BREAKING DOWN THE JARGON
Figure 1: Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
It’s all in the name. Designing, producing and selling products based on fast-moving trends at cheap prices. Big-name high-street brands have perfected the system of bringing runway knockoffs into stores super quick and super cheap. This system results in overproduction, waste and ridiculous pressures on factories to get the good produced on time, often resulting in quality issues and yet more waste down the line.
Unlike the above, slow fashion is a boycott of fast-moving trends. Consumers slow down their consumption by buying less and investing in quality styles. It’s a more considerate approach to fashion, choosing classic pieces for your wardrobe over styles that are out-of-fashion in a matter of months.
Sustainability in fashion refers to practises in the industry, including design, production and consumption, as well as the role of consumers in extending the life of the products. It’s all about respecting the planet and making efforts to limit your impact, whether you’re a brand, business or consumer.
Think of fair fashion like ‘Fair Trade’. The term is used when referring to the people involved down the supply chain. It focuses on fair wages and safe working conditions within factories as well as a worker’s quality of life throughout the supply chain.
Certifications include: Fairwear Foundation, Ethical Trading Initiative, Fair Trade Certified
A living wage is a fair salary or compensation for workers within the supply chain. Calculating a true living wages needs to consider factors such as; nutritional needs, number of dependents, housing costs and education. Committing to a living wage helps protect your workers from poverty.
This one is self-explanatory. We live in an age where move and more people are choosing to life a vegan lifestyle, but it’s more commonly related it to food. But fashion can be cruelty free too!
Prevent animals from suffering by avoiding materials like (list them here)
Certifications include: PETA Approved Vegan, Vegan Society
Having and consuming as little as possible. This isn’t to say ditch that wardrobe now, it’s more sustainable to wear out your clothes – but if you’re not going to wear it then donate it and find a new home. The major principle here is keep it simple!
Certifications include: No certifications for this one but give yourself a pat on the back if you’re a mindful minimalist!
Organic clothing is labelled as such when it’s produced in compliance with organic agricultural standards. Ultimately a garment can be labelled organic if the materials used are grown using natural pesticides and fertilisers rather than with the chemicals used in conventional cotton farming.
Unfortunately, the term ‘organic’ has become a victim of ‘green-washing’ over the last few years, where brands mislead their consumers. Just because a product is organic, doesn’t mean it’s ethical. Without appropriate certification simply labelling clothing as ‘organic’ does not account for added toxins used later in production, nor does it consider labour conditions in the supply chain. It’s important when looking for organic clothing that you check the label, certifications like GOTS consider social and environmental criteria within the standard.
Certifications include: Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Oeko-Tex,
With increased demand for sustainable fashion, we see a rise in brands misleading their customers. It has become common for fashion houses to use sustainability as a selling tool to differentiate themselves in such a fast pace and busy industry without any real commitment. Sustainability isn’t a gimmick, do your research and support the brands who passionate about change.
Transparent like a window. Transparency is publicly sharing your information, giving your customers a window to your world. In fashion transparency is on a spectrum, with some brands being completely open about what they do and others keeping the vault shut.
Circular fashion is trending. Fashion is focusing on waste, with media outlets and brands shining a spotlight on the huge waste problem within the industry. Circularity is a considered approach to design, production and consumption, creating production that can be repaired, reused and eventually recycled, minimising any generated waste.