The Importance of Eco-Fashion

My husband and I have now been seven weeks on El Hierro, a small Spanish island in the Atlantic Ocean that focuses on ecology and sustainable development. What they have done here is amazing and I have just realized the large impact our daily choices have on the environment, and I believe that we can all help to make it “greener.” It’s just a question of making the right choices, and to do so we need information 🙂

Seven weeks here taught me to think about what more I can do to improve my behavior towards the environment. Our electricity comes from the wind. We are buying as much ecological food as possible. We don’t have a car. Our garbage is recycled… and some days ago, I discovered one more thing to do.

I love fashion and after reading some articles about eco-fashion, my love has gotten a deeper meaning and purpose. Eco-fashion or sustainable fashion is often referred to as “slow fashion”. As an alternative to mainstream fast fashion, it maintains our connection to our humanitarian purpose – and of course, to our environment. After reading a lot online, I can summarize the meaning as “fashion created using environment-friendly materials and processes.

Traditional fashion is the second dirtiest industry in the world. I guess it is time to encourage everyone to stop contributing to that by being more conscious about our fashion choices, and to think about the working conditions of the people making our clothes. Why should we buy those brands connected to manufacturing networks in developing countries known for unfair labor practices and terrible working conditions? I remember in 2013 when a garment factory in Rana Plaza, Bangladesh collapsed and killed more than a thousand workers. And up to now 2017, the issue about ethical fashion is still an issue or with a slow improvement.

I am writing this to raise a little awareness and empower my readers to consider eco-fashion and it’s by-products. After seeing how zero waste eco-fashion initiatives like tonlé provided a great opportunity for underprivileged people in Cambodia, I feel I have a duty to talk about positive causes like that. And hopefully it might also inspire someone back home in Mindanao to start up something similar.

I can definitely hear my fashionista friends saying that eco collections are not as fabulous as the regular fashion and more expensive because of small scale production. I don’t find it true because the designs are actually combinations of classic, timeless, and modern. If you just know how and where to look, you can find valuable and unique pieces. Isn’t that what fashion is all about?

On the price topic, I guess it will be more affordable if we help each other inform our friends so demand will be higher. Eco-fashion should not just be a niche in the industry, but a fashion foundation. For us who are concerned about saving the planet, it should not be too difficult to buy eco-fashion. You will find many shops online. Let’s help ethical fashion companies create more so we can wear our clothes with dignity… the same dignity a worker in the Third World feels when getting decent pay and being treated fairly.

 

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