The Two Sides of Fashion

As global warming only increases, most people’s concerns grow as well. In reality, concerns are valid, more so with the fashion world. Fashion production causes ten percent of carbon emissions. Added up to that, eighty-five percent of textiles end up in landfills at the end of the year. Hence why the fast fashion versus ethical fashion debacle has become a relevant subject in these past years, more so in the past. 

First, we must know what both of our key concepts are. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, fast fashion is “an approach to the design, creation, and marketing of clothing fashions that emphasizes making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available to consumers.” With that being said, according to Cosmopolitan, sustainable or ethical fashion includes two simple concepts eco-friendly, which defines in simpler terms to “this stuff is made with minimal damage to the planet,” and ethics, referring to it as “an umbrella term that essentially means the people who worked on an item were treated safely and paid fairly. Buying ­ethical means you’ll empower others—and get all the compliments.” 

As we already know the dangers of fast fashion, sustainable fashion sounds impressive, right? In hindsight, it is! The problem comes from the money spent on a garment. This is because the materials have outstanding quality, they’re made with care, and by workers who are paid a living wage while obtaining good work conditions. Still, just because it is expensive, like a high fashion brand, doesn’t mean it’s ethical. That’s another issue to have in mind. 

Another form of sustainable fashion is thrifting and vintage/second-hand stores. During these last few months of the pandemic, thrift shopping has become a favorite cult activity: whether it’s for a date or the need of new clothes, teens strive for a thrifted look. The issue with that is that these same teens, for the most part, are only making second-hand clothing more inaccessible to the people who really need it. As demand rises, so does the price, but quantities become limited, making people with low-income turn to the low prices of fast fashion. 

Being completely ethical is becoming harder every day, but all one should do is be more conscious of how damaging or unethical a company might be. There are sites and apps destined for this purpose, each with its own different set ups but working towards the same goal; make our world ethical and conscious, one garment at a time.