Around 69% of millennials investigate a brand to see if it is eco-friendly prior to making a purchase, as reported by a recent survey by the OEKO-TEX Association. These results are indicative of a greater movement underway. This time last year, researchers at Southern Cross University undertook a study which showed that around 77% of Americans want to learn how to live more sustainably. Fashion, often seen as a ‘superficial’ industry that contributes greatly to pollution of the oceans and waterways and to the depletion of the ozone layer, is now making a change. These are just three ways that some eco-warrior companies are leading the way.
Protecting Children’s Rights
The fashion industry has become notorious for its reliance on child labor. The International Labour Organization states that around 170 million children are engaged in “work for which the child is either too young – work done below the required minimum age – or work which, because of its detrimental nature or conditions, is altogether considered unacceptable for children and is prohibited.” Some fashion companies battle child labor by agreeing to the Fair Wear Foundation’s code of labor practices, which means they receive regular ethics audits. To do your share before making purchases, check up on a brand’s track record and find out its stance on this subject.
Saving the Oceans
The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world, according to SustainYourStyle.org. One of the biggest problems is untreated toxic wastewaters dumped by textile factories directly into rivers. Fashion companies can make a big difference by setting targets for improvements in water management practices, taking stock of progress and disclosing the results of their work. Their use of water must be efficient and they must protect water-related ecosystems. Many designers are showing how to make better use of resources. Triarchy Atelier Denims, for instance, reduces water usage in denim production and repurposes used denim into new styles. Noémiah uses only organic cotton, linen, wool, silk, and bamboo for its garments. By doing a little research you can discover the plethora of brands doing their share for the environment.
Companies with a Heart
During challenging times, many fashion companies are showing their commitment to the world by ‘giving back’ to communities and those in crisis. Michael Kors, for instance, recently released a ‘Watch Hunger Stop’ T-shirt, the proceeds from which went to help the World Food Program. Some of the industry’s top photographers (including Corinne Day and Martin Parr) donated prints recently to the Anti-Racism Photography fundraiser. Fashion companies and employees have helped to support a bevy of causes, including educational reform, mental health groups, LGBTQ+ services, and more.
Fashion may be known as a top global polluter, but many organizations and individuals are working to reverse this trend. Sustainability and ethics are important values for many companies, who are already saving on water and other vital resources, and promoting fair work practices. Some are also backing important causes through direct funding and via special donations and releases whose proceeds go towards those who are in need.