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What is ethical fashion?

First: what is NOT ethical fashion? Ethical fashion is not “artisan” made clothing or accessories created without a clear marketing strategy and that appeal to consumers’ desire to help people in need. Ethical fashion is not hemp or organic cotton , or clothes made in developing countries, or ethnic looking garments. The whole ethical approach to fashion cannot be considered separately from fashion itself. By bringing products to market that do not meet the current consumer standards, some ethical fashion labels are alienating this segment of the market and decreasing its chances to succeed. Sure, we don’t want human lives threatened by the high global demand for new clothes, but we also don’t want bad clothes. Like most things in life, this is not a black and white issue and it all comes down to the basis of our economy: individual buying decisions.

We define ethical fashion in regards to three main pillars, acknowledging that a definitive definition of “ethical” is unrealistic, as what each individual considers ethical is subjective and depends on many cultural and social factors.

Environment | Ethical fashion | Fashionhedge

Minimizing the environmental impact of garment manufacturing activities.

Treatment of waste-water, origin of dyes, pesticides and fertilizers used, and pollution agents generated by factories are factors that can be controlled and supervised to some extent reduce the damage to the surrounding ecosystems.

Deliberately causing harm to the environment when alternative techniques to minimize it are known signals a lack of corporate responsibility.

Some talk about “sustainable fashion” in a separate category to ethical fashion, but the truth is that caring for sustainability and the environment can be included in someones’ ethical paradigm, so we believe that any efforts to propose more environmentally sustainable business practices falls onto the ethical category as well.


Workers | Ethical fashion | Fashionhedge

Respecting fundamental human rights regardless of the location or legal system of a country.

Many of the discussions around this topic revolves around fair wages, appropriate and safe facilities and general workers’ health considerations. Since outsourcing has become a standard practice in the fashion industry, dealing with different countries’ laws or lack of them is a real challenge for the companies that decide to manufacture abroad.

This has changed a lot and different tragedies showing the lack of safe working conditions in some factories have turned the responsibility back to the parent corporations, which have a larger pressure from the public and the media to respond for their vendors’ shortcomings. Deliberately disregarding people’s basic rights just because they are in a different country where laws might be weaker or not enforced is shady corporate behavior and many consumers make a statement by not shopping from such companies.


Consumers | Ethical fashion |Fashionhedge

Providing a quality service and transparent information about the characteristics of a product.

Increased public knowledge about injustice in the workplace, hidden animal components of garments and quality of the fibers used drive consumers to ask more questions and get more information before buying. Providing complete data about any relevant detail of a product is an essential component of what we consider an ethical behavior.

Lying, distorting or hiding information is not tolerated and brands should strive to find out consumers information needs and fulfill them the best way they can.



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