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Fashion is one of the world's leading industries but is it sustainable? Ethical fashion is not only about the materials being used but also about benefiting the people who are involved in the manufacturing of the clothing. I adore clothes, I have a tendency to go for second hand ones personally and tend to hang on to things for years.
It also helps to try and pave the way to lowering climate change as the fashion industry is one of the largest polluting industries on our planet. in fact clothes and textiles are the second largest polluter second to oil! Unbelievable!
We live in a fast-fashion bubble, as consumers we often go for cheaply mass-produced clothing which gets worn once and sometimes thrown out. Sure, some of us try and recycle or upcycle our clothes but not all of us take this initiative - a lot of clothing and textiles end up in land fill. Many big retailers also choose countries where they can pay the workers a very low wage for working their fingers to the bone.
Zero-waste isn't feasible in the fashion industry but there are lots of ways in which some brands are trying to help reduce waste. Cotton is used by almost every single person on the planet. It is a renewable natural resource, it biodegrades and is comfortable to wear.
The growing demand for this material has led to some disasters in drought ridden countries. Even with the negative aspects of cotton it is still one of the best natural fibres. It is grown worldwide and around 250 million people’s livelihoods depend on it. Many of these people live in the poorest areas of the world and growing cotton is a large part of their economy.
India have been producing cotton for thousands of years, it is the second largest producer after China. Farmers in India work with NGOs to help reduce water stress and the amount of pesticides, aiming to create the best practices for responsibly grown cotton, enhancing the rural farming communities’ control on their products and the environment.
How can we help?
Buy clothes that are made from organic, sustainable fabrics - these may be slightly more expensive but much better in the long run. Natural cotton textiles are the most sustainable and are ethically produced in may countries.
Look for clothing that avoids using plastic, including tags, labels and plastic packaging. If we all started taking our own shopping bags out with us and maybe if posted clothing came in paper rather than plastic wrapping that would make a huge difference.
Opt for clothing that is ethically made by people who are earning the living wage. A lot are living in poverty but working all day long to produce the clothes we wear.
Take care of your clothing when washing, reuse and recycle as much as you can.
Try and find out where your clothes have been made, some workers will not have been paid well, pretty much slave-labour.
We can all help, little steps can add to big changes.