More than 40 million people work in the global garment industry, yet their stories rarely make the headlines. We’ll tut-tut about the factory fires, the building collapses, the fainting epidemics, and the deaths we hear about, of course. But the punishingly long days, the unrelenting labor, and the countless indignities workers endure? They’re a little easier to ignore. “It completely changes the way you think about clothing when you consider the people in the process,” Helena Barbour, senior director of global sportswear at Patagonia, says in Fair Trade: The First Step, a new 13-minute film by the outdoor-apparel brand. “But because there is no visibility when you buy garments, you are just oblivious to it.”
Photo by Shutterstock
Roomful of clothes but nothing to wear? You’re hardly alone. The average U.K. household owns an average of £4,000 worth of clothes, 30 percent of which languishes unworn, according to the Waste & Resources Action Programme. A third of the clothing we buy every year ends up in the landfill, sometimes after just one use. And let’s not forget all the shoes we never wear. With mindless consumerism hitting its peak on Black Friday, it’s time for a new consumer revolution, one characterized less by impulse buys and more by thoughtful purchases. “The fashion industry would have us believe that overconsumption is something to be proud of, marking our success one haul at a time,” Greenpeace says in its latest campaign. “But putting aside barely worn clothing and bringing home bags of new outfits fuels a toxic supply chain and stuffs landfills with impulse buys.”
Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov/Unsplash
Ethical fashion. Green fashion. Sustainable fashion. Eco-fashion. Isn’t all just clothes? Well yes…and no. Confused? Take a deep, cleansing breath. We’ve dusted off some of our favorite posts from the Ecouterre archives to bring you up to speed on the social and environmental scourge that is “fast fashion,” with a side of how to dress like you give a damn. And watch this space for breaking news and other industry developments; there’s plenty more where this came from.
Photo by Clark Street Mercantile/Unsplash
Contrary to what Gwyneth Paltrow might have you think, you don’t need a bank account the size of Gringotts to be a conscious consumer. When it comes to cultivating a more mindful closet, less, as they say, is more. Don’t believe us? Check with the experts. Here’s the best advice we’ve heard from some of the people who know best, from legendary British designer Vivienne Westwood to the head of the Catholic Church.
The following is an excerpt from Wear No Evil: How to Change the World With Your Wardrobe (2014, Running Press) by Greta Eagan
Cleaning out your closet is so wonderfully cathartic, and many Feng Shui masters will tell you that creating organized spaces helps to open up the flow of energy and allow for new things to come into your life. William Spear, the author of Feng Shui Made Easy, once said to me, “if your drawers, closets, and shelves are stuffed and overflowing in a disheveled mess, how can you expect the Universe to deliver anything more? There is no space for more!” The goal of this game is to evaluate, store, and purge. (Tip: Choose a day when you have a good amount of free time (at least two or three uninterrupted hours) to dive into this exercise.)
Faced with a world of increasing outdoor air pollution, designer Nikolas Gregory Bentel decided to help fellow city dwellers monitor their own environments. Bentel has recently released a new line of pollution-detecting shirts, Aerochromics, which fluctuate in color when exposed to various pollution levels in the air. Although the shirts put information in the hands of the wearer, Aerochromics carry a $500 price tag, which limits the eco-conscious customer to those with as much cash flow as interest in their environments.
Photo by flowcomm/Flickr China has pledged to shut down all trade in ivory by the end of 2017, a move that conservationists are hailing as a “game changer” for elephant…
Photo by Shutterstock Our readership has spoken! Here are the past year’s most creative, game-changing, cutting-edge, and mind-boggling stories of the year, as chosen by you. …
Throw yourself back a year and check out the most popular stories of 2015
Feeling nostalgic? Skip back a year for the most revolutionary eco-fashion stories of 2015…
Ready for more face-palming? check out the worst stories of 2015
Don’t stop now: Drop by our archives for more upcycled goodness…
Want more of tomorrow’s technology today? Take a deep dive into our archives
Photo by William Warby/Flickr Don’t chuck your empty Amazon boxes into the recycling just yet. The online retailer has partnered with Give Back Box to turn those cardboard coffers…
“Materialism forces us into comparison with the possessions of others, a race both cruelly illustrated and crudely propelled by that toxic website [Rich Kids of Instagram]. There…