Ethical Fashion & Why We Should Care.
The Past and why it's not working anymore.
Traditional fashion has become a sore spot on our cultural evolution, through it’s monoculture of style, its whirlwind collections of trends that date styles in a couple of weeks (fast fashion), and creating excessive waste. The very production processes of fast fashion is appalling in its social and environmental effects.
“Traditional fashion is killing the planet. Every year, the textile industry alone spits out 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gases — more than all marine shipping vessels and international flights combined — and consumes 98 million tons of oil. Textile dyeing is the second-largest polluter of clean water, and on the whole, the apparel industry accounts for 10 percent of all greenhouse emissions worldwide. Worst of all, the clothes produced by this massive resource consumption produces clothes are rapidly discarded: In 2015, 73 percent of the total material used to make clothes ended up incinerated or landfilled, according to a study by the Ellen MacArthur foundation.” https://techcrunch.com/2019/08/03/ethical-fashion-is-on-the-rise/
Documentaries like The True Cost shine a light on how the fast fashion industry depletes the earth’s resources and leverages slave labor to pass on a "cheap" cost to the end consumer. https://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/fair-trade-clothing
So what is ethical fashion?
Ethical fashion focuses on the social and environmental impacts of the production process. Making sure the people making the clothing are paid fair wages and have decent working conditions and that the fabric used has less of a negative impact on the environment than most textiles that are used in fashion.
Here at Zen Nomad we prefer to make our garments locally, and have in-person relationships with our contractors, who are often small business owners themselves. We also like to find and use fabrics that consider the environment. Organic cotton, hemp, linen for not requiring chemicals in the growth process. Tencel eucalyptus tree), modal (beech tree) and closed loop bamboo (not all bamboo is closed loop, we try to use it when we can) for the fact that they are process with a closed loop cycle, meaning that the chemicals used to break down the fibers of the plants to become jersey are contained and reused rather then constantly released to the environment. These are similar in feel to other rayon/viscose textiles, but much more eco friendly in their production. For the pre-dyed textiles we use, we prefer it to be dyed with low impact dyes which means it has been classified by the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 (an international certification process) as eco-friendly. Generally, low impact dyes do not contain toxic chemicals or mordants (which fix the dye to the fabric), require less rinsing and have a high absorption rate in the fabric (~70%). High absorption rates and a decreased use of rinse water create less waste water.
And for our limited edition items https://zennomad.ca/collections/limited-edition we like to go foraging for plant matter like goldenrod, joe pye weed, black walnut, nettle or save food waste such as avocado pits, pomegranate peels, onion peels to dye the fabrics into vibrationally beautiful natural colours.
Ethical fashion matters, because it’s one of the many small steps we can make in living a more mindful life, and having the option to make choices that are better for the people and the planet. Wouldn’t it be nice to feel the good vibes that went into the process of making your clothes, to have a story of where they came from, to know your earned dollars are going into a system that supports the longevity of the planet and it’s resources. We don’t need wardrobes full of mindless amounts of ever rotating styles that we bore of after one wear, the rise of popularity of Marie Kondo https://konmari.com/ proves that we are overwhelmed by this way of consuming. I know I would rather have each piece of clothing I wear have meaning, a story, a unique quality, that weave throughout seasons and time without being dated by trendiness.
If you want to learn more about the effects of the fashion industry a great documentary is
The True Cost of Fashion https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaGp5_Sfbss
Here’s some books that discuss ethical fashion
Magnifeco: Your Head-to-Toe Guide to Ethical Fashion and Non-toxic Beauty
Book by Kate Black http://magnifeco.com/
Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline
Slow Fashion: Aesthetics Meets Ethics by Safia Minney
Wear No Evil: How to Change the World with Your Wardrobe Paperback by Greta Eagan
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