenwashing is a form of marketing that companies use to convey the false idea that a product is "ecological" when in fact it's not.  This has been a topic of interest and controversy that affects not only the fashion industry, but many others. There are many companies that promise to be sustainable, biodegradable, or eco-friendly but don't actually deliver on their promises to consumers.  It is our duty to demand a fair and true systemic change so that companies move to a more ethical and responsible industry.

What can you do to help the environment?

  • INFORM YOURSELF!  Investigate before making a purchase and look at: the materials of the product, where it comes from, if it has information on the conditions of the workers, if it uses recycled material or if it has any sustainable fashion certification.  Sometimes it is difficult to find this type of information but searching a little you can find it, if not, my recommendation is that you do not buy the product, because there is no information that corroborates what you are looking for.

  • Opt for natural fibers such as organic cotton, bamboo or hemp and recycled materials, such as plastic or nylon.  At Ginger Rican Style we have a variety of organic and sustainable products just for you, make sure to check it out! 

  • Another thing you can do is buy second-hand clothes.  Buy versatile garments and neutral colors that help you combine numerous outfits, minimizing the purchase of several garments and the environmental impact that creating a new piece would involve.

  • You can also consume sustainable fashion through upcycling and downcycling.  The first modifies discarded garments to create higher value garments and the second recovers and reuses some material to transform it into a lower value product.

  • Do not use or promote companies that employ unethical practices.

  • Ask uncomfortable questions and report, if necessary, companies that are engaging deceptive practices.  Your voice counts and there will be no change if it's not talked about.

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