Réjeanne What is ethical fashion?
Lingerie — 24 September 2019

What is ethical fashion?

Each year, a person uses an average of 15 kg of textile, mainly clothing. But 85% of them end up in the garbage! In the era of “fast fashion”, the big brands produce as quickly as possible and by limiting their costs to have attractive prices (H&M t-shirts at €5? What did you expect…?). This fast fashion race involves relocating production to where the cheapest labour is available.

In France, about 70% of clothes sold is manufactured in Southeast Asia. And despite a return of short circuits and Made in France trends, this figure shows that we are mainly guided by prices and access to an exorbitant range of different styles of clothing. These motivations make buyers support a system that demolishes the environment and exploits human beings.

In France, the law on the duty of due diligence of companies, which came into force in 2017, requires multinational companies to monitor the risks related to the fundamental rights of their employees and subcontractors, both within France and abroad. And the figures speak for themselves: 62% of French people would like to be better informed about the production conditions of the clothes they buy…

Do we really want to keep buying cheap clothes every week that we will only wear for a few months before relegating them to the bottom of the closet?

What is ethical fashion?

Our clothes are the first mode of expression of our personality, the parameter of our appearance that we totally control. Expressing yourself on sustainability wearing clothes made in China from head to toe isn’t that great, right?

Ethical clothing means buying clothes and accessories from fair trade, made from organic textiles or from recycled clothing. It’s more environmentally friendly, it generates less waste and it’s more respectful of the staff involved.

In short, dressing ethically is:

  • Consuming less but better.
  • Say NO to the manufacture of clothing by children or other underpaid workers and in poor conditions in India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, China, Cambodia.
  • Saying NO to large carbon emissions, waste and pollutants, and questioning fast fashion in its foundations.
  • Saying NO to “impulsive shopping”, which frankly doesn’t make us happy for more than a few minutes or a few days and sometimes seriously digs into our budget.
  • A return to creativity? Knitting your scarf, making your own patchwork or sewing your own clothes, compliments guaranteed!

So yes, it reduces the choices and we don’t always find the beautiful skirt, dress or stylish little top that we saw in the last Zara ad. It is also not easy to find your way around and ensure the minimum social quality of clothing!

Understand the consequences of “fast fashion” for a better consumption

  • Nylon takes about 40 years to decompose. It is 80 times more than cotton and about 10 times more than wool. Chemical fibres, whether synthetic (nylon, polyester, polyamide, acrylic) or artificial (rayon, viscose), are manufactured using rather environmentally unfriendly processes, even if the raw material is of natural origin.
  • The production of a single T-shirt requires an average of 35 square metres of cotton field. Did you know that cotton is the third largest consumer of irrigation water in the world, after rice and wheat, before corn and fruits and vegetables? Neither did we… Prefer materials such as hemp or flax, which require five times less water, pesticides and fertilizers than cotton.
  • The production of raw materials is only the first step in the manufacture of a garment. Once woven, the textile fibres undergo a series of chemical treatments to make them more beautiful, comfortable or practical (dyeing, printing, without wrinkles…). The dyes or chemicals used contain substances that are toxic for health and the environment. Don’t forget to look at the labels!

The right actions to take

Choose your materials:

  • Textiles made from vegetable fibres such as flax, hemp, bamboo, beech (modal), eucalyptus (lyocell or tencel) or animal fibres (wool, silk) are obtained by less polluting processes that are alternatives to chemical fibres.
  • If you take cotton, choose organic. The cultivation and processes of organically grown cotton are more respectful of the environment and the people concerned.

Spot the labels:

  • Organic or Skal label which guarantees dyes without heavy metals or in natural colouring.
  • Oeko Tex, which guarantees the absence of undesirable substances for health and the environment in finished products (heavy metals, formaldehydes, control of the harmfulness of dyes and waste water quality).
  • European eco-label that guarantees reduced environmental and health impacts throughout the product’s life cycle.
  • Fair trade label (Max Havelaar), which certifies the origin of the product and the producer’s remuneration conditions.

A few places to look at

Even if you are convinced and converted, it is not easy to find the right places to indulge yourself ethically. We spent some time around and found some good places for you to get into responsible fashion!

  • Eco-responsible e-shops

We Dress Fair, Klow, Mae Sue, Dressing Responsible

These fair trade online shops bring together many eco-responsible fashion designers. A lot of ethical brands in one platform!

  • Thrift shop or marketplaces

Guerrisol: a must-have Parisian clothing store, online and in store.
Bobby Paris: great marketplace in the 2nd arrondissement.
Vinted : sell your clothes directly in the app !

Another way to be ethical is to switch to second-hand fashion.

  • You’ve read Marie Kondo’s book and have lots of clothes to give?

You can leave your clothes in the containers of Le Relais. They will either be sold again at low prices in a Ding Fring shop by Relais or recycled into cloths, thermal insulation, carpet.

You can also donate clothing directly to a charity (Secours Populaire, Emmaüs, the French Red Cross, Tissons la Solidarité)

  • What about for kids?

Here are three online stores entirely dedicated to children. They offer healthy, natural and fair trade clothing: La Queue du Chat, Mon Petit Oko, Louli Des Bois.

You want more info? Look up #WhoMadeMyClothes in your search engine! (By the way, we advise you to switch to Ecosia: the ecological search engine that plants trees, or Lilo, which finances social and environmental projects!)

At Réjeanne, we created our menstrual panties precisely for ethical reasons. We were done with polluting, toxic and uncomfortable sanitary protections. That’s why we chose to make a product made in France, in fabrics certified STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX and without silver nanoparticles.