The terms ‘ethical fashion’ and ‘sustainable fashion’ are often used interchangeably within eco-friendly clothing,and have become increasingly talked about within recent years as more importance is placed on alternatives to fast fashion and the often questionable practices that are involved within that industry; whilst there are very key links between these two factors, however, there are substantial differences between them, too, so it’s important to understand what each means when you’re looking into purchasing more eco-conscious clothing.
What is Ethical Fashion?
Ethical fashion is, simply, practices within the fashion industry that focus on the people making the clothes you wear. As we mentioned in our ‘What Makes a Clothing Company Sustainable?‘ blog post, there can be some serious issues around how workers are treated within the garment industry; from unfair pay to unsafe working environments, the garment and fabric industries are the most likely to result in unfair treatment for workers, so companies that put a focus on providing ethical fashion are often looking at ways to ensure every individual involved with making their products is treated fairly, paid well, and has access to the proper levels of care.
Nonprofit organisations such as The Fair Wear Foundation are a great source of information on the fair and ethical treatment of workers within the garment industry – you can read more about them in our blog post, here.
What is Sustainable Fashion?
Sustainable fashion is slightly different to ethical fashion in that, where ethical fashion focuses on the people at the heart of the garment and fabric industries, sustainable fashion focuses on the environment which is impacted – how the garment and fabric industries impact the environment. This aspect of the fashion industry prioritises combating the rise of ‘fast fashion’, by creating more sustainable, eco-friendly options that are both durable and made with more sustainable materials than traditional ‘fast fashion’ choices.
As we mentioned in our ‘Eco-Friendly Fabrics’ blog post, choosing organic fabrics which don’t utilise pesticides or harsh chemicals during the fabric-making process is often the best way to ensure you’re utilising a sustainable clothing choice, so doing your research in this area is wildly important.
Ethical vs. Sustainable Fashion
So, now that we’ve established the differences between both ethical fashion and sustainable fashion, it could be easy to try to prioritise one over the other, but often, these two key pillars of the fashion and garment industry are intertwined; in making working conditions more tolerable for those employed by factories, it’s vital that we are also making conditions more tolerable for the earth as a whole. They’re both considerations that we should be thinking about, as eco-conscious human beings, and as human beings who care about both the individuals and the people who are creating our products.
That’s why it is important that your shopping habits reflect both an ethical and sustainable concern, and why you need to constantly research the brands you’re buying from, if eco-friendly brands are your priority.
It’s very important to take both ethical and sustainable considerations into account when you’re looking to make your clothing choices more eco-friendly, for different reasons – they’re both areas of concern when it comes to ‘fast fashion’, and when you have a concern for the humanity involved with local garment and fabric industries.
What’s imperative in shopping for more eco-friendly brands is doing your research – that’s why, at RAINE Clothing, we try to be as transparent as possible about our practices and what it takes to make our clothes.