• RAW Magazine

Healing the World With Ethical Fashion

Updated: Apr 13

Written by: India Ambrose


Clothing or ways of adorning the body have been around for ages. From regal garb to strips of cloth, humans have needed clothing for all types of occasions. Today, we pay more attention to fashion and following trends, not just dressing to survive against rugged terrain or weather. 

Though fashion and style are fun and can add excitement to clothing the body, there is still an ominous aspect to it: how much it can destroy the planet. The fashion industry is one of the top polluters of the planet, mainly due to the fast fashion industry specifically. Fast fashion is the way that garments are cheaply made and priced that are a take on the runway styles. They move quickly through stores, yet the quick movement of it is putting us at risk. Traditional fashion has two cycles per year, but fast fashion has 50 cycles per year. 

Growing by 9.7 percent in just five years, the world now consumes 80 billion pieces of clothing a year. The pieces that we wear grow old and want to replace them with the next trend because it is so cheap. Because of this, we are depleting the non-renewable resources that we have along with emitting greenhouse gases. Along with that, synthetic fibers, which are cheaper, take thousands of years to break down. 

Washing your clothes can also be harmful to the Earth. If you wash a synthetic fiber, it can create thousands of micro fibers that can also pollute the planet. Not only that, but it takes 2,700 liters of water to make one cotton shirt, according to the World Resources Institute.  Fast fashion is plaguing the planet and social systems. Young people are exploited and mistreated to make the very clothing that we wear. The International Labour organisation (ILO) states that 170 million children are engaged in child labor in the textile market. Maybe add in some info about child labor, specific brands that outsource the labor, etc. 

Though there are so many negatives, there are ways we can lessen our footprint on the planet and try to shop more thoughtfully and ethically. We can recycle and repurpose our clothing rather than throwing it away. Putting your clothes into a consignment shop is effective as well as swapping with friends. Even choosing garments with recycled fabrics can also be a positive effort. Materials such as organic cotton, hemp, and pineapple leather can be worn knowing  that it went through an Earth-friendly process!

Choosing quality over quantity is another way we can shop more efficiently. If we avoid cheaply made garments from synthetic fibers, we can lessen our footprint. There are some local Grand Rapids stores that are taking part in the global initiative to shop for the garment with price per wear in mind (wearing a more expensive garment is worth the price if you wear it more).


1. Clothing Matters is a Grand Rapids brand located at 141 Diamond Ave that offers sustainably manufactured clothing. 



Photo courtesy of: Jessie Belanger





2.Reservoir, located at 1144 Wealthy Street, offers women, men, and children clothing that is affordable. 



Photo courtesy of: Reservoir


3. Joon + Co. is an online brand based in Grand Rapids that creates a modern style with a conscience. 




Photo courtesy of: Joon + Co.


Check out these three brands along with many other online ones such as Everlane and PACT that offer affordable ethical garments. Many people do not know the impact that their clothing and shopping habits have on the planet, but with the proper knowledge and resources to shop ethically, we can make a difference one purchase at a time. 

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