With the rise of conscious consumerism, an array of terminology has appeared to describe thoughtfully produced fashion. But, what do these terms really mean? And what are you actually purchasing when you shop with a label that describes themselves under one of these categories?
Sustainable Fashion, Ethical Fashion, Slow Fashion, Eco Fashion... The list goes on. With many terms to navigate as a consumer, it can be confusing as to what you are purchasing. Does the label consider the working conditions of the garment workers making the clothes? Does the label consider the quality and hand production of the garment? Does the label focus on the environmental aspects of the garment's production? Or does the label seek to consider all of these aspects together?
Sustainable Fashion has been described by the United Nations as fashion production that aims to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs; ie fashion production that aims to protect our earth's finite resources and also to protect the people who make these clothes. Sustainable fashion isn't about solving the fashion industries' problems; instead it actively seeks to keep going, creating as little damage as possible.
Ethical Fashion by definition seeks to do the 'right thing' by considering how the fashion production chain effects the treatment of our people. Ethical fashion does not ignore the planet. It seeks to also minimise damaging relationships with nature.
Slow Fashion speaks against the fast fashion industry by using techniques that celebrate hand produced garments that are designed for longevity. Slow fashion aims to decelerate the pace of the fashion industry, by producing less and wearing more. Activities such as mending and caring for garments are celebrated, which in turn, minimise the effects of the fashion industry on planet and people.
Eco Fashion focusses predominately on the planet by utilising fabrics that have a lesser impact on our environment (such as hemp, linen, bamboo). Fashion labels that align their vales under this umbrella also focus on their own eco processes, such as reducing their carbon footprint.
What is your connection to fashion? Do you feel strongly about one of the descriptions above? Whatever term this may be, how can you begin to shop in line with this value?
"As consumers we have so much power to change the world by just being careful in what we buy" - Emma Watson