the fashion industry [fast fashion]
The clothing and fashion industry makes up a large portion of the economy and our budgets. We now live in a world with over 7 billion other people. That’s a lot! Think about each of those people owning a pair of pants, shoes, and a shirt. That is 21 billion articles of clothing in the world and we all know that even some of the poorest areas of the world still own more than 3 articles of clothing. Since the industry is so big, it is also one of the largest contributors to environmental destruction, poverty, worsening economies, job loss, and harmful chemicals that end up in our daily lives. There is a lot that needs attention in the industry…....
water use :: The fashion industry uses and wastes an insane amount of water which is very bad, especially when water is a finite precious resource. That water could be used for more essential things, like drinking, bathing, and growing food.
carbon emissions :: There are numerous moving parts of the manufacturing processes, and all sorts of transportation that our clothing and products go through before they end up in your hands. This uses lots of energy and emits large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. As demand increases for cheap clothes, so does the need for more factories. Large manufacturing countries such as China and Bangladesh have nearly no emission regulations which has unfortunately led to a very steep increase in air pollution.
labor conditions :: Jobs in the fashion industry are very sought after, but do we think about the positions at the bottom of the totem pole? We’re not talking about the fashion intern that has to get the designers coffee, we’re talking about those that work in the factories that make the clothes. A large majority of workers in the fashion industry across the world face a daily grind of excessive hours, forced overtime, poor health, exhaustion, sexual harassment, denial of trade unions, poverty wages, lack of job security, and mental stress.
waste :: In the current industry, it is common for “great” fashion finds to be cheap in cost to consumers because they are made so poorly that they are not made to last for more than one season. When this happens, items are quickly making their way to the landfill.
chemical use :: In 2012, Greenpeace’s Detox Campaign exposed many clothing companies and the harmful chemicals that were found in their clothing. Out of 141 items of clothing from 20 different brands, they found high levels of toxic phthalates, azo dyes, and nonylphenol Ethoxylates that all release cancer-causing amines. (Greenpeace) Not only are these chemicals contaminating our waterways and vegetation, they are also causing cancer and disrupting hormones.
economy :: These days, shoppers are reaching for what is cheap. In order for companies to be able to sell their products at such a low price, they have to pay their workers extremely low, almost always, unfair wage. Many companies have to take their manufacturing overseas so they can get cheap labor. By paying workers unfair wages, it is creating more poverty.
“Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”
Ethical fashion is a fairly new, but essential term hitting the fashion industry. Many people are using the term along with others like it: sustainable fashion, eco-fashion, kind fashion, and slow fashion. At day 22, we prefer to use ethical fashion because we feel that is embraces a more comprehensive set of criteria. For example, a product can be made in the United States or made with sustainable materials, and a company can give to charity, but if a brand has not demonstrated their responsibility to protecting human rights then it cannot be considered ethical.
We have carefully chosen 10 criteria that we feel encompass ethical fashion. Each of our products has to meet one or more of the following criteria. We feel its important that you know exactly what you are buying.
charitable :: By purchasing these products, a portion of the proceeds are donated to various charities. [Different for each product and noted on the products page].
fair trade :: Products were made by artisans and workers employed in developing countries that are given sustainable employment opportunities which has the potential to permanently lift people out of poverty. It is a great way to preserve local textile and crafting traditions. Fair Trade is a much more sustainable and longer term model than direct aid.
handmade :: These products get extremely personal because they help connect the things we wear with the people who made them and illuminates an appreciation for the craft and artistry.
non-toxic :: Contain no harmful chemicals.
organic :: Made with organic cotton.
recycled :: Made using salvaged, reclaimed, vintage, re-purposed, or upcycled materials.
sustainable dyes :: Products are treated with natural, botanical, or AZO-free dyes.
sustainable materials :: Made using high-quality natural fibers and materials that are sustainable and responsibly harvested. The natural fibers must be renewable and biodegradable.
USA made :: Made and manufactured in the United States by workers that work in a good environment and are compensated fairly.
vegan :: These goods are strictly animal-free. Many are becoming increasingly aware that the well-being of the planet is linked to the well-being of the animals that inhabit it.