Eventually, we will all have to implement responsible and conscious consumption into our day-to-day lives. It is a matter of time, where procedures will be taken to educate concerns the current negative impact consumerism has on the planet and its effects on humans. The fashion industry is a major player in how it responds socially and environmentally; it is one of the largest industries where it employs an incredible number of people. And so fashion takes a social responsibility to respect human right practices, but also has an extreme impact on the environment, as it is a highly polluting industry.
If you have started to be conscious in how your consumption impacts the world, and have began to look for ethical and sustainable product alternatives, you will find that it is often difficult to discover good quality designs that are aesthetically pleasing. When we think about ethical fashion we assume basic clothing, usually simply made from sustainable materials; at times with hippie resemblance or bohemian styled. However, with a bit more persistence you can find ethically sustainable products with contemporary and fashionable features.
As the concept of sustainability increases, there are more growing fashion brands with strong focus on ethic and sustainability. Moreover, despite just being emerging conscious brands, they are also developing contemporary, stylish products. Such clothing brands are: Mud Jeans, People Tree, Kings of Indigo, Everlane, Patagonia, Reformation and Kowtow. Eileen Fisher, for example, aims to only use cotton and linen that is organic by 2020, and to decrease fabric and water waste, aiming to emit reduced harmful carbon gases.
When looking to purchase, look out for brand missions and ethos, this way you identify what your purchase will support. If brands are using organic fibres and certified dye processes, then we know that there is reduced water consumption and most likely decreasing levels of harmful toxic gases released. It has also come to attention that businesses need to ensure that their products are traceable with a closed loop system; from initial designs the purpose of the product are identified to its method of being disposed sustainably. For instance, making an organic cotton shirt that after it is worn and passed on to second hand shops, it can eventually be recycled into cotton fibre that can be spun into yarn, and then woven to make a new garment.
Often, we assume that to buy sustainable it would be expensive, but that’s not always the case. It can be hard to find products that tick all the boxes where sustainability is concerned. However, by just considering several focal points you can still be a conscious consumer.
Here are a several points to look out when purchasing consciously:
- Artisanal – supports preserving craftsmanship
- Locally made – reduced carbon footprint
- Sustainable materials – minimal negative impact to the environment
- Workers conditions – avoid exploitation of people producing the products
- Traceability – how the product was made
- Quality – durable material and make
- Timeless design – able to wear or use the product through the years
By just considering a few of the suggestions above in your future purchases, you will start to make a positive difference. It is imperative for brands to be sustainable as we move with time. Knowing it is a step-by-step process, we as consumers need to support these brands. Initially, the options will be limiting but after looking further you’ll find emerging brands with exciting, contemporary products with sustainable and ethical attributes.