The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions and 20% of the wastewater generated in the world. Moreover, fast fashion has resulted in $500 billion of waste generated each year and the rapid proliferation of fast fashion brands is to blame. In addition, sobering statistics have shown that the fashion industry has resulted in billions of animals such as cows, rabbits, tigers and snakes being killed every year for their skin and fur. When it comes to making ivory jewelry, many fashion brands use elephant tusks.
To make matters worse, the fast fashion industry also exploits workers from developing countries, by paying them low wages and forcing them to work in unsafe environments.
What is ethical fashion?
Before we go any further, let’s better understand what we mean by ethical fashion in the first place. Ethical fashion refers to clothing, jewellery or accessories made from sustainable fabrics and materials which do not harm the environment. It also supports better compensation for the workers involved in the making of the clothes. Among consumers, terms like ethical fashion, slow fashion, and sustainable fashion are often used interchangeably.
The best part about ethical fashion? When creating ethical fashion clothing, brands use fabrics that are comfortable, wearable and fashionable. You do not have to sacrifice style for environmental sustainability.
So, the question lies in whether we, as a community and fashion-lovers, are willing to do something about it. Supporting ethical fashion means supporting better manufacturing practices that do not involve any harm to animals and also helps local communities to earn a decent living wage and support their families.
Clothes made by ethical fashion brands are also made using ethically sourced materials that are more durable, helping you save money while saving the planet at the same time. In light of this, we have compiled a list of ethical fashion pieces from ethical fashion brands.
Our editor's picks for some products by ethical fashion brands:
These metallic spiralling earrings made from Sterling Silver and a rhodium plating are inspired by skyscrapers and buildings. The geometric shapes add a stylish touch to the entire ethical fashion piece, and the earrings spin on their own axis just like a ballet dancer doing pirouettes in the air. Pair these earrings with a jet-black jacket for a sharp, sleek and chic look.
With little specks of golden dots dusted across this black top named after the Thai Jasmine flower, “Mali”, it reminds us of a night sky full of shimmering stars. When layered with a blazer, this crop top would be perfect for a boardroom meeting. For a fun date night, complete your ensemble with a pair of jeans and you will look effortlessly stylish.
The Norah Wrap Top is a wrap shirt featuring an empire waist. We like the lilac purple colour that looks elegant and regal, fit for a princess or a queen. This ethical fashion top embodies the essence of what it is like to be brave, bold, and free-spirited like the Manorah bird creature known for her beauty, intelligence, and charm. Pair it with white leggings or white trousers for a smart-casual look.
These swinging trapeze earrings pay homage to trapeze artists and acrobats, and this eye-catching accessory is unconventional and unorthodox. If you often dance to the beat of your own drum and you’re not afraid to embrace what makes you unique, these statement pieces are for you. As a versatile ethical fashion accessory, you have a myriad of options to complete your look, such as a Fari Batik Dress by FERN, Stacey Halter Top by Lemon by ACK or the Napa Handwoven Dress by Rosa Supra.
This divine-looking minaudière is the pièce de résistance for any outfit. Featuring a golden phoenix perched atop of a hemispherical clutch with a glazed texture, this clutch heralds the start of a new chapter in your life, especially since phoenixes signify new beginnings. This ethical fashion masterpiece will complement any stunning evening gown, or fully elevate even the most minimalist ensemble.
Bucket hats are always handy when it comes to the hot and humid weather in Southeast Asian climates. These are made of upcycled brocade fabric pieces and hand-sewn motifs. It is the ideal ethical fashion accessory for a day at a beach or lunch with friends. Finish off your look with a T-shirt layered under a pair of overalls or a simple jumpsuit.
When Angie Lai, the founder of ALT, was designing this ethical fashion piece made from upcycled metals, she started reflecting on the differences between the colonial architecture of the olden days in Malaysia and Singapore, and the towering skyscrapers in both cities. Available in four colours, namely gun metal, rose gold, gold and silver, the design evokes a sense of nostalgia in all of us. The punk rock vibes of this ring will elevate the look of any outfit.
We hope you have gained a greater insight into the fast fashion industry and the damaging impact it has on the environment, as well as the importance of supporting ethical fashion brands. To learn more about ethical fashion brands, remember to continue following us on our blog, Instagram or Facebook for more updates.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Team Dia is made up of Dia’s three co-founders: Kylie, Alia, & Aisha. They are friends from Malaysia who decided to create Dia in 2020 out of love for their home region. They have lived across the world and have worked in government, big data, journalism, hospitality, and market research. They’d love for you to join the Dia community.