sustainability

The Basics of Ethical Fashion

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There is growing interest in the sustainable fashion space, especially as more and more consumers become conscious of environmental issues.

While many different companies share the same overall priorities, it’s important to distinguish between different types of fashion businesses, ranging from those focusing on reoccurring subscriptions to luxury consignments. This article will cover everything you need to know about sustainable fashion in order to make better informed decisions for your future and your wardrobe.

What Is Ethical Fashion?

In general, ethical fashion companies create and design their clothing while thinking about the impact they have on their environments and communities. This includes concerns from animal and human welfare to the health of our environment.

As more brands begin to take ethical principles into account, it will become the norm to find ethically produced clothing. Currently, different companies are using various practices to produce their clothing, and consumers who want to be informed need to understand these distinctions.

Sustainable Fashion

Sustainable fashion is designed with primarily environmental needs in mind, and sustainable fashion brands attempt to minimize their environmental impact. They’ll use sustainably sourced zippers, buttons, threads, fabrics, and more.

Many companies are also beginning to consider the end of their clothing’s lifespan in order to reduce the waste. Every aspect of the life cycle is being examined and optimized in order to allow for the most sustainable production practices possible.

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Sustainable vs. Ethical Fashion

Sustainable and ethical fashion companies share many of the same goals, but they often use different approaches and shouldn’t be used interchangeably. Just because an article of clothing was ethically produced doesn’t necessarily mean that it was sustainably produced.

Some ethical fashion brands focus on human rights or other non-environmental concerns, so ethical and sustainable don’t always mean the same thing. Similarly, sustainable fashion brands may not produce their clothing with principles like human or animal rights in mind.

Is It Possible to Support Ethical Brands?

Unfortunately, consumers often have to make difficult choices in today’s fashion landscape. The most affordable and popular clothes often come from obviously unethical brands, and even those that take ethical considerations into account aren’t always created equal.

Sometimes there’s simply no way to support every worthy cause in the same purchase, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the effort. You’re making a difference every time you support a sustainable or ethical fashion company over a conventional brand.

How to Make Ethical and Sustainable Fashion Decisions

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The world of fashion already includes a wide range of different styles and values, and adding sustainable and ethical values into the equation only complicates things further. There’s no perfect way to approach fashion, but you can still make a statement with your money and support the values that matter to you.

By supporting any kind of ethical or sustainable brand, whether it influences the summer subscription box you choose or your next shoe purchase, you’re already promoting their interests over those of countless fashion brands who only care about their bottom line. Every sustainable and ethical fashion purchase supports the future of these businesses and helps them move closer to mainstream culture. Voting with your wallet is the best way to make your voice heard and move fashion in a more ethical and sustainable direction.

Written by Guest Author: Rae Steinbach, Edited by Positive Obsession.
Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing for Box of Style.
Photography by: Mr Cheyl
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