Responsible shoppingSustainable fashion

What does responsible fashion entail?

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Fashion is certainly a fascinating industry, full of inspiration and providing opportunities for self-expression. Unfortunately, most of us overlook the other face of fashion, which is far less appealing

The textile and clothing industry is currently one of the biggest polluters of our planet. Along with the production of clothes, we release toxic compounds into the atmosphere, pollute water and significantly increase carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, there is the problem of the lack of basic rights for factory workers in Asia

Responsible fashion opposes all of this and calls for conscious change for the better

“Responsible fashion” – what does it mean?

The term responsible fashion is very broad and covers many variables. It’s worth starting with the fact that this concept involves both environmental and social aspects, and that appropriate standards must be met throughout the supply chain.

Most of the clothes available in popular chain stores in Europe are produced in factories in Asia and only then transported and possibly finished in Europe. Responsible fashion implies that from the beginning of fiber production, through fabric making, production and shipment to the target stores, there should be a set of accepted rules that minimize harm to the environment and violations of workers’ rights.

In the process of responsible clothing production, the use of harmful chemicals (e.g. toxic dyes or fabric softeners) is reduced to an absolute minimum, water and energy resources are managed sustainably, and waste is reduced.

It is also extremely important to maintain labor standards such as work breaks, fair wages, safe working conditions, and equality in business relations with all partners. If possible, responsible fashion tries to support the national economy and invest money in the development of the region.

Criteria for responsible fashion

The Buy Responsibly Foundation has identified 8 key criteria that help to better determine the extent to which a brand produces and supports responsible fashion. Here they are:

  1. Use of environmentally friendly raw materials – certified accordingly.
  2. Using recycled materials – by giving a fabric a “second life” we reduce our carbon footprint.
  3. Creating a production as environmentally friendly as possible – this means reducing the use of harmful chemicals, which has a positive impact on the health of employees, customers and the well-being of the planet.
  4. Maintaining fair trade – adhering to Fair Trade principles.
  5. Ensuring labor standards – adhering to conditions set by the International Labor Organization.
  6. Supporting the social economy.
  7. Transparency of the supply chain – giving consumers the right to know about a product.
  8. Locality of production and distribution.

It is worth checking the available information on the websites of specific companies or using ready-made lists of analyses carried out by the Buy Responsibly Foundation

What can you do to buy more consciously?

Environmentally and socially responsible fashion starts at the very first stage – during design and production. These are, in fact, the most important elements that will determine the ecological footprint of a garment. Transparency of the whole process of creating a product is also of no small importance, which includes precise information about the composition of the material used and its place of origin.

It is up to the customer to take a conscious approach to fashion, which means above all not to fuel overproduction. The basic rule of ecological fashion is “buy fewer new products!”. Instead, you can exchange clothes, use the offer of vintage or second-hand stores

However, if you decide to buy a new thing, as a consumer you have the right to demand information about the products you buy – the composition of the fabric, where the raw materials come from, where the clothes are made and the entire transport route.

It is worth choosing brands that are transparent and do not stop at advertising slogans. Responsible fashion also means buying from local producers who support Polish or European sewing plants. At the same time, we reduce the carbon footprint thanks to shorter transport, and at the same time we can count on better quality.

Main photo: Ksenia Chernaya/Pexels.com

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