More people are becoming conscious of what they put on their bodies, down to their undergarments. Movements like sustainable fashion, ethical lingerie fashion, slow fashion, and more have gained more prominence in recent times.
This awakening is long overdue, but it’s better late than never.
Natural lingerie brands like us here at Julie May are championing the cause for a more socially conscious and morally responsible fashion industry. While we agree that ‘ethical fashion’ is a vague terminology at best, this post sheds the light on what issues brands like us are seeking to address with ethical bras and lingerie.
1. Environmental damage
Environmental damage remains one of the biggest issues the world faces today.
Coincidentally, the fashion industry accounts for almost 10% of the world’s global carbon emissions, according to the United Nations. If things continue like this, the industry’s carbon emissions will double current figures by 2030.
It’s clear that our planet is at risk. Some of the ways ethical fashion brands are working to mitigate this risk include;
- Using eco-friendly products natural fibers like cotton, bamboo, etc., with the least impact on our environment.
- Developing and implementing environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes that do less harm to the environment, etc.
2. Exploitative labor
High street fashion has a notoriety for exploitative labor and less-than-humane working conditions. So, in some cases, the cost of your lingerie, bras, knickers, and more exceeds the pounds and dollars it costs you.
The cost of producing your undergarment might have included child laborers, exploited adults, unsafe and unhygienic working conditions, poor pay, violence and abuse, and other things in between. If you’re asking yourself if fashion is worth any of these, ethical bras and lingerie from ethical lingerie brands are made because of you.
3. Animal cruelty
- Traps, for instance, are known to cause great pain and anguish not only for the intended prey but also for other unintended victims that could include domestic pets, other animals, and even endangered animal species.
- Many animals bred for their fur have been documented killed in cruel manners. Aside from being kept in confined spaces, many are gassed, slammed against the ground, have had their necks broken, or even electrocuted.
- Some have even been skinned while showing signs of consciousness.
The fashion world has been historically cruel to animals from coyotes to raccoon dogs, foxes, sheep, lambs, seals, silkworms, minks, chiru, and more. Ethical fashion is leading the charge to eradicate animal cruelty in fashion.
4. Hazardous chemicals
While ethical bras and lingerie are made from natural fibers like organic cotton, regular fashion uses cotton and other fibers grown from fertilizers with a slew of chemicals that are not only harmful to the environment but can also be dangerous to the farmers growing the fibers. Several dyes have also been shown to contain toxic chemicals like chromium, VOCs, formaldehyde, chlorine bleach, and several carcinogens.
Ethical fashion does away with all of the toxic chemicals in fast fashion. Brands in this sector use mild and healthy dyes, often Oekotex-100 certified - a regulation that prohibits the use of toxic chemicals like phthalates. These brands also try to limit the presence of chemicals like bleach and fixing agents that are harmful to people and the environment in textile products. Not only does this helps to protect the environment, but consumers also get to wear allergy-friendly bras and lingerie that won’t irritate their skin.
5. Waste and surplus
Conservation of the world’s limited natural resources has been identified as one of the ways to save our planets from destruction. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of wastage going on in the fashion industry.
- Fashion accounts for 20% of wastewater worldwide.
- 87% of the fashion industry’s total fiber input ends up either disposed of in a landfill or incinerated.
These, among other reasons, are point to a fashion industry that needs a thorough overhaul of its non-sustainable operation models.
From manufacturing bras and lingerie with eco-friendly and recyclable natural fibers to reducing wastage during apparel production, creating a safe and comfortable atmosphere for fashion industry workers, and developing new manufacturing processes that are less harmful to our environment, ethical brands are helping to change the narrative of the less environmentally fashion industry.
The few extra pounds or dollars that ethical lingerie and bras cost is more than worth all of the social, moral, and environmental harms the ethical brands in the industry are trying hard to avert. And if you’re part of those still on the train that ethical fashion is ugly or boring, you need to see the line of bras, knickers, and lingerie from Julie May to believe the fact that ethical can actually be sexy and beautiful.