What is the difference between sustainable, ethical, fair trade, and slow fashion?

what is sustainable fashion

With the rise of sustainable fashion as a movement within the fashion industry, it's interesting to learn about the different terms associated with this emerging area. 

Being that it is actually still such an evolving industry, we wanted to look into the actual definitions of what these terms mean when it comes to sustainability.

Fashion industry words such as sustainable fashion, fair trade fashion, ethical fashion and slow fashion always get stuck in our minds, but what do they really mean in the first place?  How do they differ from each other when they’re so closely related?

While they may sound the same, these terms are technically different and we listed down what they mean below:

 

SUSTAINABLE FASHION

We’ve all heard about sustainable fashion, maybe from a blogger, or maybe somewhere from a website we’ve accidentally clicked through. If you haven’t known it yet, sustainable fashion is also known as “eco-friendly” fashion.

This term focuses more on the materials the clothing was used from and how these pieces of fabrics can have a positive or negative impact on the environment. It somehow advocates the use of clothing made from different environment-friendly materials and recycling these materials to be made new again.
 

FAIR TRADE FASHION 

This type talks mainly about the people behind the clothing that you use. It focuses more on the condition of the laborers that work for the company that provides you with clothing.

According to Fair Trade USA, fair trade fashion means the products that get to have the "Fair Trade" logo come from farmers and workers who are justly compensated for what they do. In short, fair trade is about the treatment of the people producing the clothes you wear.

 

ETHICAL FASHION 

This term is so closely related to both sustainable and fair trade fashion, that you might end up which is which in the world of fashion. However, in reality, a combination of both terms can be considered as the so “ethical fashion”. This focuses more on the condition of the laborers plus the type of eco-friendly materials a brand uses for the clothes.

According to the Ethical Fashion Forum, "Ethical fashion represents an approach to the design, sourcing, and manufacture of clothing which maximizes benefits to people and communities while minimizing the impact on the environment.” In short, it reduces the negative impact on the environment by way of an ethical culture from where clothing is made.

fair trade fashion

 

SLOW FASHION 

If you have come across the term “fast fashion”, then slow fashion, as the name suggests, is the exact opposite of it. The term slow fashion focuses on the importance of the quality of clothing a brand produces.

Its main goal is to produce pieces that lasts longer and can maintain quality for a longer period of time compared to fast fashion. It is basically the movement of designing, creating and buying garments for quality and longevity.

With slow fashion, it encourages fair wages, slower production schedules and technically zero clothing waste. Though somewhat different on how these terms work, these types of fashion are closely related to each other. At some point, they all go towards one same goal, and that is to make fashion a sustainable and a more consumer-friendly one.

Though somewhat different on how these terms work, these types of new standards are closely related to each other. At some point, they all go towards one same goal, and that is to make fashion more sustainable and bring a more mindful consumer perspective.

Written by Elonah Bioneda