Ethical Fashion

What Does it Mean to Have an Ethical Wardrobe?

January 10, 2019

Ethical fashion. The elusive buzzword (buzz phrase?) that’s on the tip of everyone’s tongues lately. What exactly is ethical fashion and why does it matter to me?

“Ethical Fashion is an umbrella term to describe ethical fashion design, production, retail, and purchasing. It covers a range of issues such as working conditions, exploitation, fair trade, sustainable production, the environment, and animal welfare.”

A quick google search quickly came up with this definition from the Victoria and Albert Museum in the UK which seems to encompass most of the issues as I understand them at this point. There are various ethical issues in the fashion industry, and I’m predominantly focused this year on the issues with working conditions, exploitation and fair trade. That’s not to say that the other issues don’t matter, simply that my heart and pull into ethical fashion is for people trapped in modern day slavery, without compensation or fair wages, or safe working conditions.

Ethical Fashion Blogger by Stephanie

Turtleneck: KOTN (ethically made) $48
Trousers: Poshmark (Thrifted) $30
Booties: Forever 21 (5 years old) $20

Before an item of clothing is ever in our hands, the raw materials are collected, processed, assembled, packaged, shipped and marketed to us, and there are so many points along the way where individuals can be exploited. It’s only been in the last few years that we as consumers have even started to wonder, “Who Made My Clothes?” After the Rana Plaza factory collapse killed 1,127 in Bangladesh in 2013, or the workers who claimed that they had not been paid for their labor at the Bravo Tekstil factory in Turkey in 2016, there has been more conversation around transparency and ethical sourcing, as well as overall “push” for laborers to receive fair and equitable wages for their labor. The problem is that addressing these issues in their countries of origin only isn’t adequate. North Americans is the largest consumers of new textiles, thus creating the demand and perpetuating the supply.

The few sources of data that exist to evaluate brands each step of the way can make you feel incredibly overwhelmed and discouraged. How can we know for sure if something has been produced in safe and fair working conditions, without being fueled by child labor or labor trafficking?

The truth is it’s incredibly hard to know for sure, and that’s coming from someone who spend the better part of 2018 doing the research to definitively say. I’m not going to come onto the scene and say that it’s easy to go against essentially the entire fashion industry, traditional consumerism and to say no to impulse buying, to do your research. I think that’s one of the largest reasons why most people (myself included) might feel unqualified to attempt an ethical wardrobe. It’s not necessarily convenient and it’s not easy to find information.

This is where I hope to come in with this blog. I want to try to show that it’s possible to wear your values on a budget and to provide information and tips that will help others on their journeys. If I can make it even a little easier or more accessible for someone else then I’ll consider this blog a success. I’ll be working to educate myself as much as I can and share my personal experiences and what having an ethical wardrobe means to me.

I’ll be sharing some tips that have been helpful for me starting out my wardrobe in my next blog! I’d love to hear what you’d like to learn more about in the comments!

  • Reply
    Carrin
    January 11, 2019 at 3:05 am

    Great blog Stephanie. Looking forward to learning more about this subject and becoming a more conscientious consumer!

  • Reply
    Eddy
    February 6, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    You’re right, it can be quite difficult to determine if your outfits were sourced and made ethically. Thanks for doing a lot of the leg work and hope to have better clarification on who would be more appropriate to buy from. Include mens clothing too!

  • Reply
    Daniella Ntuen
    February 16, 2019 at 12:30 am

    First time hearing about “Ethical fashion” Definitely need read up this topic. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Stephanie
      February 23, 2019 at 2:46 am

      Thank you for taking time to read! It’s such an important topic and I have so much to learn!

  • Reply
    My Ethical Fashion Journey (So Far) – SECONDHAND STEPH
    June 17, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    […] a few months ago, my definition of an ethical fashion brand meant to me purchasing from a reputable brand that was pro…, with workers receiving a living wage in a safe working environment. Thanks to honest and […]

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