Worth knowing about Fair Fashion. What is Fair Fashion, why it matters and what you can do.
What is Fair Fashion?
Unfortunately, one hears all too often about the bad working conditions that prevail in the production of clothing. There are millions of people in China, India, Bangladesh and many other countries working for a pittance all day in very poor conditions.
It is clear that this problem needs to be tackled. In recent years, some potential solutions to the problem have been found. One solution that has even become a trend is fair fashion. In this article you will find everything worth knowing about Fair Fashion.
Fair Fashion is a fashion trend that has grown in recent years. Unlike the vast majority of fashion trends, however, it is not material. Behind the trend is the idea of buying clothing that has been proven to be produced under good working conditions. In this way, many people try to fight against the mostly bad working conditions in the fashion industry.
The three main features of Fair Fashion are sustainability, ecological production and fair production.
The main features
Sustainability in this context means that the resources for clothing production are not exploited but used in a planned manner. Sustainable resources are those that will regrow when deliberately degraded. For example, wood is a resource that regrows. However, if you cut down the forest completely no trees can regrow.
Organic production means that clothes are made in factories that pollute the environment as little as possible. For example, less bleach or other chemicals are used in the production of Fair Fashion. If these chemicals get into the environment they can cause great damage. It is not just the factory that cares about the environment but the entire production process.
Finally, the fair production is still missing. Fair in this context means that the workers in the factories are treated fairly and paid. Specifically, this means that people get enough pay. In Bangladesh, for example, the minimum wage covers 60% of the cost of living in a slum. Slums are the worst neighborhoods in a city where people mostly live in self-built huts and struggle daily with crime.
The most important thing is that human rights are respected. Factories that allow their workers to work without breaks for over 12 hours a day disregard human rights.
Unfortunately, many factory workers suffer from the many chemicals that you need to handle unprotected in the factories. This can have consequences for the entire life. In many cases, the lungs of the workers are so damaged by the chemicals that you have breathing problems for the rest of their lives. Not only illness but also accidents are the order of the day in these factories. Not infrequently, people die as a result of unsafe working conditions.
In addition, care is taken that no child labor is used to make the clothes. Child labor is a big problem in the third world as families often have to have their children work to earn enough money to survive. The fair wage helps fight child labor. Technically, child labor is banned in most countries, but laws are not implemented in these countries. It is estimated that about 11% of all children in the world have to work.
How did Fair Fashion come about?
Fair fashion has its origins together with the environmental movement and is still closely linked today. The book of Rachel Carson „Silent Spring“ came on the market in 1962 and drew the public's attention to the pollution stemming from third-world garment factories.
In the 80s, the first big companies began to include something similar to Fair Fashion in their range. Esprit and Patagoni, today Patagonia, were the first. The two companies tried to use raw materials sustainably in order to reduce the damage to the environment. Thus, the two companies fulfilled one of the three main features of Fair Fashion.
In the 90s and 2000s, the idea of Esprit and Patagoni was taken up by more and more brands. Many brands started to make their clothes more sustainable than they did before. Unfortunately, the big companies could not fully implement this. To date, large companies are trying to produce more sustainably, but this is very difficult for large companies because there is far too much to monitor.
Fortunately, with the advent of the Internet, a solution to this problem has been found. Everyone could offer their fair fashion online as they wish. Since then, eco-conscious shoppers can easily buy real fair fashion online and do not have to rely on the half-hearted attempts of the big corporations.
What should you do as a consumer?
You yourself can make a contribution to reducing the bad working conditions and the exploitation of resources. The best thing is, of course, if you buy Fair Fashion then you can be sure that no one is being exploited in production. But there are other things you can do.
When you buy clothes you should pay attention to seals. There are seals for different things. For example, there is the GOTS and the IVN Best Seal. The GOTS seal stands for the fact that clothing with these seals consists either of recycled fibers or of natural fiber. The IVN Best Seal is the strictest seal that exists today. Unfortunately, this is rare to find. If you find clothes with the IVN Best Seal, you can be sure that you can buy them without hesitation.
Other seals show that the clothes were made with "Fair Cotton", ie fair cotton. This means that the cotton used for production is fair trade.
Yet other seals stand for better working conditions. For example, the Fair Wear Foundation seal. The FWF is more of an association than a seal, as all members commit to respecting social standards and paying their employees fair wages.
You should also pay attention to use clothes until it stops. Many people have a lot of t-shirts and the like in the closet that you do not even wear anymore. Instead of throwing away the t-shirts or leaving them to give away the clothes or donate them. Thus, the already produced T-shirts are used as long as possible and the resources of the world are spared. Before buying a new garment, think about whether you will really make good use of it.
Even when washing your clothes, you can be careful to be sustainable. Washing clothes consumes electricity and water. It is best to wash your clothes only when necessary and only if you get a full washing machine to save electricity and water. In addition, you should wash normal laundry at 30 degrees, as this is then already clean and uses less energy.
Problems with Fair Fashion
Fair Fashion is a very noble idea, which is always better implemented. Unfortunately, there are a few fair-fashion issues that can definitely be tackled in the future.
The so-called Greenwashing is a tactic of many large corporations in which you market your clothes as sustainable. This may be true to some standards, but working conditions, child labor, fair wages and the environment are not respected. Many consumers believe such advertising blind and do not continue to inquire about the clothes.
Organic cotton is often used as a manufacturing material for Fair Trade Fashion. The problem is that this cotton accounts for less than 1% of world cotton production. Organic cotton is more expensive to grow and produces less cotton than normal cotton plants do. This means that farmers earn less money with organic cotton and therefore do not want to grow it.
Many people believe that it makes more sense to buy clothing that has been produced in Europe so that people in the third world are not exploited for production. The problem is that factories in the third world are often the only employers in the region, and people there rely on factory work. When demand from Europe falls, people are laid off there. Unfortunately this is a very complex problem.
Fair fashion is one of the important steps in the future. People need to make sure that everyone in the world is doing well and not just themselves. People who buy Fair Fashion pay attention to protect the environment, pay the workers fairly, and work in good conditions.
Consumers can do a lot to support the fair fashion industry. In addition to buying Fair Fashion, you can pay attention to more seals and make sure that you use less electricity and water while washing.
There may be a few issues with fair fashion, but that should not stop you from buying genuine fair fashion brand clothing.