I’ve only been a part of the ethical and sustainable fashion community for a few months, but let me tell you – even in just a few short months, I was blown away with what I found. It has so much to offer anyone who chooses to step foot inside, and brings many facts and ideas to light. Here are 7 things I learned so far:
1. It is an immensely welcoming and open community.
This just goes to show how working to improve the world can bring people together. I entered into it with very little knowledge and mostly just passion and curiosity, and I’ve had conversations with organizations, fellow bloggers, and business owners, each one of them encouraging and supportive and interested in what I had to add. I’ve watched collaboration form not only for me, but between others as well, and love how everyone comes together to work towards a greater goal.
2. There is ridiculous amounts of information everywhere.
There really is, and all you need to do is get into it a little. Surprisingly, Twitter has been one of the biggest sources of information. If you follow the right people (like those mentioned in #7 on this list) then you will find so many articles and posts and websites that can tell you so much. The only information that isn’t really out there and easily available is the information we want the most: where do large retailers make their clothes? Who makes them, and what conditions do they work in? Are they paid a fair, living wage? (Project JUST is trying to figure this out – check out my post on it here).
3. There is also a crazy amount of vegans everywhere.
Full disclosure here, I’m not vegan, or vegetarian, or gluten-free, or anything along those lines. I love my steak and potatoes and rarely eat my vegetables. Frown upon me all you want for saying that, but I’ve honestly never seriously considered being vegetarian, much less vegan. That being said, my mom is vegetarian so I know that vegetarian food can be absolutely delicious, and just the frequency with which veganism comes up when talking about ethics has got me thinking. Look out for a post about my take on vegan living soon, but for now, just know that regardless of your position on the topic, if you’re talking about ethical clothing, you’ll be hearing a lot about being vegan, too.
4. There are so many angles to approach it from.
When talking about ethical fashion, you can talk about the people who make the clothes. You could also talk about landfills and how much clothes is being disposed of every year. You could talk about the negative effects that the production of clothing has on the environment, or about the many benefits of using organic cotton, or peace silk, or bamboo. I discover new ways to look at the situation regularly, and while this also makes things seem more complicated, it reminds me that people are working on improving the fashion industry from every angle.
5. There are more ethical, sustainable and eco-friendly fashion options than you think.
Yes, for real. Of course there are tons of hippie-like stores that carry sack dresses and those loose pants with elephants printed on them, but I’m not even talking about those. I mean there are really cool stores that are selling clothes that you and I would actually wear out in public. Check out some of my favourite modern ethical brands in this post.
6. But, they are also usually pretty similar.
That being said, if it’s not hippie-styled, its probably quite basic and full of neutral colours and modest, boxy fits. Yes, I like neutral colours, but not everyone else will. Sometimes, I just want to see a skirt or dress that’s on the shorter side. Improvements are being made, but there’s still lots of style expanding to be done.
7. There are certain people who are crazy influential in the field.
After watching a few documentaries and reading some articles, you’ll start to notice that the same names tend to pop up. Livia Firth (pictured above) is the founder and creative director of EcoAge, which introduced the Green Carpet Challenge. Lucy Siegle is a journalist who writes about ethical and green living. Safia Minney, founder and CEO of People Tree clothing label, described as “a fair trade fashion pioneer”. No doubt you’ll hear about them again.
What was the first thing that stood out to you when you started learning about ethical and sustainable fashion? Let me know in the comments below!