Ethical Fashion: How to Make a Difference

Fast fashion is not a new problem, but it’s one that needs constant vigilance if we’re to reduce the damage done to the environment and the many human rights abuses perpetrated by major textile manufacturers. Fast fashion brands such as Zara, H&M and Topshop have been at the forefront of this trend and have been accused of turning fashion into a “throwaway commodity.” There have, however, been attempts in recent years to kerb this effect and move create a more sustainable industry as H&M’s sustainability managers explained to Dazed. But the first step to changing an entire industry predicated on seasonal trends is awareness, and, like most movements, this occurs at a grassroots level with ordinary consumers and customers.

Fashion bloggers possess the means, the reach and the target audience to make a difference in this regard. Bloggers are great at creating a following, sharing their passions and getting people to really listen to what they’re thinking. They can take their readers on a journey and get them behind their key passion causes.

If you’re passionate about changing fast fashion norms to slower fashion ideals then there is definitely still space in the market for bloggers with a passion for fashion and giving more meaning to an industry that is consistently seen as a bit of frivolity.

With web hosts making it easier than ever to build a unique platform on which to blog, this is good news for those wishing to speak out against and raise awareness about unethical fashion practices. A good example of this is Conscious & Chic, which helps shoppers find affordable, but ethical, fashion. The Discerning Brute is another blog, albeit from a masculine slant, that puts together monthly collections of outfits sourced from designers and organic and vegan-friendly products.

The flip side of this, however, is that a lot of bloggers perpetuate the culture of fast fashion by constantly advertising new pieces and perhaps even inadvertently heralding in faster trends. After all, the readers of blogs are directly influenced by the content they consume, and if everyone is blogging about new outfits and trends whilst decrying old ones, it follows logically that their followers would do the same.

Of course, another option is to support those manufacturers who practise ethical manufacturing: using textiles from sustainable sources, paying workers fairly, and offering safe and comfortable working conditions. At the moment this practice is more expensive, but the quality of clothes will undoubtedly be higher, meaning the longevity achieved is greater and you’ll be able to keep your clothes for much longer.

A number of these include:

  • ASOS – the e-commerce giant is a surprising candidate here. But they have what’s labelled as a “green room” which showcases a range of ethically conscious brands.
  • Minna – expanding into a market notorious for single usage garments, Minna creates wedding wear out of organic, recycled and locally produced textiles.

Perhaps the easiest way to reduce the effect of fast fashion is for each individual to kerb their own buying habits. Purchasing second-hand and vintage jewellery or clothing is an ideal way to find quality garments at affordable prices whilst reducing the need and demand for new clothes to be produced. Not only this, but your pieces will look stand out among a torrent of conventional garments, and create a statement that is as unique as it is ethical.


-- Editor-in-Chief SLiNK Magazine