Ethical Fashion’s Fatal Flaw

A recent piece from i-D argues that, despite the sudden boom of “sustainable” fashion brands, ultimately, we’re still just “taking part in an unethical culture of consuming,” and there’s nothing sustainable about that.

As the story says, “despite all the hype, the progress made towards sustainability within the fashion industry is actually being canceled out by the rate at which the global fashion economy — in other words, fast fashion — is speeding up.”

Echoing that statement is sustainability expert Anika Kozlowski, who asserts that the fashion industry would’ve had to start “to make adjustments in terms of more ethical responsibility long, long ago” to address the issues currently running rampant.

“At the root, what we have is a consumption problem,” she says. “We are just producing at a rate that is completely unsustainable… [and] so resource intensive, and then we’re not getting the proper use out of these products.”

(She also adds that, “most ethical brands are very, very expensive and it’s an extreme privilege to be able to buy a $300 sweater,” which is very, very true).

“Fundamentally, it is a business model that is flawed — capitalism is still functioning on the premise of endless resources,” Kozlowski says, noting that people didn’t “realize that you can’t just keep taking and putting it in the garbage and expecting that your resources are going to stay there for you.”

So we’re all screwed, then? Well, not entirely. Ultimately, Kozlowski says that “it all comes down to money,” and that the “people have the power. If you don’t give your money to [brands], they’re going to figure out really fast what to do to get your money.”

But otherwise, “You can’t shop your way to ethical fashion.”

You can read more about it at i-D.

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