Slow fashion, or the lack of it, has become on of the most pressing issues facing our world today. One of the things we pride ourselves on here in Up-fuse is the fact that we are an ethical brand that practices slow fashion. The lack of slow, sustainable and ethical fashion here in Egypt was one of the main factors that triggered the launch of Up Fuse. But what is slow fashion anyway? How can gorgeous bags be ethical? Or, on the other hand, unethical? We wrote about fast fashion before here, but we think its important we provide a breakdown of the alternative and what we hope the fashion industry works to become.
Slow fashion is a mode of production that hopes to overcome some, or all, of the things the mainstream fashion industry has adopted today like exploiting labor in the form of sweatshops or other, use of hazardous material or chemicals, environmental damage and animal cruelty. The fashion industry alone is responsible for the forced employment of more than 250 million children around the world, between the ages of 5 to 14, around 90% of which are girls and all of which are subjected to inhumane working conditions. Up to 50 million animals are killed each year in support of the industry in order to garner raw material for the production of goods like leather shoes and fur coats. Cotton uses up to 22.5% of the world’s pesticides which has an exponentially negative effect on the ecosystem as a whole (that’s why we prefer using organic cotton). Moreover, chemical and hazardous waste are often a bi-product of processes like dying material and softening it.
These are all dilemmas and obstacles slow, or ethical, fashion hopes to avoid and provide sustainable alternatives to. Slow fashion is vegan, which means no animals are to be harmed in the process of making any goods. Products are Fair Trade certified, which means they are produced under internationally accepted conditions of work, such as wage and working hours. Ethically produced products are often organic, which implies that all plants used, if any, are organically cared for. It is, simply put, ethically produced, and meaning it is made with considerations to the people who make it and the environment it is produced in. To take it a step further, some brands (like Up Fuse) also use recycled material to not only be mindful of the environment but also contribute to its regeneration.
Although we might find a hard time finding brands that meet this extensive criteria, it is important we at least be aware of the harm our favorite brands initiate for the sake of trendy clothes and low prices, catering to our needs as consumers. Although there is not much we can do to completely offset the scales, we can definitely work on tipping the scale.
Fashion Revolution is one of the big organisations working to change the fashion industry, and this year we are collaborating with them to celebrate the sustainability of Up Fuse and hopefully further the fight against the monstrous ways of the industry. Fashion Revolution is encouraging people around the world to ask brands #whomademyclothes during Fashion Revolution Week 24-30 April, to demand greater transparency to help improve the working conditions and wages of the people who work to make our clothes.
With the help of Up-fuse founders, we brought Fashion Revolution Egypt as one of over 90 countries involved in the Fashion Revolution movement and will be calling on people across the country to take part in the campaign for a fairer, safer, cleaner fashion industry, whilst celebrating those who are on a journey to make it happen. Most importantly, it is important to ask questions, start a conversation and be mindful of our shopping decisions, although it can be hard, there are plenty of resources that can guide us to being ethical consumers. And there are plenty of ways you can take part, know more here