Today is the age of fashion. We people consume large quantity of cloths per year. American peoples expense for clothing more than our income for a year. Due to increasing demand and to the higher profit resulting from the sale of products with environmental benefit, a new trend is gaining ground, green marketing. In this article, I would like to express that apparel is for life but life is not for apparel.
When people hear the term "ethical clothing", they are not really sure what it means. And really, there isnt a tried-and-true definition of what ethical clothing is. My take on ethical clothing is that it means a lot of things, and its a concept I wanted to explore a bit today. Ethical clothing represents an approach to the design, sourcing and manufacture of clothing which maximizes benefits to people and communities while minimizing impact on the environment. According to Collins English Dictionary "If you describe something as ethical, you mean that it is morally right or morally acceptable."
Again the meaning of ethical goes beyond doing no harm, representing an approach which strives to take an active role in poverty reduction, sustainable livelihood creation, minimizing and counteracting environmental concerns. Basic discussion: We are one large manufacturer of apparel in the world. But the present scenario of this is very miserable. We saw that many workers died in garments industry for violating compliance. We also pollute our environment without any thinking. So, our produced apparel isnt ethically produced. Few days ago we observed an unforgettable tragedy. i.e., Rana plaza collapse.
On 24 April 2013, an eight-storied commercial building, Rana Plaza, collapsed in Savar, a sub-district in the Greater Dhaka Area, the capital of Bangladesh. The search for the dead ended on 13 May with the death total of 1,129. Approximately 2,500 injured people were rescued from the building alive. It is considered to be the deadliest garment-factory accident in history, as well as the deadliest accidental structural failure in modern human history.
Alongside we observed Tajrin tragedy. It crosses the limits of humanity.
At least 120 workers have been killed in a blaze that gutted a garment factory in Bangladesh. The fire broke out late on Saturday in the Ashulia industrial district, just outside of the capital, Dhaka. It started in the cotton warehouse on the second floor of the eight-storey Tajrin garment factory and rapidly spread. Police say about 1,000 workers were trapped inside. 3,000 escaped. Firefighters took nearly five hours to put out the flames and bring down all the stranded workers. To follow this path we should have knowledge about ethical clothing production. Now I would like to discuss about the ethical apparel production. There are three ways of managing the sustainable approach in the ethical production sector.
1. Production design and fabric or raw material selection
2. Selecting retailers
3. Informing the consumers
We should also focus on following aspects.
Increasing the capacity and wellbeing of the people and communities behind fashion. Any fashion business depends on the people behind it. In a broader context, poverty and exploitation of the human workforce behind fashion affects the stability of the industry itself.
Minimizing the environmental impact of all business operations, throughout the supply chain. Creating and acting upon opportunities to reduce environmental issues beyond the immediate operations- such as awareness raising, investment in and support of environmental initiatives.
Without a robust financial business model, none of the above can be achieved. Good intentions without an effective business structure can backfire. A sustainable approach includes quality products or services that meet market needs and demands and are fairly marketed. The work of the Ethical Fashion Forum with businesses is built on these three pillars, and especially with smaller businesses includes elements of commercial and financial business support, in collaboration with partner organizations.
Criteria for ethical fashion:
The Ethical Fashion Forum has drawn up a set of 10 criteria for ethical fashion, to inform the fashion industry's official ethical fashion awards, the Re-fashion awards:
1. Countering fast, cheap fashion and damaging patterns of fashion consumption
2. Defending fair wages, working conditions and workers' rights
3. Supporting sustainable livelihoods
4. Addressing toxic pesticide and chemical use
5. Minimizing water use
6. Recycling and addressing energy efficiency and waste
7. Developing or promoting sustainability standards for fashion
8. Resources, training and/ or awareness raising initiatives
9. Animal rights.
For production of ethical apparel we should also focus on raw material production and sourcing. For instance, take a seemingly benign plant like cotton. Pretty harmless right? Well, cotton farming puts billions of dollars worth of pesticides into the air and groundwater each and every year. These chemicals have been proven to sicken and even kill farmers, especially in less-developed countries.
Here are some other ideas:
1. Avoid plastics whenever you can.
2. Buy organic whenever possible.
3. Recycled or "up cycled" materials lessen the impact.
4. Look for fair trade clothing and accessories.
5. Go with sustainable fabrics like bamboo and hemp.
Its near impossible to wear 100% ethical clothing and accessories all the time. Finally I realized that we can only do the best we can. So, thats what we do here at Earth Divas. We use sustainable fabrics like hemp. We use up cycled fabrics like cotton and silk. We provide our artisans with fair trade, livable wages. And we plan to do more in the future.
Vishnu Pareek is a student of Fashion and Clothing Technology (Diploma) at DKTE Society's Textile & Engineering Institute, Ichalkaranji