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Answered: What is Ethical Fashion?

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"The basis of ethics is extremely simple. Nothing is intrinsically good or evil. Good and evil exists only in terms of the happiness or suffering they create in ourselves or in other people". 

- Matthieu Ricard

There are a lot of buzzwords around like ethical fashion, fair trade, sustainable fashion etc...and sometimes it is hard to put our heads around it all and understand the terms and differences. 

So what is Ethical Fashion?

We can define ethical fashion as the way of designing and producing clothing and accessories that values and benefits both the people involved in the process and the environment. 

In this broad sense ethical fashion includes also the other terms, but they take up different aspects. Let's take a closer look.

Fair trade is an approach to trade that aims to empower marginalised producers, especially in the South, by providing them fair pay, safe working conditions, vocational training and long-term stability. 

Sustainable fashion has a more of an eye for the impact that clothes' production has on the planet and tries to minimise it. So design and materials used are at the centre, things like recycled fibres, upcycled materials and natural dyes. 

Slow fashion is term used when describing fashion that is opposed to fast fashion (the quick move from catwalks to big fashion retailers to capture trends at the expenses of the workers involved and the resources offered by planet earth). Slow fashion takes its principles from the "slow food" movement that has at its core good quality, clean production and fair prices for both consumers and workers.  


Fashion is one of the biggest industry and also one of the most labour-intensive, employing more than 75 million worldwide today, 80% of whom are women and girls. It is also one that has a huge impact on the planet with incredibly high levels of water consumption, use of toxic chemicals and textile waste that ends up in landfills. 
In this context ethical fashion matters as it provides us with more viable alternatives that take into consideration both workers rights and the place we all live in. 
We as consumers are starting to have more and more options, we just need to grab them. 

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