If there's any one banality of the modern style blogging sphere this blog has sought out to deconstruct, it's saying more than "look at this pretty dress." Today, we explore the importance of ethical fashion in a world of mass consumerism...

This past Saturday I was able to attend a fairtrade fashion show that was created in collaboration with ethical boutique Bead and Reel and Peace Exchange, that featured a panel and exhibition of fair trade fashions. There’s been a lot of features on this blog about ethical/fair trade fashion, but not much exploration and establishment of what it exactly is.

Put simply, sustainable fashion is the intersection between social responsibility and environmentalism. Although we live in an age where mass consumerism is triumphing all, the fair trade movements is definitely growing more traction for the millennial generation that (I’d like to think) questions more and engages deeply.

In an attempt to deconstruct the view of fair trade as simply a more expensive edition of what you can purchase at corporate entities, here’s a bit more on the importance of it all. When everything is concentrated on making profits, what you see is that the environment and human rights get lost.

Beyond the role of fashion as a means of self expression, there’s power in your dollar. The focus is not solely towards the medium of aid to the lesser privileged-- rather, allowing artisans fair trade wages and premiums to workers. We’ve all heard the phrase "give a man a fish and he won't go hungry for a day." The western world has sent a lot of 'fish' around the world-- whether you name that an extension of the white man’s burden, or well-intentioned aid efforts, a large majority of it has ended up far from those who need it. Although it would be wrong to strip relief aid of all potential good in can initiate, in terms of the long term, charity is not solution or the ablution. However when it comes to application of one’s skills-- leading to microenterprise, microfinance to name a few-- a chance towards economic development is born: something enduring, which is what most of these ethical brands strive to do.
And so, although at the end of the day it might be a bit tough to rid one's self of the sentiment of detachment and see your clothes as catalysts of change, the truth of the matter is that they hold a great deal of social responsibility and environmental consequences. So whether it’s through engaging in fair trade purchases, to thrifting, to simply consuming less, the time is now to add depth to the sphere of fashion.

More about slow fashion in the media:

Photos by Patrick Park
OUTFIT ℅ Bead and Reel

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