Want to make a positive impact on the world with the clothing and cosmetics you wear? A growing number of people are embracing ethical fashion by switching to brands that that are eco-friendlier and more socially responsible. Here are just a few ways in which you can start dressing more ethically, whether you want to start making small contributions or whether you want to switch entirely to this form of fashion.
Fair trade fashion
Before the World Fair Trade Organisation was established, it was commonplace for large clothing brands to source cheap labour abroad. Factories would often have poor working conditions and children were sometimes employed as labour.
Whilst this still goes on, it’s a lot less widespread now. There are now lots of fair trade clothing brands that ensure that everyone along the supply chain is being paid a decent wage and being given fair working conditions. These are often clearly labelled as fair trade.
A lot of big brands tend not to disclose where their materials and clothing has been sourced from. If you’re unsure, you’re often best doing your research online where you can usually find some information.
Animal cruelty free/vegan fashion
Many clothes contain animal products such as leather, fur, wool and silk. This may involve the slaughter of animals to obtain or otherwise cruel conditions. By opting for clothing using plant-based fibres such as cotton, linen and hemp, or man-made fibres such as polyester and nylon, you can ensure that no animal cruelty was involved. These details can easily be found by reading the clothing’s label in most cases.
A lot of cosmetics also contain animal products such as tallow and lanolin. Fortunately, there are now many types of makeup that don’t use these ingredients such as vegan lip stick and vegan eyeliner. This information is also likely to be detailed on the packaging.
Some people also choose to dress organically. This involves not buying clothing that use man-made polymers or chemicals. This is because such products tend to have a harmful effect on the environment during manufacture. The production of plastic may involve burning fossil fuels and potentially creating harmful emissions. Chemicals such as pesticides used on some cotton farms meanwhile can have harmful effects on the ecosystem, poisoning harmless insects such as bees and butterflies.
There are lots of organic brands out there that refrain from using synthetics and chemicals. Some of these brands are also vegan and fair trade. It could also be worth looking into organic make-up as some cosmetics may contain artificial chemicals – there are organic eyeliners and foundations that can be found online.
Swapping clothes and buying used clothes doesn’t just save you money – it’s also considered a form of ethical fashion by many. Whilst such clothes may be made from unethical materials, acquiring them second-hand means that you don’t have to pay any money to the producer, so you’re not fuelling these unethical brands with an extra income. Recycling clothes also get extra use out of them rather than them simply ending up in a dump – as a result it reduces the negative environmental impact of these clothes.
There are lots of ways to acquire second-hand clothes – you could attend swap events, shop at vintage stores and flea markets or buy these clothes online. You may also be able to recycle clothes in your wardrobe rather than getting rid of them either by selling them on to someone else or repurposing them.
Some fashion brands donate a portion of their profits to charity. Choosing to buy clothing and cosmetics from these brands can be another great way of making a positive contribution to the planet. Such products may have a single ongoing charitable cause that they donate to, whilst other brands may constantly donate to different causes. You can research into this online to find the brands following causes that you personally believe in.