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Ethical Fashion

July 21, 2010

To save earth from global warming,not only we should maintain clean house,industry and related environmental facts, but also we should Go green in our daily wear dresses.

Ethical fashion is an umbrella term to describe clothing made in sustainable ways. In other words, clothes that are stylish but also kind to our ecosystem and the workers who make them. Discover ten fabulous ways to wear ethical clothing.

‘Ethical fashion’ is a subject that has been grabbing the headlines in fashion circuits in recent times. As awareness about the concept is rising, more and more brands are coming up with products that adhere to it, and more and more customers are adopting the same. The ‘Ethical Fashion Show’ that is being conducted every year since 2004 is a step in the same direction.

The concept of ethical fashion is simple. It refers to fashion that incorporates positive ethical practices such as environment conservation, fair trade and fair wages, healthy and safe working conditions for labourers, limited use of pesticides, use of recyclable material, ensuring no harm to flora and fauna, preservation of traditional skills, etc.

‘Fashion is possible even with high ethical values.’

1. Recycled Clothes – Wearing second hand clothing is no longer frowned upon. Even celebrities such as Kylie Minogue have been discovered shopping in charity shops. Buying someone’s cast off could prove a real star in your wardrobe.

2. Upcycled fashions – If you seek an individualist style that saves dye and fabric, look no further than the latest trend, upcycling. Ethical designers are deconstructing existing clothes and redesigning them into totally different styles that are uniquely fashionable.

3. Organic Clothing – Designer and casual clothes made from materials grown on land that has not been sprayed with toxic pesticides or unnecessary fertilizers ensures your clothes do not harm field workers, cause run-off into waterways and is good for ecosystem health.

4. Fair trade fashion – Despite Fair Trade being a well known concept, there is still much to be done when it comes to the clothing industry. Paying indecent wages, unfair working practices and depriving children of a good childhood is not fashionable at all.

5. Sustainable Materials – Pineapple, or pina cloth, is considered sustainable as it can be sustainably harvested. Bamboo is another example. Wearing clothes made from renewable crops has the ability to sustain our fashionable needs without harming the planet.

6. Make It Yourself – MIY is creative, fun and often cheaper than buying off the rail. Making your own bespoke ethical fashions is easy when you consider there are so many sewing or knit courses on offer.

7. Unchained Independents – Rather than buy from a big chain, buying from an independent fashion retailer is the best way to ensure your money supports your local economy. Diversity, not monopoly, is key to sustainability.

8. Swishing Clothes – Swapping clothes at a swish party is a new trend to sweep the nation. It is fun, free and a fabulous way to get new clothes while decluttering your wardrobe of clothes you no longer wear.

9. Slow Fashion – High quality investments is what clever fashionistas wear. By not giving into the temptation to wear the catwalk trends and buy into every fad, you will build a collection that will last for years and will stand the test of time.

10. Cruelty-Free Fashion – Whether you are vegan or not, wearing clothes made from non-animal products is considered an ethical alternative. Whether you invest in Stella McCartney or a vegetable ivory ring, vegan fashion is sustainably stylish.

5 Cheap & Easy Ways to Green Your Wardrobe

Written by Yuka Yoneda

As In habitat fashion editor, I spend a lot of time (yes, a tad bit little longer than is required for my job) perusing through seriously crave-worthy fashions, from the frilly and ethereal, to the haunting and hardcore. That being said, looking at all of these beautiful clothes can be very bittersweet when you’re working with a less than rock star budget. In fact, one of the biggest complaints I hear about ethical and eco-conscious fashion is that it is just too expensive! I definitely acknowledge the fact that buying a lot of these labels is not cheap, but you have to admit that it makes sense that clothing using the latest and most innovative fabrics and paying fair wages to local people would be more pricey. I try my best to save up and buy my favorite eco-chic pieces when they go on sale to support the cause, but who says you need to spend big bucks to rock a look that is both green and cutting edge? Here are 5 easy and super cheap ways to green your wardrobe by using your noggin instead of your benjamins.

5. Flip It and Reverse It

Instead of buying two separate garments, diversify your wardrobe by looking for clothes that are reversible or double duty in some way. Dresses with cute patterns on both the inside and out (like the supercute baby blue number below) are a great example of getting two dresses for the price of one!

4. Call In the Swap Team

Swap meet ups are a simple way to score fresh pieces for the new season without actually having to spend money on them. And since you’re basically trading clothing with other people instead of purchasing new, the whole process is very sustainable. If you’re looking for a swap meetup in your area, Meetup.com is a great place to find one (I recommend the Five Borough Clothing Swap Meetup if you are in NYC), or you can always host your own swap party with your friends! Real Simple has a wonderful guide with everything from how to organize your swap party to what to serve.

3. No One Has to Know That It’s the Same Dress!

In the past, fashion has been all about buying new clothes to keep your look fresh and discarding old ones. But why not revamp what you already have by accessorizing wisely? Take a cue from The Uniform Project, a clever and inspirational website that follows the daily fashion adventures of one girl as she recycles the same little black dress into a new creation everyday for a whole year, and use your imagination to make your own wardrobes staples sparkle again.

2. Threadbangers Unite!

This one is a no-brainer. Sewing your own outfits (especially out of reclaimed fabric from clothing you already have) means that you’re saving energy, materials and avoiding unethical labor. We love Threadbanger for ideas about everything from making a stylish slouchy dress out of old t-shirts to crafting a Balenciaga jumper out of scrap fabric. Need patterns? SANS has some simple and elegant ones for as little as $6.

1. Re purpose What You Already Have

Wait – don’t throw that away! Before you discard old clothes or accessories, consider what other ways you may be able to use them. From transforming tank tops that no longer fit into handy grocery bags to re purposing padded bra inserts as shoe insoles, chances are there are some pretty ingenious ways that you can turn your old junk into something you really need and save some cash while you’re at it!

Reuse & Recycle

Reduce, reuse and recycle – the three r’s that keep popping up whenever eco-consciousness are brought up have a mission. Norwegian designer Veronica Glitsch has implemented this in to her Rethink collection, reusing textiles in combination with organic cotton. Fretex Redesign (an off-spring of the Norwegian Salvation Army) has their own redesign division with among others Liberty in London as a prestige outlet for their wonderful tops, skirts, pillows and warm-water bottle-covers.

But it is one of the big truths of eco-design that prolonging the use of a fibre or a piece of clothing is actually the most eco-conscious thing you can do. The solution (officially endorsed by the Norwegian Government) of burning fibres for energy gives 4,5 kWh. Saving the textiles and giving them new life saves up to 90 kWh (for polyester, for cotton the sum says 65 kWh). Again: Do the math, which is why a second project under SIFO – the National Institute for Consumer Research – alongside the wool project, is underway: Textile Waste as a Resource.

In Norway the reality is that the bulk of clothing sold and bought is sports-related, not fashion. But Norrøna, a family-owned sports brand paves the way in the Eco-landscape. Organic cotton and recycled polyester are two of their staple textiles, but the fact that they generally repair whatever they’ve sold free of charge if it’s a quality-issue, is so the new black and amazing. Stormberg is another company that has implemented what fast fashion companies are dreading – take-back and return-towards-new-purchase.

But then the last and actually most important aspect of sustainability is about longevity. Producing thing that last and where the costumer almost signs a contract to keep on the item, even in tandem with the fashion label. Designer Nina Skarra has a plan to be part of this universe, with her concept of “instant vintage”: Designing clothes that will last … and last and last. Evidently Livia Frith has caught on, and the red carpet is about to turn green, greener by the minute actually.

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