Monday, March 7, 2011
Ethical Fashion & Me - Why I made the Change
So what exactly is ethical fashion? As my blog migrates from the coverage of Japanese fashion to ethical and locally made fashion due to my recent lifestyle change i thought i would examine what exactly ethical fashion is and some of the issues surrounding non ethical fashion.
Ethical fashion is a term used to describe ethical ways of designing, buying, selling and making fashion items. Areas covered within this are exploitative practices, fairtrade goods, sustainability, environmental impact, working conditions and the treatment of animals.
The ever expanding globalisation of the fashion industry means that the materials and the work involved in producing clothing can be outsourced to various parts of the world where the costs involved are substantially lower. But this way of producing clothing is very costly in other ways that aren't so visually apparent. Some of the issues involved are:-
Exploitative working conditions and treatment of workers- some child and adult workers are violently treated and physically abused in order to force them to work overtime. The places of work can be cramped, dirty, unsanitary with long hours and very low pay.
A lot of clothing is made using cotton. The cotton industry actually consumes 22.5% of the worlds insecticides and 10% of the pesticides - these toxic chemicals are not only detrimental to our environment but they can also adversely effect the health of the workers who grow it.
Most Textile growing in general is unsustainable because of its long term negative effect on the environment. One such example of this is Asia's Aral Sea where the water is now at only 15% of its original volume due to the large amount that is needed to produce cotton.
All these effects even before the chemicals are applied to the actual material. These chemicals include zinc, lead, chromium and formaldehyde. They are bad for the environment and bad for our long term health.
I won't go into the fur trade because my contempt for that industry has already been discussed in detail.
High Street clothing has become disposable meaning that more of it than ever ends up in landfill. Actually 1 million tonnes yearly is thrown away in the UK alone I hate to think what the figures for the USA are. And of course clothing is inorganic so it doesn't give back to the earth in any positive way. Those are some of the many reasons I made this lifestyle change. Yes it'll be hard and yes I may struggle at times but my determination is high and I'll have all of you, my wonderful readers and friends to motivate and spur me on and your supportive comments since yesterday have helped more than you'll ever know. During this journey I hope that through this blog you'll discover a whole host of truly amazing innovative and ethical designers that you yourself will want to shop from not only for their ethical practices but because you genuinely love their designs. If I can effect just one persons shopping habits in even a tiny way i'll be a happy girl. I can't wait to share this journey with you all!