Sustainability is one of the biggest conversations happening in the fashion industry today. Though there’s one subject we’re not talking about enough: ethical fashion. It’s not just about the materials we use. It’s also about how we make our garments. At Especia, our mission is to create ethically made clothes that are both sustainable and reflect our values as a brand.
When we design our swimwear or our ‘little girls’ collection we always stop to think about sustainability and ethical fashion. We want to encourage our community to do the same. Making the fashion industry more ethical requires everyone to work together and make small but impactful steps towards a brighter future.
Ethical fashion involves everything from the design process to the supply chain and how products are marketed or sold. It deals with issues like fair trade, protecting the environment, and animal welfare. Here, we’re sharing insights into why ethical fashion is important to the Especia team. We hope you feel inspired to consider where your clothes come from and who made them.
What you need to know about ethical fashion
“Fast fashion” is a term that describes the phenomena behind ever-changing fashion trends and the demand for cheaper clothing that is here today, gone tomorrow. As a population, we were buying 60% more clothing in 2014 than in 2000, and, thanks to social media, the fast fashion industry is constantly growing.
We often think of the environmental impact of fast fashion, but the human impact is just as serious. The fashion industry uses 1.5 trillion liters of water every year to produce clothes. For perspective, 750 million people live without access to safe drinking water. India is a country where this is becoming a significant issue since 85% of the water needed for the entire population is used to cultivate cotton.
When we think of ethically made clothing, it’s not just about the people that make your clothes. It’s also about the communities they live in. There are more than 2,000 different chemicals used in the fashion industry, but only 16 of these are approved by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). In China, 80% of the water from major river basins is “unsuitable” for humans due to the pollution of these chemicals and dyes.
When discussing ethical fashion, you want to have a wide-eye perspective and consider everyone impacted by the industry. Our focus as a fashion brand is to develop ethically made clothing with fair and local production practices.
Ethical production and supply chains
One of the worst sides of the fashion industry is the human element behind fast fashion. In some developing countries, garment workers are effectively doing slave labor to produce clothing at a wage that is significantly below the living standard. 80% of the textile workforce are women, many of whom are exploited by factories and textile producers.
Forty million people in the world are believed to be victims of modern slavery. Garment workers are the backbone of the supply chain, and they deserve to be paid a fair and liveable wage. In extreme situations, we’ve even seen garment workers die as a result of unsafe working conditions. In 2013, over 1,100 people were killed when a factory in Bangladesh collapsed.
Ethically made clothing means paying garment workers and farmers a fair wage, giving them a safe working environment, and respecting their human rights. At Especia, we are passionate about working with local partners to lower our carbon footprint and become as ethical as possible. Our clothes are priced to ensure that we pay our workers a fair wage.
Why do we use natural fibers to produce ethical fashion?
At Especia, we produce ethically made clothing with natural fibers instead of synthetic textiles. These materials are a sustainable alternative to synthetic fabrics, creating a lower carbon footprint. When we think of ethically made clothing, it also includes animal welfare and looking after the environment.
Synthetic clothing is made using by-products from petroleum, meaning that they are non-biodegradable and often end up sitting in landfills. An estimated 70 million barrels of oil are used every year to produce polyester, with crude oil being a natural material that requires excess energy to produce. Crude oil causes irreversible damage to marine wildlife while producing high levels of carbon emissions.
Additionally, synthetic materials like polyester are made up of thousands of microfibres. These millions of microplastics end up in our oceans and water systems, killing biodiversity and entering the water supply. 35% of the microplastics in our oceans come from synthetic materials.
At Especia, we believe the future of the garment industry should involve sustainable and ethical fashion. Visit our Sustainable Clothing edition.
What are your thoughts on ethically made clothing? Is it a deciding factor when shopping for new clothes? Please share your thoughts on social media, and make sure to tag us at @especiaofficial and use the hashtag #EspeciaMuse!