First of all, thank you for taking the time to explore this page and delve into the world of ethical and sustainable living!
In this learning lab, I will go over some commonly used terms and what they actually mean for you and I… and the world.
I will also give you a preview of what is to come over the next few months; what the goal of
ethical goodness is, and why now.
So, let’s get going shall we?
Terms and their true meaning can get slightly skewed within the social media saturation of influencers, collaborators, content creators, wanderlusters, travel bloggers, and style setters. So, where do the terms such as ‘ethical,’ ‘sustainable,’ ‘eco friendly,’ ‘conscientious-clothing,’ and ‘slow-fashion’ fit in? and more importantly, what do they actually mean?
The term ‘ethical’ can be broken into various sub-sections when you are referring to branding. Overall, it embraces the true definition of the word which is: “pertaining to or dealing with morals or the principles of morality; pertaining to right and wrong in conduct.”
Predominantly, in the social media world, you mostly hear the term ‘Ethical Fashion.’
Ethical Fashion is an umbrella term used to describe ethical fashion design, production, retail, and purchasing. It covers a range of issues such as working conditions, exploitation, fair trade, sustainable production, the environment, and animal welfare (reference : http://www.vam.ac.uk).
Beautiful, right? Well, we are just getting started..
The term sustainable can be used in such phrases as:
‘Sustainable fashion’ and ‘Sustainable living.’
// Sustainable Fashion //
I love the way Green Strategy describes sustainable fashion so eloquently:
“More sustainable fashion can be defined as clothing, shoes and accessories that are manufactured, marketed and used in the most sustainable manner possible, taking into account both environmental and socio-economic aspects. In practice, this implies continuous work to improve all stages of the product’s life cycle, from design, raw material production, manufacturing, transport, storage, marketing and final sale, to use, reuse, repair, remake and recycling of the product and its components. From an environmental perspective, the aim should be to minimize any undesirable environmental effect of the product’s life cycle by: (a) ensuring efficient and careful use of natural resources (water, energy, land, soil, animals, plants, biodiversity, ecosystems, etc); (b) selecting renewable energy sources (wind, solar, etc) at every stage, and (c) maximizing repair, remake, reuse, and recycling of the product and its components. From a socio-economic perspective, all stakeholders should work to improve present working conditions for workers on the field, in the factories, transportation chain, and stores, by aligning with good ethics, best practice and international codes of conduct. In addition, fashion companies should contribute to encourage more sustainable consumption patterns, caring and washing practices, and overall attitudes to fashion.”
(Reference : Green Strategy, June 2014 http://www.greenstrategy.se)
Sustainable fashion involves all stages of design and productions from picking the organic cotton, to designing the material, to manufacturing, to final sales. To do so in an environmentally friendly way that helps both the earth and the workers live a more sustainable - long term- life.
// Sustainable Living //
As seen in the above definition from Green Strategy, sustainable living involves living as lightly on the Earth as possible. Someone who succeeds at living a sustainable lifestyle will use very few resources and will leave the environment as untouched as possible so that future generations will be able to enjoy the same high quality of life that people do today.
The bottom line?
Sustainability focuses on preserving the earth as much as possible in its natural state. You can assist by focusing on a vegetarian or plant-based diet, being aware of your power consumption (ie. turning off the lights and heat when you do not need them on), and being aware of how your actions affect the future generations. Think long term - think of assisting to sustaining all forms of life from plant, to animal, to marine, to human.
This ties nicely into our next definition..
‘Eco’ is short for ‘ecology’ or ‘ecological’ - Ecology is the interaction between organisms and their environment. Thus, eco-friendly, quite simply, means to not harm the earth; which leads nicely to the term ‘Sustainability’ because if you are thinking and living in terms of sustainability, you will automatically start living in a more eco-friendly way.
Unfortunately, we cannot be 100% eco-friendly when we talk about fashion because it takes resources from the earth to make clothing and goods. However, when the term ‘eco-friendly clothing’ is used, it is speaking mostly of companies who make it a point to minimise this damage by avoiding the use of fibres grown or produced with damaging chemicals, and avoiding fabrics which have been coloured with harsh dyes and paints.
The Cliff Notes?
Eco-friendly fashion generally consists of clothing made of organic fibers and hemp, clothing that has been organically died, and clothing that is using as limited amount of resources as possible so as to cause the least amount of harm the earth as possible.
Last but definitely not least - I am going to tie the last two definitions ‘Conscientious fashion’ and ‘Slow fashion’ together as they can be interchangeable in many ways.
CONSCIENTIOUS SLOW FASHION:
I am going to start this off with a food analogy.
What comes to your mind? Fries, milkshake, burger, now! In my belly! Forward to
Why? You’re paying for fast, conveniently-available processed foods as opposed to quality foods. Of course we are all human and not robots, so sometimes you need that Sundae or salty fries fix, like immediately.
But long term, what would happen if you ate this way?
Chances are you would feel pretty disgusting.
What if you saw how that food was made, and the places it was being made in?
No - this isn’t a PETA post so I won’t go into that. But all I am asking is for you to think about it.
Now, how do you feel after eating something fresh - local - maybe made in your Mom’s kitchen?
Odds are, you feel pretty full, but satisfied. You ate slower, conversed more, smelled the food, tasted it, and loved it! You saw how it was prepared. Perhaps this food costed a bit more. However, if you ate this way long term, wouldn’t you feel so much better about yourself?
Now...how does this apply to conscientious slow fashion?
Fast Food (a.k.a. Fast Fashion) = brands like H&M, Zara, Bershka, Forever 21...etc
Home Cooked Slow Food (a.k.a. Conscientious Slow Fashion) = Local brands, handmade, organic fair trade goods..etc.
Of course, as mentioned before, we aren't robots, and a good deal is hard to pass up; but what I am asking is for you to think about how it's made, where it comes from, how you feel about the choice of choosing convenience over quality long term.
Slow Fashion is about being purposeful and realizing that fewer is better.
So? What does this mean?
It means that we take time to think about what we are buying, where it came from, how we are choosing to support it..or not, and realizing that it is better to buy less junk and more quality. Yes, this may mean that you will have less clothing and spend more on the pieces you do buy, thus ultimately having slower consumption of clothing.
Wait, What? Why?
Because unfortunately, a good quality shirt doesn’t in reality, only cost $10.
If we are talking in terms of the conscientious slow-fashion purchase of clothing, we are talking about taking time to consider quality over quantity or - as a neo-hippy might put it - choosing to help the earth over harming the earth, man.
LET’S TIE THIS UP IN A NICE ORGANICALLY MADE BOW AND CALL IT: ETHICAL GOODNESS
I felt that the words ethical goodness so perfectly describe the type of human who does everything they can to be ethical, sustainable, eco-friendly, and conscientious with slow fashion.
Our goals in this section of my blog will be to focus on information, sharing, empowering, and encouraging all aspects of an environmentally conscientious soul.
We are not losing the focus of travel, but incorporating sustainable options for travel, style, and life.
DO YOU WANT TO CONTRIBUTE?
Are you a ....
or just darn right passionate about sustainability?
We would love to work with you!
Drop us a line below :)