Clothing is the basic part of our lives. Next to its original purpose, it also gives us an ability to show our personality and present ourselves the way we want others to see us. However, even though the fashion industry is fun and creative and gives us the space to be the same, it has a much more relevant role in all of our lives, not only of the people who call themselves fashion enthusiasts. Fashion industry that we know of today is divided into two extremes, one being hyperproduction and the other one hyperconsumerism. This further creates an enchanted cycle in which the industry makes loads of unnecessary clothing, which people then buy, collect, use very lightly and throw away in the end afterwards starting the cycle again.
It is very important that we ask who makes our clothes, from what materials, where, in which way was it colored and with which chemicals. Why? Because the fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world and a perfect place for unethical behaviour towards textile workers. Our ignorance and lack of knowledge only provides a green light for such behaviour. We as a small local brand feel the responsibility to talk about these things, to support any news outlet that talks about slow fashion, and systems that are contrary to what we are currently dealing with, but also to do right in our own production and only make beneficiary steps for all the parties involved.
This is why, in our production we only use high quality natural materials (cotton, viscose, tashlama), we only order the amount of material that we will use which practically makes us a no waste brand, when printing our collections, we use oil based colors that don’t contain heavy metals and we use high quality printing techniques. We work with a couple of small businesses that sew clothing for us, but we also have a small production of our own for the finer tailoring services in our atelier. What we are especially proud of is our collaboration with the tailoring factory LIRA from Zrenjanin, where our collections are sewn by people with disabilities. They are a wonderful and synchronized team that is absolutely devoted to their work. Because of this, our products have the FAIR product certificate. So when you buy anything from our shop, you are directly supporting their working places and that makes a very big impact and is important to all of us.
A little bit more and more professional about why it is important to carefully choose brands you support, and why you should be interested about the origin of your clothes, we talked to Dunja Jovanović and Marija Radaković, fashion journalists and creators of a podcast named F.FM where they talk about fashion, but seriously. Dunja and Marija have been talking about sustainable fashion on their podcast for the past three years, and the big number of their followers and great influence they have on the public are proof that these two are the only fashion, but also socially responsible media outlet we need.
Why is it important for consumers to know what is the origin of their clothing, how it’s made and by whom?
The huge amount of clothes produced has direct consequences for our natural environment, global society, but also according to the latest studies, also human health.
Uncontrolled use of natural resources, use of chemicals, pesticides and insecticides for the cultivation of natural materials, increasing presence and use of plastic materials made from oil (60% of clothing is made of polyester), then huge emissions of carbon dioxide due to numerous stages of transport, and finally, the textile waste that is generated in the production process, but also the one that we all produce as consumers when we discard clothes, are just some of the ways in which the fashion industry pollutes and disrupts our natural ecosystem.
When it comes to the social aspect, working conditions in the textile industry are worrying – wages are minimal, the space in which clothes are produced is often neglected and unsafe, and violations of labor and human rights are widespread.
According to the latest studies, the consequence of hyperproduction and use of bad and plastic materials has a negative impact on human health. It has been scientifically proven that microplastics, which mostly come from clothes, can have a harmful effect on our health, because when they enter the human body, they have the ability to change the genetic structure of the cell. This is a rather worrying fact, bearing in mind that on a weekly basis, we take microplastic particles into our body in an amount that is equivalent to one credit card.
Until there are fundamental changes in the industry itself, the good news is that all of us individuals have an impact and can make a contribution, precisely with purchasing decisions on a personal level and the way we treat clothing. Thoughtful shopping instead of impulsive, focusing on the quality and longevity of clothes, choosing high quality, natural, organic materials, giving preference to small local producers and ethically produced pieces, passing clothes to people who really need them – are just some of the ways.
Why should brands strive to be sustainable
Because of the limited natural resources on our planet, this is the only model that can prevent the catastrophe we are currently heading towards.
The current, linear business model, which is based on the product-place-discard principle, contributes greatly to climate change, and it is a problem that cannot be “reversed” , it can only be stopped at the current level. So the only possible model is one that operates responsibly and ethically – in the context of its environment and global society.
This applies primarily to industry and big brands because they are most responsible for today’s situation and pollution.
When it comes to smaller and local brands, their advantage is that at the very beginning they meet some of the sustainability criteria – the amount of clothes produced is small, they are mostly sewn in workshops and therefore it is easier for them to follow the entire chain and production process. Also, for these reasons, they can introduce some additional services faster, such as e.g. alterations and redesigns of his pieces.
Why should we as consumers choose FAIR products?
In this way, we support the local market and people who do business ethically.
However, in order for all of us to be able to make a choice and give preference to fair products, the main precondition for fair production and sustainability is – TRANSPARENCY.
Therefore, transparency is the first and basic standard that needs to be set and fulfilled, and it implies public disclosure of information on factors, production conditions, production locations, and in our area a particularly problematic part – price transparency – public display of prices with information on what exactly it includes. In practice, this would mean that the labels indicate the origin and specification of the material, the method of maintenance, if it is told that the material is eco – explain why and what makes it so, what are its advantages, in case there is a certificate – what does it mean, then specify the location of production, factory or workshop, number of collective members, how the price was formed and what it all includes.
This practice is absolutely mutually beneficial and important for all of us – because brands that operate fairly and according to certain principles of sustainability will become recognizable as such, while those who essentially do not but still use certain phrases for marketing purposes will not be able to meet this condition. On the other hand, customers will be able to decide more easily if they have all the information they can get. And perhaps most importantly – this is a great way to build a relationship full of trust, which is necessary in the local market so that we can all appreciate and value small local production and start developing a culture of buying domestic brands.
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