The fashion industry has a massive impact on the planet and its inhabitants but unfortunately, most of the clothing that we wear is made from materials that do damage to our environment. These harmful materials include commonly used fabrics like polyester, non-organic cotton, and nylon. If most of the clothing that we wear is made from materials that are damaging the planet, then why do we wear them?
Our current fashion industry has made a shift into what is called “fast fashion.” Fast fashion is when designs move from catwalk to stores as quickly as possible in order to meet more trends. When the demands for new trends increase, designers need to find the quickest and cheapest ways to keep up and unfortunately, this comes at a cost.
Designers are purchasing clothing from companies that operate in low-cost economies where wages are kept low. The manufacturing companies have to cut corners in order to keep getting business from these designers—they pay their workers less than desirable salaries, the working environments aren't safe, and the workers are not being treated fairly.
Another major issue involves the farmers who grow GMO non-organic cotton. They too are being treated unfairly and are being pulled deeper into debt. These farmers have to pay a very high price for seed, while monopolies are controlling the entire industry. Not only are these monopolies hurting the well-being of the farmers, but the fashion industry as a whole is putting our planet at risk. Within the non-organic cotton industry pesticides are widely used, having a negative effect on local ecosystems, soil, and human health.
Fortunately, there are ways that we, as consumers, can shift the fashion trends. Organic and Eco fashion is a more sustainable alternative to fast fashion. Buying from local, eco-conscious designers is a way that we can alleviate these issues.
What is Organic and Eco fashion?
According to the Ethical Fashion forum, “organic fashion refers to clothing and accessories that have been made with a minimum use of chemicals and limited impact on the environment,” and “eco fashion is a broader term used for all clothing, fabrics and accessories that have been manufactured in an environmentally conscious way.”
How does it help the environment?
By choosing eco-conscious fabrics that do not involve the use of harmful pesticides or release microfibers we can lessen the pollution that harms our planet. When we use fabrics that are not eco-conscious, our water becomes toxic and microfibers find their way into our oceans. Because of the small size of microfibers, they are often consumed by small aquatic creatures, causing them to bio-accumulate and be found in other animals higher up the food chain. The pollution in our water causes things like ocean dead zones and the eradication of certain species. By choosing better alternatives we can put a stop to global environmental degradation.
How does it help the people?
Choosing sustainable fashion allows local artists and designers to have careers that support themselves as well as the health of the planet. There are better working conditions, wages, and fair treatment for the people involved with these fashion companies. Supporting slow fashion brings fashion back to a more localized scene and creates jobs that can help Mother Earth and her inhabitants.
How does it help you, the consumer?
You, the consumer, can finally feel positively about your purchases. At the end of the day, you know that you are buying from a local artist who is dedicated to their passion for creating good quality clothing that you will love. These eco fashion warriors are dedicating their lives to better the planet, the fashion industry, and your personal style. By shopping eco-friendly fashion, you are supporting local creators, helping the environment, and wearing amazing clothing that you can be proud of!
**Be sure to get tickets to the Seed X Eat Drink Vegan FASHION + ART SHOW at the Roxy Theater on Wednesday, 5/23/18!