Conscious fashion is a way to show support for people working in the clothing industry. It’s about making conscious choices when shopping for clothes, and knowing that the process of producing our clothes has an impact on workers around the world.
Avoid Fast Fashion Brands.
If you care about the environment, then you should avoid fast fashion brands. These companies produce cheap clothes at high volumes, often using sweatshop labour. This means that these companies are not sustainable. Thankfully it’s becoming easier than ever to find ethical clothing in Australia.
So how do we choose consciously? Well first we have to know the difference between shopping with a fast fashion brand vs a sustainable one. One definition of fast fashion is, ‘inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends’, but when you’re in the heat of the shopping moment, how can you tell?
How to recognize a Fast Fashion brand:
You see a massive amount of styles (like thousands) all reflecting the latest trends.
If you notice a garment trend immediately on the shelves after it’s been on the catwalk or in celebrity circles.
A limited quantity of a particular piece of clothing. Even though stock will likely be arriving in store every few days, this is done to create a sense of false urgency with the consumer.
Cheap, low quality fabrics and materials made to only last a few wears and then be thrown away.
Beyond the obvious cheap quality of goods, what else is bad about fast fashion? Next let’s talk about people. Fast Fashion typically manufactures overseas where labour is cheaper and they can get away with avoiding fundamental safety checks and human rights standards. The complexity of the supply chain makes it much less transparent how goods are being produced to the consumer as well. This means there is a human cost for workers operating in dangerous environments, making devastatingly low wages and without basic worker’s rights to protect them. Farmers connected to these manufacturers typically work with toxic chemicals utilising brutal practices that are hugely detrimental to their physical and mental health. So trendy though right?
In 2013 the Rama Plaza clothing manufacturing complex in Bangladesh collapsed, killing over 1,000 workers. The world of consumerism had a reality check on the true human cost of trends you can buy with your loose change.
We. Can. Change. and it’s win-wins all around.
How to spot a Sustainable Clothing brand:
It’s made locally. This is a big one as it’s much harder to disguise poor working conditions and criminally low wages closer to home and without complicated invisible supply chains.
If it’s not made locally, they tell you online where it is made and reveal + take ownership of what conditions are like for their workers and how they’re giving back to the local community.
Take a look at their website and their mission statement. Have they given a lot of time and attention to telling the consumer IN DEPTH about their sustainable practices, how their organisation impacts the planet and how to educate yourself further? Do they submit themselves to trusted sustainability indexes and benchmarks?
It’s made with sustainable fabrics like linen
, organic cotton
or plant leather
(for example cactus leather
). See our guide here
Beware of the greenwashing from fast fashion brands as well. You likely see more recycling schemes and green propaganda to make consumers feel better about their purchase while only contributing to about 0.1% of any actual recycled textile fabric. It’s tricky at first but worth it to educate yourself on what’s on your beautiful body!
Thankfully, more consciously choosing your clothing is proven to be good for your wallet, your stress level, workers, animals and the planet! And the trend is showing staying power with some arguing that Millennials and Gen-Zers specifically have grown too clever for mindless consumerism, forcing brands to show their heart on their sleeve, no pun intended. Sourcing sustainable clothing in Australia and around the world is a phenomenon that is looking like it’s here to stay! Join us in the movement.