Let’s talk about sustainability and ethical practices in the fashion industry.

Last year, I found out that globally, we are producing 13 million tons of textile waste every year, 95% of which can be recycled or reused. Upon reading another article, I learned another disturbing piece of news. It takes 2720 liters of water to make a single T-shirt.

That’s the quantity of water you would approximately drink over a three year period.

So, with the fashion industry finally taking responsibility for their hand in our looming enemy of climate change, I was hopeful for a massive reformation, one that would take the 13 million tons of textile waste and recycle it, utilize it in any way that would prevent it from ending up in landfill. I became a lot more vigilant over my contribution to fast fashion, and started learning more about DIY flips and thrifting. I discovered an entire movement of people who solely thrifted their clothes, and had abandoned the fast-fashion vice almost completely. It was exciting. I felt like this was progress.

It takes 2720 liters of water to make a single T-shirt.

I know now how important it is for me to stick to supporting brands that cared about being sustainable in their practices, and who aimed to minimize their negative impact on Earth – and our future.

A few days ago, I read the headlines:

Kylie Jenner refuses to pay her Bangladeshi employees who manufacture apparel for the KendallxKylie clothing line.

I’ve been fuming since. Right now they’re denying these claims and people are connecting these actions to the Global Brand Group- the company responsible for manufacturing their clothes. People are enraged, horrified- and rightfully so.

After thinking a lot about it, I’ve rethought my stance.

The fashion industry needs to be better about textile waste, water waste, that’s for sure. Sustainability for our future is necessary.

But their claims of ‘sustainability’ and being ‘fair trade’, has to include their employees. There is nothing ethical or fair about refusing to pay the people who are devoting hours of labor into projects that are not even sold in their own countries, and being underpaid, or in this case, being paid NOTHING for their work.

Let’s not forget the disgusting irony of the company essentially denying wages to people of color.

Let’s not forget the disgusting irony of the company essentially denying wages to people of color.

For any business, brand to deserve the label of being ‘Ethical’ anymore, it cannot be the risk of maltreatment and belittling of employees whose jobs hardly afford them a living. After extensive research, it has been found out the world’s largest garment manufacturers are Vietnam, Bangladesh, India and China. However, Micro Opportunities (a non-profit), found that Bangladesh women garment workers earn less than minimum wage over 60 percent of the time . Brands that source their labor from less developed countries, countries that are home to people of color, should no longer be able to devalue the workers with underpayment.

Your sourced labor from third world-countries should be as ‘fair’ as the ingredients being ethically sourced from them.

If the fashion industry wants to shift towards sustainability, it has to be in every way. Provide sustainable jobs. Pay fair wages. Be accountable for their employees’ treatment. Your sourced labor from third world countries should be as ‘fair’ as the ingredients being ethically sourced from them. These are lives, livelihoods on the line. The industry needs to be ethical all the way down to its roots – the workers. There are no more excuses for this.


https://thetempest.co/?p=143221
Sahar Arshad

By Sahar Arshad

Senior Lookbook Editor