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The difference between Ethical and Sustainable Fashion

Whenever we think about fashion, words like trend, style, glamour etc. instantly strike the mind. However, words like eco-friendly, ethical or sustainable hardly cross our mind. But did you know that sustainable and ethical fashion has become an important part of the fashion industry since the last decade? Well, yes that is true! Sustainable and ethical fashion is the new approach that the fashion industries are working towards.


Ethical simply means something that is morally right and allowable. This is why ethical fashion brands do not begin with manufacturing clothes. In fact, they initiate from the cotton fields and end the process in the consumer’s wardrobe. Coming towards sustainability, it is an alternative aim to thoroughly curtail the impact on nature, and perhaps even recover it. Sustainable and ethical fashion trends have become widely popular worldwide in the past decade. This is why the convention cotton farming is not considered to be sustainable and ethical as harmful pesticides are used.

Sustainable clothing brands take into account the impact of production of clothes on the environment. This consists of the use of dyes for various colors, use of pesticides in growing cotton, water and waste treatment. It also includes other natural sustainable fabrics, use of recycled materials, and energy reduction. Whereas ethical clothing brands have more to do with how the clothing is made. They encompass everything from how the cotton is grown to how the clothing workers are paid and treated, as well as their salaries. Ethical brands are strictly against child labor, slavery, worker abuse, and sweatshop labor.

sustainable fabrics

Sometimes ethical fashion also includes the treatment of animals and sustainable fashion. The umbrella of ethical fashion covers the care of environment i.e. there should be minimum or no amount of waste produced. It also makes sure that the animals are treated with dignity and respect when their products are used (meaning silk, wool, and etc.). Ethical fashion is in fact, a way broader term which can comprise of both sustainable fashion and fair trade. Technically, there is no set of rules, governing body, or practices for ethical fashion. When coming across a brand that claims to be ethical, it is important that you do your research.

Sustainable fashion brands take into account things like pollution, and the negative consequences it has on the earth. It recognizes the need to eliminate pollution in the atmosphere, water systems, and the ecosystem. Sustainable fashion is more about quality than quantity as it provides far less choice. These brands mostly use organic fabrics and avoid using pesticides and synthetic materials as they can have a damaging impact on the environment. Natural and organic fabrics are biodegradable; hence they do not cause much of an issue when getting disposed. It also consists of recycling and up-cycling clothing, as well as vintage and second-hand clothing. Ethical and sustainable fashions are terms that often get combined. They both go hand in hand. Most of the brands that take sustainability into account, also believe in being ethical.

Related articles:
Is sustainable fashion a scam?
How to be more sustainable by selling, donating and recycling your old clothes.

Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2020-06-15

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