The natural clothing leaning started by wearing itchy slipovers to be natural as much as possible is now passing through a different meaning of wearing ecofriendly without depriving the self style.
Fashion industry, one of the most significant sectors of the global economy, is also the one leaving noteworthy harm to the environment. But the harm here is not only about the waste left by production systems of the industry. It also covers the intensive consumption rate related to the industry as well as the cheap workforce seeking and the worker exploitation.
On the other side, hopefully, there is an ethical fashion understanding developed by the fashion industry itself. Under the philosophy of ethical fashion, companies have been develeoping their systems from design to production, and even the disposal stage to provide workers with fair working conditions while ensuring the production stages to be more sustainable.
Ethical consciousness has actually been living with us for fifty years. Based upon the Hippie generation of sixties, antiwar flower children were actually the spearheads of the recycling culture in fashion design.
Via the antiwar philosophy that creates their own style via the recycled local clothes taken from different cultures, they were simply trying to live the nature.
Eighties were the years of extreme production capacities as well as the consumption ratio demanded from the fashion industry. This situation made the industry examine itself and the fashion systems underwent a transformation. English cosmetic brand Bodyshop, for instance, developed ecofriendly products which was not tested on animals. During the same years animal rights defenders created anti-fur campaigns.
Nineties can be recalled by the naked pictures of Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford for PETA’s fur campaign saying that “We’d rather go naked than wear fur.” This showed that fashion had become a dangerous gun to be used for itself.
Ten years later, the 2000s, companies started to use the terms “ethical”, “organic”, “no worker exploitation” more often. The phrases like “second-hand” and “vintage” were the hard-hitting ones persuading consumers that the products they bought are ecofriendly and made within an ethical understanding.
The exchange circulation between the two poles had been carried into another level anymore.
The more consumers became to buy environmentally friendly, the more companies tried to change their way to reach those consumers. From the design to the disposal stage of the lifecycle of a product has been developed to be more conscious in terms of both socially and environmentally.
Workers started to be provided with fair and living wages, healthy working conditions as well as freedom of association and voice in the workplace. Manufacturing stages started to use environmentally responsible materials to minimize the environmental impact. Desiging for disassembly allied itself with repurposing clothes for longer use of material and the product. Procurement and finishing steps of the supply chains have also been changed to optimize the energy and source efficiency.
Eco-friendly fashion became popular with the help of some big names, specially a good number of Hollywood celebrities: Natalie Portman, Cameron Diaz, Alicia Silverstone, Adrian Grenier, Jennifer Aniston and Salma Hayek are now associated with sustainable fashion. Celebrities, models, and designers such as Stella McCartney, Rogan Gregory, Peter Ingwersen, Ali Hewson, Bono and Summer Rayne Oakes have also drawn attention to socially-conscious and environmentally friendly fashion.
Even if we lost and probably wil lose some supporters like Naomi Campbell, ethical responsibility in fashion consumption would be always in discussion and will be gaining more and more importance.
The recent fifty years changed the question from “How can we sell or consume more?” to “How can we sell and consume more consciously?” Hoping that developing technology and the ethical philosophy would be more intensively combined by the industry, therefore we will encounter with more than design experiences providing us, the consumers, with more product stories to become more conscious.