how to shop ethical fashion from the comfort of your own home (online)
what exactly is ethical fashion?
To understand what Ethical Fashion is we first need to know what Fast Fashion is in the first place, Fast Fashion is a terrible business practice that not only created a production model where very cheap low-quality garments were made very fast following trends with no regard to the environment and the people, but it has also given more importance to fashion movements that wanted a sustainable fashion industry, one of them is Ethical Fashion, which has actually existed since the 1950s, before Fast Fashion was ever born.
Since then, fashion movements like Ethical, Sustainable and Slow Fashion arose to the surface in one way or another, which is kind of a good thing if we ignore the terrible consequences Fast Fashion has on our world, producing 10% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and 20% of global wastewaters, which you might already know by now but it still doesn’t lose its importance and never will.
Ethical Fashion refers to a fashion movement that searches for garments made with respect to the workers that make them, the vendors and small businesses that play a role in the production process, fair trade, and the ethical treatment of all the agents related to the fashion industry, including the environment. Strongly opposing Fast Fashion and the terrible conditions fashion factory workers have to deal with.
This fashion movement actually started in the 1950s when people began realizing the harsh conditions of textile factory workers and it is not a direct result of the birth of Fast Fashion in the 1990s, nonetheless, this situation has exacerbated the importance of Ethical Fashion. After the widespread of Fast Fashion textile workers have only seen their working conditions get worse and worse, with more inhumane retributions, reaching sometimes modern slavery levels.
So in simple terms, Ethical Fashion focuses on the ethical treatment of humans, and animals to achieve a sustainable fashion industry, with support for small businesses and the development of countries that are right now in unfavorable conditions. If you want to know more about this wonderful fashion movement feel free to check out our articles on The Ethical Dilemma of Fashion or Why Is Ethical Fashion Important?
how to shop for ethical fashion online
There are many options for you to choose from when it comes to Ethical Fashion, and fortunately, almost all of them are available online. And when it comes to online shopping, you have to know a few basic rules so that you know the item you are purchasing is truly ethical and sustainable and it is not only the product of unethical greenwashing. Having said that, here are some key aspects to keep in mind when Shopping for Ethical Fashion online:
- Research the brand you are planning to buy from, if they don’t even have a page talking about their ethical practices in Ethical Fashion garment production, then consider leaving them as the last option. Look into their webpage and how they value sustainability in the fashion industry to know if they truly care about Ethical Fashion or not.
- Buy from brands that ship closer to you, not only will you save some waiting time but also the environmental footprint that transporting those garments leaves. Although it is not always possible to find brands that ship from the same country as you but at least try to keep that distance at a minimum.
- Don’t overpay, if you cannot afford a garment don’t feel bad, you don’t have to force yourself to buy it, rather, search for discount codes and other promotional offers if there are any, and more expensive does not always mean better (although many times it does). Remember, buying a 50% sustainable, ethical fashion cheaper garment instead of a 100% sustainable, ethical fashion more expensive garment is always better than buying a 0% sustainable, ethical garment (In the case you cannot afford the fully ethical garment).
- Don’t look for the country of origin, look for the quality of the working conditions, many keep off garments that are produced in less fortunate countries because they think that the clothing item has been necessarily made in a factory with poor working conditions and inhumane wages, but that is not always the case. There are a lot of instances where factories producing garments in first-world countries have been exploiting their workers and factories in third-world countries have been treating their workers with respect, dignity, and fair wages. Instead of looking at the country of origin, look at the production ethics of the manufacturer, and if they treat their workers right with fair wages, it is even better to buy from the ones producing in developing countries, as you are helping families in the less fortunate countries to develop and to have decent wages to help them feed their families.
- Support smaller brands, you should support smaller businesses for a variety of reasons, first, you will be feeding entrepreneurs that are risking their whole net worth, free time, and independence just to satisfy the necessities of potential customers, secondly, you will be supporting the growth of new startups in the Ethical Fashion industry, which is a great thing, that way those companies can become competitive and productive, creating more sustainable, ethical fashion garments at a cheaper price! (Kind of the same way electric cars are becoming cleaner and more affordable right now). You also have the advantage of having more direct contact with these small business owners and you will surely have a more personalized, pleasant experience than buying from a bigger business.
These are our main 5 tips for buying Ethical Fashion garments online, but there is a lot more you can do. As we always say, you don’t have to go all crazy on Ethical Fashion, with just a few good deeds a day and making some small changes in your fashion habits, you can make a very big difference in the lives of millions of people and the lives of future generations, so when you think that you are not doing enough, think instead how many people you are actually helping not only in the present but also in the future.
best ethical fashion brands / companies to buy from
Fortunately, there are a lot of options for you to choose from when it comes to Ethical Fashion and Sustainable Fashion, unfortunately, there are not as many as we would like and they are not as famous as other not-so-ethical counterparts. The good thing is that all of these brands have their products available on the internet, so it doesn’t matter where you are from, you can purchase their products without problems. Having said that, here are the 6 Best Ethical Fashion Brands you can buy from the internet:
- Finisterre, this brand was started in 2003 in a flat above a Surf Shop, with the intent of creating garments with respect for the people, the environment and the planet, and society as a whole. Its name means „End of the land”, showing the brand’s interest in the sea and waters, and its respect for marine life, fighting the terrible water pollution of the Fast Fashion industry. As of today, this brand is a Certified B Corp, and they have a beautiful user-friendly web page that you can check out from here.
- Patagonia, this is one of the most well-known sustainable fashion brands out there, and it was started in 1973 by Yvon Chouinard, an accomplished rock climber when he began to manufacture and sell his own climbing gear. Although the brand has been in some ugly controversies and legal problems that we will not discuss here, it is still considered an „activist company” that is producing garments with respect for its workers and it aims to be a carbon-neutral company by 2025. In 2012 they became a Certified B Corporation and right now they have a website you can visit from this link.
- Pact Clothing, this online Ethical Fashion store is known for producing high-quality garments that are both affordable and low-impact on the environment. This brand really loves cotton, organic cotton to be precise, and it uses it in every product they have, sometimes adding some synthetic materials to make their garments more comfortable. Some of their products, not all, are certified Fair Trade, which is a great start. Overall, they help developing countries actually develop, and they give their workers living wages and humane working conditions that they need. You can check out their wonderful and minimalistic website right here.
- Everlane, a brand that is known for its transparency policy, has its customers know exactly where its garments come from and how they are made, which, because they are on this list, is with respect for the human lives that are working to produce its products. Everlane was founded in 2010 by Michael Preysman and Jesse Farmer as an Ethical Fashion direct-to-customer business where the products are directly sold to customers without any intermediaries, which lets them cut a lot of costs, be much more productive, and much more transparent about their products and their margins. You can check out their website from this link.
- ABLE, this is an Ethical Fashion brand with a lot of history behind it, its founder, Barrett Ward while living in Ethiopia saw first-hand how extreme poverty forced women to resort to prostitution just to feed their families. Since then, ABLE was born as a brand that aims to end generational poverty, really focusing on empowering women and helping them have a living wage that will keep them off the dangerous streets. All of their garments regardless of where they are produced, in Ethiopia, Mexico, Peru, are made by women with humane working conditions and livable wages that can feed their families and end their generational poverty, creating higher added-value products. If you want to check out their website you can do it from here.
- PLEA, this is our own Slow, Sustainable, and Ethical Fashion online store, and it is the one you are reading this article from right now! We have to give this an honorable mention, of course, and present you with our perks and what we aim for. We are a very young brand started by 4 young teenage entrepreneurs who aim to stop Fast Fashion by doing the best we can to spread awareness and make customers conscious about their fashion choices (That is why you are reading this article right now), and also by providing you with very affordable Slow Fashion, Sustainable Fashion, Ethical Fashion clothes sold using the revolutionary on-demand business model that produces the garments at the time of the purchase avoiding overproduction and stocking costs. We also provide customizable t-shirts and other apparel, and beautiful designs that you will surely love. We highly recommend you to check out our About Us page and even our Shop, or if you would like to read more articles about Ethical Fashion and other related subjects, you can check out our blog.
As you have already seen, there are quite a few options to choose from when it comes to Ethical Fashion, and fortunately, this fashion movement that promotes sustainability in the fashion industry is growing, and we could see more and more Ethical Fashion brands as customers become more conscious about the repercussions their choices have on our planet and society.
how to support ethical fashion at home
We have seen the best ways to shop for Ethical Fashion and the best brands that sell ethical garments online, but there are even some ways to support the movement from your own home, without even having to open your wallet. So without more hesitation, here are the best ways to support Ethical Fashion at home:
- Reorganize your closet, and determine what items of clothing you use and which you don’t use. Then ask yourself if you have too many garments that you do not even need, if your shopping habits are correct or if you are guilty of over consumerism. You can create a capsule wardrobe, which can maximize the potential of your closet and your clothes with what you already own.
- Donate, the best way to get rid of the clothes you do not need, that occupy unnecessary space in your closet without being used is to donate them, giving people in need clothes and using those garments for a good cause. Be careful where you donate them though, as they may end up being sold in second-hand markets (which is actually much better than ending in the landfill but they are not being used for the purpose you thought they would). For more information, feel free to check out Donate Clothe’s webpage.
- Recycle, another great use for your unused clothes is to give them to a recycling center where they will be violently murdered and then reborn into new clothes that people will use in the future without needing to create more materials and potentially contaminate the planet, even more, wasting resources. This is a better option for damaged garments that do not have a long life ahead of them, so you can be sure to not contaminate the planet even further when throwing them in the trash. If you want to know more about this you can check Recycle Now’s webpage.
- Sell your clothes, this is a great incentive-driven way to get rid of the clothes you do not need. You can sell them at second-hand markets or even to your friends, finding people that may want the clothes that you do not need while also making a quick buck off them. Just make sure the clothes you are selling are in a good state or you will e having some angry customers knocking on your door after, which is not ideal. You can also do it online on one of the best marketplaces online, with the most affordable prices for customers, We are talking about Alibaba, you can visit this marketplace from this link (Affiliate link).
- Inform yourself as a customer, we have said it multiple times and we will say it again, the most powerful tool for beating Fast Fashion and reaching a Sustainable, Ethical Fashion industry is knowledge, only when customers become aware of the consequences of their choices in the fashion industry will they begin to change and demand ethically produced garments that respect the environment and our society.
- Spread awareness, we have said before that getting informed as a customer is the most important thing you can do, and it is absolutely true, but the second most important thing is to spread awareness, this is done not only by reading articles about Ethical Fashion and Fast Fashion but by sharing them on social media, talking about the subject with your friends and family and trying to make them aware of the consequences of their choices (without exaggerating of course, if you want to still have friends and family). Doing this is more important than anything else you could think of doing for Ethical Fashion, and it is one of the most forgotten steps of achieving a sustainable fashion industry, sadly.
These were the most important steps you can take to support Ethical Fashion from the comfort of your own home, and the last two are truly the most important steps you can take, which are obvious, you wouldn’t change your fashion habits for the better if you didn’t know that the current Fast Fashion industry needed to change. As always, it is not hard to support Ethical Fashion, and even doing very little every day makes a huge difference to the world.
We hope you have learned a lot today because also did as well. The most important thing is to put all of this information into good practice, which actually isn’t very hard to do, and always remember to inform yourself, reading a few minutes every day on the subject can help you a lot when making future decisions, so don’t forget to do that, and also to spread awareness, of course, these are the two main pillars of achieving an Ethical Fashion industry.
We are thrilled to teach people all around the world 🙂 Also, did you really know what Fast Fashion really is and its terrible consequences for the environment, the planet, the workers, society, and the economy? Do you know exactly what the Slow Fashion or Sustainable Fashion movement is? You should really take a look at these articles about this forgotten and unknown but very urgent and important subject, click here to read „Can Fashion Ever Be Sustainable?”, Sustainable Fashion, Slow Fashion or Fast Fashion 101 | How It’s Destroying Our Planet because knowledge is one of the most powerful strengths you can have, while ignorance is your worst weakness.
We also have a big surprise for you! Because we want to give you the right to know us better, we have prepared a carefully dedicated About Us page where we will tell you who we are, what our mission is, what we do, a closer look at our team, and many more things! Do not miss this opportunity and click here to check it out. Also, we invite you to take a look at our Pinterest, where we will pin everyday sustainable fashion-related content, clothing designs, and other things that you will surely love!