What are we talking about?
How many times have we heard people talking about sustainability and ethical fashion lately? Probably just as much as we have heard about global warming and environmental issues on television in the last few months… Because I bet everyone must have heard about it at least once, especially during the period we are going through.
But where does all this concern come from? What do the words ‘ethical’ and ‘sustainable’ even mean in the first place?
Well, we could start off by clarifying the meaning of these two words, before moving on to applying them to the fashion industry context.
The word ‘ethical’ refers to matters concerning moral principles and morality, which helps us distinguish between what is right and what is wrong, but it also has to do with how individuals lead their lives. On the other hand, when we talk about ‘sustainability’ we tend to think of the totality of actions taken in order to prevent the exhaustion of natural resources so as to preserve the quality of life of modern-day societies.
Why are we starting to worry? Why only now?
Nevertheless, what we should be really focusing on is the dramatically high number of negative effects that fast fashion is leading to.
So, what is fast fashion? Fast fashion could be defined as the mass-production of extremely poor quality clothes which trick customers into buying them because of the tempting combination of cheapness and trendiness characterizing them. What people ignore is that, hidden behind their awfully low cost, workers’ exploitation and other dangerous procedures are carried out by these industries and they are putting at risk our environment.
This means that, by buying clothes from fast fashion brands, we are most likely to be contributing to causing harm to our planet. Let’s take into consideration, for example, the damage originated by textile dyeing which requires toxic chemicals that eventually end up in our oceans, or the significant amounts of microplastics which, by detaching from our clothes every time we wash them, land up in our seas.
What’s more, the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of humanity’s carbon emission, other than being accountable for excessive usage of water too. Although there would be a lot more to say adding up to the many other negative outcomes fast fashion is to plead guilty for, let’s get straight to the point: why are we starting to worry only now when all these problems have always existed? Or, at least, they’ve been there for some time now.
Well, the answer probably lies in the fact that this period of the global pandemic has given everyone enough spare time to think about how our bad actions are affecting the world we live in and the possible consequences which could result from the long term if we can’t find a way to contrast them.
Thus, we could state that the pandemic has at least succeeded in raising global awareness about such environmental issues. It has put stress on the importance of recycling rather than wasting, for example. Here’s why the fashion industry might have begun tackling topics such as those concerning sustainability and ethics only now: by showing that they actually do care about the Earth, some brands are attempting new innovative techniques which take advantage of safer materials that are just as good as those deriving from plastic, adopting more ethical ways to get their final products done.
By doing so, they trigger their customers’ curiosity, who feel also more encouraged to buy clothes which do not cause the Earth any harm, as the “lockdown” had also turned off people’s desire to buy new clothes which couldn’t even be tried on.
Homi fashion and jewels show support for green companies and ethical fashion
The entire Homi Fashion & Jewels exhibition revolves mainly around the concept of ‘sustainability’ which is a topic that, as already stated, has been catching on and it’s still on the rise. Attention to the planet and sustainability have, therefore, become the driving forces behind this extremely important event dedicated to the world of jewelry and fashion, taking place in Milan.
This festival has decided to give space and visibility to ‘green’ brands, even if they are not very well-known. However, the innovation can be found on the online platform of the event, which decided to reserve a special area that can be explored, through the use of hashtags, in order to find out more about brands who show support towards the environment.
On the HOMI F&G site, you will find a menu with the dominating hashtag #befashionandjewels. From there, thanks to the hashtags #besustainable and #begreen, you will be able to find out about the products and the stories of the business operators who chose to adopt more ethical and sustainable production styles.
Once scrolling through the website, you can discover a huge range of different projects designed by green companies. Some of them focus on recycling, other projects focus on the use of natural fibers to employ in their creations. Brands such as ‘Fusioni’ (which produces eco-friendly textiles from soybeans and bamboo) or ‘Chi semina raccoglie’ and ‘Pasly Art Design’ (which use dried fruit, seeds, and berries to craft original pieces of jewelry) are just a few examples.
What are we waiting for, then? Let’s all embrace the concept of sustainability once and for all, in order to get closer to a reality in which the words ‘waste’ and ‘pollution’ are bound to become nothing more than fading memories in a world that is loved and respected by everyone, as it should be.
Photo by the blowup