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Sustainable and Ethical Fashion: What Does It Actually Mean?



Having a responsible attitude towards fashion means weighing the pluses and minuses of each brand or material (because let's say it right away, there is no perfection) and making the choice that suits us the best. But to do that, you must first have taken the time to check yourself, and not just buy blindly. There comes the aspect of responsible fashion

Responsible fashion is a sum of positive values.

Fashion, basically, is made to do good. It makes you look beautiful, keeps you warm, and expresses your personality. But fashion is not just such a trivial factor, and when you do it right, it can even contribute to great things!

According to the fashion experts, responsible consumption is a mode of consumption that takes into account the criteria of organic and sustainable development, that is to say, consumption that is respectful of the environment, beneficial for the economy (especially the local one), good for health, but also positive for society. The journey of sustainable fashion started with this concept in mind.

Responsible fashion encompasses a lot of different concepts.

We sometimes talk about ethical fashion, and other times of sustainable fashion, eco-responsible fashion, circular fashion, slow fashion, fair fashion, and more. But it is the tendency of many to confuse one with the other. (ref.)

Several of the qualities of these aforementioned fashion trends may follow the same process, but a good brand is always specific on the line of fashion it follows.

So let's quickly explain what is what:

Ethical fashion

The term ethical fashion is, in a way, a synonym for responsible fashion, but less attractive as a term. It's pretty traditional, but when you read "ethical fashion," the majority of people tend to take it as "ethnic fashion" because "ethnic" is the nearest letter. With that, it is also true that a few years back when ethical fashion was not well known, the collective unconsciousness of the fashion lovers did not give it the aura that this expression deserved.

Ethics means demonstrating morality and deontology. A blind and unconsidered action does not fall under this category. Ethics drive you to ask yourself if what you are doing is right and reasonable concerning your environment.

In fashion, that means considering about the adequate working conditions for textile workers (both for building security, schedules, remuneration, respect for their rights, etc.), respecting animal welfare, making sure to limit its environmental impact, ensuring to charge a fair price also for the consumer, arranging to make a quality product, etc. (ref.)

It is vital that if certain brands manage to combine several of these values ​​and strive for perfection, they can be qualified as ethical. But they have only developed one axis of the value. The other part is to make it attractive to the customer base.

Sustainable fashion

Equivalent to eco-responsible fashion, the concept of sustainable fashion stays linked to climate change. It is about preserving resources and limiting their use to avoid waste. This trend also places the responsibility for sustainability in the hands of the consumer where they have to take care of the clothes, repair them, choose barter, go second-hand and ensure the recycling of the clothes. The idea is to consume less but consume better. 

There is no single ethical fashion

Ethical fashion has no single definition. It would rather be a suitcase word into which many practices enter. Besides, it is not always called ethical fashion. It is referred to as Eco-friendly fashion, eco-responsible fashion, slow fashion, or conscious fashion also.

Why that? For 20 or 30 years, the design and manufacturing processes of fashion have become extremely complex. It has reached that point today where the big (and less big) brands are incapable of knowing and mastering their entire production chain. Manufacturing of garments has become a vast nebula, a giant that survives and grows thanks to the context of nuclear responsibilities. Undoing this incredible ball of knots is very complicated. There are many aspects to tackle, also many knots to untie. (ref.)

On the other hand, the reality of our world is complex. The butterfly effect exists entirely in fashion; a decision made in one place can have unexpected impacts on the other side of the planet. Nothing is simple in fashion, even less in ethical fashion.

Faced with such complexity, there is no global solution, but thousands of local solutions. VANYYA takes this challenge and so they are developing incredible resources of imagination and innovation to provide their solution around India. These endeavors are sometimes small, sometimes notable. But they always go in the same direction: that of a less destructive fashion for man and the environment. It carries the message of green fashion at every level of its activities. The platform is engaging the local weavers, textiles producers, metal workers and carpenters, local gatherers and many artisans and artists across the states, making their efforts fruitful, and helping them reach the broader market base.

To close this article, which is a long one truly, it is essential to specify that the environmental impact of our clothes continues after the purchase. The wash-dry-iron cycle represents almost 40% of the environmental impact of a t-shirt! So continue to take care of your clothes after purchase, wash them consciously, and recycle them when you can no longer wear them. Read more of our discussions on ethical fashion at VANYYA.

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