Why Ethical Fashion Matters & What You Can Do
Did you know the fashion industry is one of the most polluting and exploitative industries in the world? It accounts for up to 10% of our global emissions, which is more than cargo shipping and international air transportation combined! (Source: UNECE)
Behind the glitz and glamour of this multi-billion dollar industry, the fashion industry holds a darker truth. From sweatshops to environmental degradation, the impacts of fashion, especially fast and ultra-fast fashion, are devastating and far-reaching on our people and planet.
For a brighter tomorrow, we believe the fashion industry needs to move away from this model and move to a slower, more ethical, and sustainable one. In this blog post, we’ll cover why ethical fashion matters and what you can do as an individual to help.
To dive in, let’s define what ethical fashion means.
Ethical fashion is a movement that focuses on the social and environmental impact of the fashion industry.
It looks at the production and consumption of clothing made in a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable way with a focus on these 4 pillars.
1. Fair wages and working conditions for garment workers
One of the biggest issues in the fashion industry is the exploitation of garment workers. Many garment workers, particularly in developing countries, work in unsafe conditions, for long hours, and for low wages.
Did you know that less than 2% of fashion workers earn living wages? And that garments are the second highest at-risk product category for modern slavery? (Source: Remake)
Ethical fashion seeks to address this issue by ensuring that garment workers are paid living wages, have safe working conditions, and are treated with respect and dignity.
Paying factory workers living wages is one of our top priorities at Joyasol, and one of the main reasons we chose Portugal to manufacture our shoes. To learn more about our ethical standards, visit our Ethics page.
"Living wages is a climate solution. According to the reverse rebound effect, paying garment workers living wages will result in an immediate reduction of carbon emissions." -Remake
2. Environmental sustainability
From the use of toxic chemicals in textile production to the disposal of clothing in landfills, the impact of fashion on the environment is huge.
Ethical fashion seeks to address this by promoting sustainable production methods, such as the use of organic and natural fibers, and reducing waste through reusing, recycling, upcycling, and donating.
We’re big believers in better, fewer items that last. That’s why we’ve developed sustainable systems that promote recycling and upcycling through Terracycle, as well as donating through Soles 4 Soles.
3. Animal welfare
The use of animal products in fashion, such as leather and fur, has long been a controversial issue. While some brands look to promote synthetic leather and faux fur, others believe that leather can still be used in an ethical way that’s responsibly sourced, making sure the leather is a bi-product of the meat industry and that strict environmental and waste regulations are met through the Leather Working Group.
All of our shoes are Leather Working Group Certified. Sinced the beginning, we have looked at working with alternative leather materials, but have yet to find a material that meets our comfort and durability standards. We are committed to keep looking for vegan alternatives and hope to offer them in the near future (More on this in a future post).
4. Consumer awareness
Ethical fashion also plays an important role in raising consumer awareness about the impact of our everyday choices. By promoting transparency and accountability in the fashion industry, ethical fashion empowers consumers to make more informed decisions about their purchases.
At Joyasol, transparency is one of our top values and we are committed to looking for more transparency in all aspects of our business. Our founder is a Remake Ambassador and hopes to certify Joyasol as a B Corp in the future.
So, how can you support ethical fashion?
1. Buy from ethical brands
There are many ethical fashion brands that prioritize sustainability, fair labor practices, and animal welfare. By supporting these brands, we can contribute to a more sustainable and responsible fashion industry. Some of our favorite fashion brands include: Christy Dawn, Lem Lem, Doen, Nation LTD, Mate The Label, Amour Vert, and Sézane.
2. Buy secondhand
Buying secondhand clothing is a great way to support ethical fashion. It reduces the demand for new clothing and extends the life of existing garments. Check out your nearest thrift or vintage store for some unique finds! Or check out The Real Real and 1st Dibs for specific designers.
3. Rent clothes
Renting clothing is a growing trend in the fashion industry. It allows us to enjoy new styles without contributing to waste and overconsumption. Our go-tos are Rent the Runway and Tulerie for events and other one time occasions.
4. Educate yourself
Educating ourselves about the impact of fashion on the environment and society is key to making informed decisions about our purchases.
Thanks for taking the time to read about an issue we’re so passionate about. To learn more about our ethical standards visit here.