Ethical Fashion and Why we Care About It
At Kkira Feet we are passionate about the environment and specifically the role the fashion industry plays in its deterioration. These days, the term “fast fashion” has grown exponentially and become a term almost everyone will recognize.
If you are unfamiliar with the term; fast fashion, “is, cheap, trendy clothing that samples ideas from the catwalk or celebrity culture and turns them into garments in high street stores at breakneck speed to meet consumer demand.” This can be seen in many stores that we shop at regularly such as Zara, H & M, Primark, and many more. For example, Zara has a 15-day process from designing a piece of clothing to getting it into a store. Why does this happen? To understand why fast fashion has become so popular we must first understand how it started.
A long time ago, before the 1800s, fashion was slow. Really slow. You had to prepare your fabrics and craft them yourself or have a tailor craft them for you. In 1846 the sewing machine was invented, speeding up the process of garment making, and resulting in the formation of dressmaking shops. However, the creation of dressmaking shops was also the creation of the first sweatshops in the fashion industry, and a whole mess of extremely unethical work conditions. Within the 1900s fashion creation had taken on a life of its own and there was the emergence of designers using clothing as an art form and self-expression.
As time went on, and communication technology improved, more of the world was able to see and consume what was trendy and what these top fashion houses were creating. Due to this new demand of a larger audience wanting to partake in clothing trends at cheaper prices, we see low-cost fashion reach an apogee. H & M, Zara, and Topshop were the three most popular fast fashion brands that were creating names for themselves among the general public.
But why is it so bad? With the prices being cut and the production time being reduced, the measures to ensure the environment is being protected continue to become less important to these kinds of brands. The toxic textile dyes that allow for easier and faster garment production have polluted the environments where the garments are being produced and much of the world as a whole. It has propelled the fashion industry into the second highest polluter of clean water, only after agriculture.
There is also a huge impact on the sweatshop workers that are being forced to work in dangerous and inhuman environments at low wages and for extensive hours. Bangladesh is one of the many countries that house thousands of sweatshops and was the location of the Dhaka Garment Factory disaster back in 2013. This was a building collapse that killed 1,132 workers leaving many trapped in the rubble for several days. The construction of these poorly designed factories were due to the growing need for more product throughout the world.
As consumers in this society, it is time we take some responsibility and invest in sustainable brands and clothing. While for many, shopping solely from sustainable brands may not be possible due to the higher price of these items, investing in a few basic pieces to build up our closet is a good place to start. One of the best parts about buying sustainable pieces is how much longer they will last than pieces from a fast-fashion brand. Take a pair of Kkira Feet Shoes, for example, our shoes are handcrafted by master craftsmen in Italy,
the best shoemakers in the world and they will last you many many years longer than a cheap pair of sneakers from Primark. Investing in your clothing and learning about where it is sourced is becoming vitally important as we learn more about the fatal impacts the fashion industry is having on our environment. Below we have attached some additional articles on fast fashion and the environment and also linked to some great sustainable clothing brands!
Additional Resources on Fast Fashion’s impact: