ETHICAL FASHION vs SUSTAINABLE FASHION
Ethical fashion and sustainable fashion are 2 words that have been used a lot lately in the fashion for good world.
But what is ethical fashion and sustainable fashion? What do they mean and is there any difference between them?
Although, the terms Ethical fashion and Sustainable fashion have been used interchangeably they have 2 distinct meanings.
Ethical fashion is human-centered: its critical lens assesses how every process in the supply chain impacts garment workers.
Fast fashion has essentially turned what was four seasons in into 52, one for almost every week of the year. So designs go out of style as fast as they come in.
Due to this high demand in the clothing industries, a lot of the big main stream brands end up producing a lot of garments at very low costs.
Leading to the below problems:
- unlivable wages
- child labor
- modern slavery
- forced overtime
- hazardous work conditions
“Fast fashion isn’t free. Someone, somewhere, is paying.”
Ethical Fashion focuses on the well being of the garment workers through every process of the supply chain. For example:
- Are safe working conditions provided to the worker? (Well lit workspace, clean environment, good drinking water, etc.)
- Are fair minimum wages provided to the workers?
- Are fair working hours allotted to the workers?
- Does child labor in any form exist in the process?
Unlike ethical fashion, the term “sustainable fashion” tends to concentrate more on the environmental aspect of garment production.
It examines if the garment creation is done in a more eco-friendly manner to achieve environmental justice.
- Efficient and minimal use of natural resources and energy sources in production
- Waste Reduction: reducing, reusing, recycling, and repairing garments as much as possible
- Reduction of Chemical usage (fertilizers and pesticides used in the production of raw materials like cotton)
However, while many companies have made strides in environmental sustainability, many fall short in supporting ethical practices.
For example, a sustainable fashion company may use organic cotton to reduce harm to the environment; however, if they use child labor to harvest that cotton, it isn’t ethically made.
Brands cannot be truly sustainable unless they’re also ethical, and vice versa.