ethical fashion | the ethical dilemma in the fashion industry
what is the problem with the fashion industry?
The fashion industry employs millions of people and feeds many more worldwide, 430 million to be more precise, which is 12.5% of the global workforce available. This is an incredible amount considering that we are talking about only just industry, but it also has many problems that we will discuss right now.
The fashion industry today has been taken over by Fast Fashion, a terrible business model that is ruining our planet, but we will focus on that later. Basically, this gigantic industry is responsible for a great amount of the world’s pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and it is not changing anytime soon, sadly.
Not only that, but its unproductive factories are not only polluting our waters, air, and lands, but it is also using very cheap and inhumane labor, sometimes reaching modern slavery, from less fortunate countries that do not have the resources to care for the welfare of its citizens. This has led to a humanitarian crisis that is affecting the lives of millions of people who are working in terrible conditions without any livable wage.
Overall, the fashion industry has only gotten worse in the last decades thanks to the rise of Fast Fashion and other terrible practices in the industry, and the only chance to change it is the fashion movements like Sustainable or Ethical Fashion, which we will talk about later.
So the next time you buy a cheap garment from a famous Fast Fashion corporation, think about how much suffering and ecological footprint has gone through just to make that low-quality item that you may not even need in the first place.
what is fast fashion?
Fast-Fashion can be referred to as a business model that quickly turns trends into clothes using very short manufacturing cycles with no regard to the environment, the people, and the society. This completely unethical business model has changed the Fashion Industry for the worse, making it a lot more polluting and dangerous, now producing 10% of the total greenhouse gas emissions and 20% of wastewaters thanks to this new production model.
We have to say, there is no „fast fashion book”, and this terrible practice comes in many shapes and forms, but they all have many things in common and that’s why they are all gathered around this term. But the real consequences are undeniable, fashion workers are more exploited than ever, and its low-added value industries are not even contributing to the development in the less fortunate nations in the way that they should to at least assure that they will ever develop.
All of this is done just with the intent to get the freshest styles into the market that will keep customers buying more and more while tragically disposing of the clothes they do not use, clothes that usually do not last a lot of time because of their low-quality materials, that is why Fast Fashion clothes are also extremely cheap because they outsource all of those costs to the environment, the workers and ultimately you, the customer.
This business practice has a lot of terrible consequences and it is undeniable that it has changed the industry only for the worse, and it should be stopped as fast as possible to avoid future permanent damages to our planet and society, so if you want to dig deeper into this subject, which has a lot to be talked about, feel free to read our article is fast-fashion a social issue?.
what is ethical fashion?
Fast Fashion 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 also gave 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 may 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.
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 Fashion Initiative or Why Is Ethical Fashion Important?
the ethical dilemma in the fashion industry, can it ever be resolved?
The dilemma we are talking about is between Fast Fashion and Ethical Fashion, or any other sustainable fashion movement that promotes sustainability and humanity in the industry. You may ask, what is the dilemma? Fast Fashion is literally destroying our planet and using forced labor to produce its garments, why would anyone support it over Ethical Fashion? That is what we will going to explain in a second.
Fast Fashion is still popular for a reason, it produces very cheap garments that although are very low-quality, making you constantly buy more and more clothes, are very attractive to customers because of their price and the psychological effect it gives some buyers when they purchase a new product.
Not only that, but surprisingly and very sadly, most people do not even know what Fast Fashion is, why it is so bad for the environment and for our society as a whole, what is Sustainable or Ethical Fashion… Nothing, because unfortunately we live in a society where watching dumb TikToks is more important than literally the survival of our own society and the planet we live in. And the real problem is that if no one knows there is a problem this big, Fast Fashion is never going to be stopped, Ethical Fashion will reamin unknown, and the Fashion Dilemma is never going to be resolved.
We also have to keep in mind that these movements that promote sustainability in the fashion industry, like Ethical Fashion, are relatively very new and do not have so much support and resources to produce garments effectively and efficiently, so for now as customers we have to pay a higher price, which is actually called the fair price of the garment, than Fast Fashion, who sells garments at a lower price than its fair price because it exploits its workers and destroys our environment.
So in reality the ethical dilemma with fast and ethical fashion is that the industry has to change, urgently, or we will have permanent damages that we will regret for generations to come, but the problem comes when customers are not even aware there is a problem, so our possibility to change things are extremely reduced. The only possible way to solve this is by spreading awareness and educating ourselves as customers.
In conclusion, we hope you have learned a lot about Ethical Fashion and the industry’s dilemma today because we did as well. The important thing is, as we said, to educate ourselves as customers and to spread awareness to the people we know because only then we will have the force necessary to overthrow Fast Fashion and achieve a sustainable and ethical fashion industry that respects our planet and people.
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?”, 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!