Many brands quickly and cheaply produce products to keep up with current fashion trends. This has become a common process, but most of the brands do not source their clothing in ethical ways.
According to the Los Angeles Times, companies like Zara, H&M and Forever 21 have horrible working conditions and often steal ideas from high end luxury brands. Some companies have even been accused of “modern slavery” by severely underpaying children to pick cotton or work factory jobs.
Although many popular fast and affordable fashion brands have negative aspects of production, there are some options available in the market that are not as extreme. Here is a short list of companies that are making a conscious effort to create a sustainable and ethical platform.
Despite their extremely controversial history of unethical product sourcing and unfair wages, this brand has recently made efforts to mend their reputation by changing their working conditions and approach to apparel production. American Apparel now employs workers throughout Central America and the Caribbean and pays fair living wages.
The company is also committed to producing products that are “ethically made and sweatshop free,” as stated on their website. Out of the three brands mentioned on this list, American Apparel has the widest variety of clothing. They carry loungewear, activewear and streetwear.
Kotn uses ethically sourced cotton from Egypt to create quality basics at an affordable price. Egyptian cotton can be pulled in longer strands, creating a thinner material, which is better for everyday wear and layering.
Kotn is committed to switching to 100 percent organic cotton within the next five years and to paying their workers the fair, standard wages in their respective countries. The clothing is breathable and comfortable, and comes in styles for everyone. Products range from graphic T-shirts to basic sweatpants.
Outdoor Voices carries athletic apparel for men and women that utilizes recycled and ethically sourced materials. This includes merino wool and recycled polyester, materials that create durable and supportive activewear aimed to encourage exercise and outdoor activity.
Outdoor Voices is a great alternative to contemporary activewear brands, such as Lululemon and Athleta, because of pricing. For example, the most popular pair of leggings produced by Outdoor Voices is $30 less than a comparable pair at Lululemon.
Fashion trends will come and go, but the effects of the industry on the world and the people in it are long lasting. It is important to support brands that take an ethical approach to fashion production in order to keep our earth and its people happy and healthy. There are always steps that can be taken to promote a happy and healthy world.