Ethical Fashion

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

I've been wanting to write this post for a while but I wanted to become more informed first. I've always been aware that some high street stores aren't great with their ethics and where the materials come from but before delving into this issue I didn't know it was as bad as it actually was. That's why I've decided to make a change (alright Michael Jackson).

From a young age we are conditioned to think that clothes are important, that what we wear signifies some form of class or currency. I remember becoming interested in fashion in the middle of secondary school. My wardrobe expanded and there were many, many visits to Primark (sorry mum). Although I was a self proclaimed hipster (ew) I was still dressing in cheap clothes because everyone else was and well; they were cheap, I didn't know any different.  And that's the trouble, I recently watched the very famous documentary called 'The True Cost' and they said that the reason clothes are becoming so cheap is because of the high demand for it, from angsty teenagers who shop in Primark in a desperate attempt to become popular. And why is this? Because of the media. Advertisement for fashion is very manipulative, making us think that if we buy this specific item of clothing we will have more worth than if we don't. It persuades us to put all of our identity into the clothes we wear and more specifically; the brands we buy them from.

Compared to the 4 fashion seasons that we began with, fast fashion has created an extra 52 micro seasons in which brands must keep up with the demand for clothing that is still 'on trend'. Because of this, brands seek cheaper ways to make the clothes sacrificing the health and safety of their workers; if you haven't seen or read about the Rana Plaza disaster in which 1,138 people died and another 2,500 were injured, go and read about it, it's important to be aware that these things happen because it was thoroughly neglected from the news headlines. Fast fashion also has a huge impact on the environment and according to  Greenpeace's research; the chemicals used to treat and dye clothes are polluting rivers and the clothing industry takes up 3% of global production of C02 emissions, that's not too far behind from animal agriculture.  

Now, as all of you may know I am a vegan and have been for a year and a half now. I have been focusing all of my education and energy into veganism and the lifestyle that I have chosen to lead but whilst I was doing this, I wasn't noticing something as equally wrong with the world standing right in front of me. Now I have settled into my vegan lifestyle and am comfortable with my choices and what I consume, I need to sort out where my clothes come from. That's the next step for me. After reading amazing blogposts from Bethany and Grace who are much more educated on this topic as they have been living an ethical fashion lifestyle for a while now, I would encourage you to go and read their posts too. The moment it hit me that I need to change my fashion choices is when I put on a jumper from H&M after reading Bethany's post about the same topic. The jumper reads 'Feminism; The Radical Notion that Women are People'. I just stared at myself in the mirror wearing this jumper and feeling disgusted with the company that made it and to be honest a little at myself for buying and wearing it. That jumper was probably made by a woman that had all her rights taken away, how dare they promote feminism when their brand don't allow pregnant women maternity leave so they have to give birth in the corridor, how dare they create this facade that they actually care about women and then employ young girls and place them in unsafe environments.
How. Fucking. Dare. They.
I was so angry and then, I decided to make a change.

I decided from there and then that I would only shop ethically from now on. Be it from ethical clothing brands, vintage swap shops and charity shops. Similar to going cruelty free I will be keeping the clothes I already own until I grow out of them or have no use for them and then they will be given to charity. I already completed the 333 minimalism challenge, so after a little change around I am happy with my wardrobe for now.  But I will be trying my absolute best to shop ethically from now on, I know it will be a transition of learning and education similar to veganism and I might get it wrong, but at least I'm trying and at least I've finally opened my eyes into the mistreatment and sheer hypocrisy and how far brands will go to makesure they're still on top and we're all still brainwashed. There's a whole psychological theory around this about higher powers becoming desensitised and things and I could write another post about that if you wanted me to?

For now though I would highly encourage you to begin educating yourself. Read Bethany and Sophie's posts and watch The True Cost and then head over to Fashion Revolution and see what you can do to help. There is also a very useful Fashion Transparency PDF file that you can download and it shows you which brands are the most ethically conscious or trying to be at least.

 I feel extremely passionate about this but you must understand I've been under their spell for years and have a lot of learning to do. But I know it will all be for the best and I'll be able to sleep better at night knowing I'm not contributing towards this hideous industry and hoping to bring awareness so we can change it. I want you to come on this journey with me, you wont regret it. Those leggings from Primark can wait. Speaking of leggings I'm finding it really hard to find certain staples such as; underwear, tights, leggings etc and it would be so helpful for my already ethically aware pals to point me in the direction of a good brand that does good staple garments that are ethical, thanks in advance!

Will you join the fashion revolution?


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