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What is Sustainable Fashion?

With all of the hype around fair trade and eco-friendly fashion, it can sometimes be hard to distinguish between buzz and legitimate change. Sustainable fashion is a broader term for clothing, shoes, and accessories made in mindful ways from the design process, to the production and final sale. In this post, we offer some insight into the fair trade, ethical fashion business and how it differs from mass-market clothing production in many impactful ways. Read more to learn how you can start making a change with sustainable clothing and why it truly is worth the hype and your attention.

Environmentally Friendly Fashion

Sustainable fashion cures many environmental problems that emerge from mass-market fashion production. Eco-friendly clothing is made from recycled or organic materials that reduce waste rather than make more that may be disposed of in harmful ways. Factory clothing is often made from non-biodegradable fabrics, whereas sustainable clothing takes into account the impact the fabric will have after use. Because eco-friendly clothing is not made using chemicals or synthetic materials, harmful side effects such as air and water pollution (which also contaminate drinking water and food supply) are avoided, creating a safer and healthier environment for everyone around. This care translates into high quality articles of clothing that last much longer without a questionable impact on the earth around you. Another added bonus, reduced trash on your end!

 

Fair Trade and Ethical Fashion



The Tropic Bliss Seamstress Team

Fair trade is another production method that makes a positive impact when compared with fast fashion. Sustainable fashion is rising above mass produced clothing due to its commitment to fair wages. Clothing made outside of the United States is often crafted by factory workers who do not have protections in place for fair working wages like we do in the USA. One of the key tenants of fair trade is providing workers with fair and livable wages and support, like our Tropic Bliss seamstresses in Thailand. This is sustainable and reliable employment that allows workers to take care of their families and keep their children in school.

Fair trade also ensures children are not employed illegally. (The International Labor Organization cites 170 million children around the world are employed in child labor practices, and the garment industry is a large percentage of that employment.)

Ethical Working Conditions

Another key component of fair trade are ethical working conditions provided by the practice.  When mass-market clothing is produced, the chemicals and machinery has the potential to cause health problems to workers. Fair trade clothing production regulates hours as well so workers are not required to work overtime with no additional benefits.

Ethical clothing creation places safe guards that allow workers to have rights and fair working conditions. Clothing is created with pride in the worker’s craft rather than by force, fear, or desperation. With the knowledge of knowing a happy individual made your clothing rather than an assembly line, sustainable fashion is something you truly can feel good about.

How to find Fair Trade Brands

Want to know if a brand you like is fair trade or sustainable? It's actually quite easy to find out, as companies that practice fair trade proudly boast it on their website and about pages. You can also contact most companies directly to inquire about their sustainable practices :).