Shopping ethically is no longer a trend but a lifestyle. Being a responsible shopper involves purchasing from ethically sustainable brands, reducing waste, and not giving into ‘fast fashion' trends. What does shopping ethically and sustainably mean in the fashion industry? And what are some of the best ways to get started shopping with a purpose?
Ethical Vs. Sustainable Fashion: What Is The Difference?
These terms are popping up everywhere in the fashion space, and for good reason. But what exactly is the difference between ethical fashion and sustainable fashion?
Ethical fashion is focused on the ethics of a brand, meaning social and monetary practices for the most part. Ethical brands ensure that every worker is getting paid a decent and fair wage. They are also ensuring good working conditions, a safe workplace, breaks and time off, overtime compensation, etc.
It is possible to conduct ethical practices overseas, but many brands that conduct business overseas take advantage of the people and their environment. Fashion brands that manufacture their items locally are typically a lot more open and honest about every step of the process. Including where they purchase their textiles and who manufactures and constructs their pieces. Keeping things local also has a positive impact on the local economy.
Pure Balanxed makes all of our items in Canada with manufacturers in both Toronto and Vancouver. We have a close relationship with our suppliers and manufacturers, which makes it easy for us to ensure ethical standards are being met.
Social ethics is also just as important as fiscal and monetary ethics. This can include hiring and firing practices, and the culture of the workplace. An ethical women’s fashion brand will not discriminate against anyone in the workplace or any customer. An ethical, diverse workspace includes anyone no matter what they look like, identify as, affiliate themselves with, etc. Including:
- Gender identity
It is also important in women’s fashion to ensure size inclusivity. The fashion industry has not always been the most accepting space for anyone other than a size 2. Representing every woman, no matter their body, is something Pure Balanxed is passionate about. We are working to combat size discrimination with our large range of sizes and ensuring every shape and size are included in our campaigns.
Sustainable fashion is more about the environmental impact fashion has on the world around us, including the effect these practises will have on human health at a larger scale.
It shocks most people to learn that the greenhouse gases produced from the fashion industry alone contribute to 10% of all emissions. If the fashion industry maintains its course, an increase of 50% in greenhouse gas emissions is expected within a decade. This is why sustainability and fashion have become such a large topic of discussion in our industry.
Sustainable fashion, or slow fashion, works to use less natural resources and energy in order to produce their garments. These brands are not mass-producing trendy items just for it all to end up in landfills. They focus rather on trendless, premium designs that are made to last.
Sustainable fashion is aimed at both adjusting the manufacturing process involved while reshaping consumer’s shopping habits.
Ethics And Sustainability: Hand In Hand
After taking a closer look, ethics and sustainability in fashion are both completely different, yet, work very closely to achieve shared goals. It is no longer just up to the industry, but individuals as well to make conscious purchasing decisions.
If a brand is making purposeful, conscious decisions we should support them by purchasing their clothes. We can use our purchases as a vote. We vote no more fast fashion, so we only buy from sustainable brands. This could help shift the market.
How To Easily Start Shopping Ethically & Sustainably
The best way to start supporting the movement is by getting the most out of every item that is already in your closet. Once you need new items, do your research and purchase purposefully.
There are so many ethical clothing brands out there that make a point to use sustainable practices. Before you purchase a new item take the time to vet the brand and learn how they conduct business from start to finish. You can always email them and ask for more information. If they are an ethical, sustainable, high-quality brand they will love to answer your questions and boast about their products.
When you are looking to purchase new clothes look for a couple of things:
- Does the brand list where the clothes are made?
- Do they offer any information on manufacturing practices?
- Do they share what material the garments are made from?
- Are they willing to answer any questions about hiring practices?
- Do they promote a diverse and inclusive work environment?
- Are they conscious of their environmental impact?
Shopping second-hand is also an awesome way to shop more sustainably and is also the perfect way to give a piece of clothing a second chance. And contrary to popular belief, not all thrift stores are full of cheap, low-quality items. You can find real high-quality treasures in thrift stores, items that have lasted 30 years and can last you 30 more!
We are living in the fast-fashion era, but it was not always like this. Vintage pieces might actually have more life left in them than items you’ll find in the mall.
Shop A Sustainable And Ethical Brand
At Pure Balanxed, we are a woman-owned, woman-made, Canadian brand that focuses on empowering women and producing clothing they can feel their best in. This includes using ethical and sustainable practices from design through execution.
We use materials that are easy on mother earth yet soft and high-quality for our customers. We often use organic cotton, or Tencel™ to create sturdy pieces that keep the environmental impact low. We also love using bamboo, cotton, and spandex blends in many of our items. This is because bamboo trees are fully sustainable, regenerate in 55 days, and are biodegradable. We then construct our clothing items with our Vancouver and Toronto manufacturing partners.
Our favourite, must-have women’s clothing items include:
We create slow fashion, for a slow lifestyle. Loungewear that can withstand a busy life or a chill one. You are worthy of a closet you can be proud of, and that loves you back! For more information on Pure Balanxed check out our About Us page.