Buying ethical, sustainable, eco-friendly and waste-free clothes and products is in fashion right now.
While these clothes are actually good for the environment, clothing companies are taking advantage of eco-savvy consumers who want to do the right thing, and throwing around words like ‘eco, ‘organic’ and ‘ethical’ on all their clothing labels to make their brands seem more eco-friendly. But that doesn’t mean these clothing labels are actually doing what they say they are.
This is what the labels on your clothes really mean.
'Made in Australia'
Unfortunately, clothing that has this label isn’t necessarily made ethically or sustainably. Due to a complex supply chain within the fashion industry, it’s incredibly hard to know if every aspect of a garments production was truly made in Australia, or even constructed under ethical conditions. When it doubt, Google the brand and spend some time researching how their products are made.
A brand that marks itself as sustainable means it has made efforts to manufacture clothing in an eco-friendly way, such as reducing water consumption, the use of chemicals or use of fossil fuels during the production of their clothing. It doesn’t in any way reflect how they treat their workers.
Brands that claims to be ethical has a special focus on human rights throughout the supply chain and production of their products. This means they might ensure all workers at all levels of manufacturing have good working conditions and are paid fairly, they don’t utilise manufacturers who employ children. This term does not refer to how their products or manufacturing might impact on the environment.
A product that is labelled as circular means it has been designed to be used, reused, and recycled responsibly, until it can be used no more, at which point it can be safely returned to environment via bio-degradation.
This particular label has been developed in order to maximise profits on the coattails of the current trend towards veganism. Vegan leather might not contain animal products, but it is made using many of the synthetic materials and manufacturing processes that have a negative effect on the environment, from polluting the land during production, to using resources unsustainable ad producing a product that isn’t biodegradable.
Unfortunately, cruelty-free is not a term that is regulated in Australia or the USA, and as such, many products, both cosmetic and fashion, although labelled ‘cruelty-free’ this may not be the case. If you are serious about avoiding products that test on animals, then spend time researching the brands you are interested in before purchasing from them. While a brand itself may not test on animals, its parent company or research labs might.
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