Question: ‘How can you tell if somebody is vegan?’
Answer: ‘Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.’
An oldie, but a stereotypical goodie nonetheless.
Yes, despite us being in the year 2017, there are still a lot of eyes rolling – and jokes being told – around these ‘types’ of people. You know, those who actually question the ethics behind what they are consuming?
The thing is about these people while, they are, stereotypically, known for chewing the ear off of you, they do a whole load of good too. Just like that sustainable fashion lot, who are mad for a lot of preaching and a little wardrobe. Or so it’s assumed.
At the Fisher College of Business and the McCombs School of Business a study was carried out in which consumers were asked which of the following two pieces of information they wanted to know when purchasing jeans.They chose from the following;
- child labour practices.
The results were varied, but one thing was certain, those who did not choose to receive information on child labour practices deemed those who did, as smug, holier-than-thou, do-gooders. Something similar to those fruit loving ‘freaks’ mentioned earlier…
They say perception is everything, but when it comes to advocating for a better world and planet, does it really matter if the world sees you as a kook, if you are potentially saving it?
Hoover it up
These days, we’re consuming things with the speed and velocity of a Dyson vacuum cleaner. We want it all and we want it now. Millions of tonnes of clothes end up in landfills every year. While manmade and synthetic fibres are virtually impossible to break down, non-organic natural fibres can also be difficult to decompose.
Surely, opting for slow fashion choices is a no-brainer. So, what are the common arguments put forward for not making ethical fashion choices?
Sustainable fashion has a bad reputation. It’s perceived as boring, trend-ignorant and social media shy. People view it as not readily available, inconvenient and difficult to get a hold of. It took something as disastrous as the Rana Plaza collapse for people to realise that things need to change. And they need to change now.
Sustainability doesn’t need to be an afterthought. There are so many simple ways that you can check whether the brand you’re buying is committed to producing sustainable fashion.
Firstly, check the ‘about’ section on its website – the mission statement should give you a pretty good idea of what its core values are.
Check the materials on the label – cotton, linen, hemp and wool can all be produced in the organic method. Look out for words like ‘pre-loved,’ ‘reworked’, ‘upcycled’ and ‘fair trade.’
Following these steps empowers you as a consumer to take responsibility for your own impact on the world. There is no harm in the occasional Treat Yo’self Moment, but make that treat better quality clothes that don’t expire after the season and end up rotting in a landfill somewhere.
Slow fashion is becoming a serious contender in the style stakes. Sartorial kook Leandra Medine AKA Man Repeller has an eye for quirky pieces that express her individuality. She has written numerous articles in favour of slow fashion.
She admits that she has splurged on fast fashion items but inevitably, ends up feeling guilty throwing it in the bin and contributing to the world’s waste. With a mass following Medine’s share of voice is certainly helping the cause.
The star of Divergent, Shailene Woodley is known for speaking out about sustainability and social injustice. She recently appeared on the cover of Marie Claire’s October issue, using her celebrity as a platform to talk about the importance of making ethical choices, describing it as both “invigorating and uncomfortable but vital nonetheless for the progress of future generations.”
Home grown heroes
Closer to home, fashion writer, stylist and historian, Ruth Griffin of www.ruaruth.com, is a massive proponent of slow fashion.
“The average woman has never owned as many clothes as we do in this generation. There are so many shopping options now and access to so many different stores online, and on our main streets, that we can have whatever we want, at the touch of a button. However the other side of this story is that when clothes are created in greater mass and for cheaper prices it means that they are poorer in quality and are designed to be disposable.”
Griffin says that the resurgence of vintage shopping has taught us the beauty of incredible tailoring and considered fabrics.
“Often a vintage dress which could have been made in the 1940s/50s has outlived many of my modern buys by years. This shows us the importance of sustainability and how better made and more sustainable clothes continue to have value and to enhance our wardrobes even when years, decades and centuries go by.”
Singing from the same hymn sheet
The Fresh Cuts crew doesn’t preach because we know our customers are already in the choir. You appreciate the good things in life and you don’t compromise your values for slashed prices. We challenge you to re-imagine the sustainable fashion customer as a future-thinking, forward-facing person with ethically sound values and a damn fine wardrobe. Go forth and change the world.
This article originally appeared on the Fresh Cuts Clothing blog here.