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The cost of buying sustainable fashion apparel is seemingly high. For this reason, sustainable fashion has been classified into the luxury category.
In essence, fashion is considered to be ethical and sustainable if it’s environmentally friendly.
Indeed, its production and use should be safe for the environment.
Furthermore, the labour force involved in all stages of production must be given fair wages and a safe working environment.
Can brands meet these requirements and still sell the resulting items for an affordable price?
Fair Wages For Manufacturers of Affordable Fashion?
The Rana Plaza Disaster that happened in Bangladesh in April 2013 exposed a section of the fashion industry.
A part that is not keen on fair wages and a safe working environment.
As a matter of fact, it is customary for large fashion companies to outsource production to third world countries.
In these countries, labour costs are presumably low.
The rates of unemployment are high. Locals are willing to work for low pay in unsafe environments.
The Rana Plaza disaster claimed 1,132 lives after a building housing five garment factories collapsed.
These factories produced clothes for top global fashion brands.
Despite the building having shown cracks a day before the disaster, the factory workers were compelled to report to work.
Additionally, workers who would disobey this directive were to be denied that month’s meagre salary.
Most victims in the disaster were women.
Ethical fashion believes in fair wages and a safe working environment for the people who work to produce fashion items.
The pay for these workers is equal to work done. Sustainable fashion brands go above and beyond minimum wages in a bid to reward good craftsmanship.
A Safe Working Environment For Sustainable Apparel
Sustainable fashion brands prefer to produce locally.
This way they reduce the carbon footprint through transport.
They’re also in control of the salaries their workers get.
If outsourcing is done to another country the reason is not cheap labour but a genuine search for excellent craftsmanship or any other strategic reason.
When you see an unreasonably cheap piece of clothing, it implies that someone in the production line had been given a low wage.
In fact, the application of the cruelty-free principle in fashion applies to both animals and human beings.
No animal should suffer for the benefit of fashion. Similarly, no human being should be exploited in the interest of fashion.
So, one of the main reasons for sustainable fashion clothing being expensive is ethical brands ensure people involved in the production of an item receive fair wages and work in safe environments.
Slow Fashion = Affordable Fashion
Ultimately, the aim of sustainable fashion brands is not to make quick money through massive irresponsible production. Sustainable fashion puts the welfare of the planet first.
These brands strive to make slow fashion. Certainly, if clothes last longer the impact of fashion on the environment will be lesser.
Correspondingly, making long-lasting fashion demands good craftsmanship.
Significantly, it means that these fashion items are not rushed. Every detail is key to increase longevity.
Indeed, such skilled and talented workers have to be remunerated accordingly.
Therefore, it costs more to produce sustainable fashion than fast fashion.
The Cost of Innovative Material
Human beings have made use of animal products, like leather and fur, for thousands of years.
However, during this period, they discovered cheaper and efficient ways of producing these animal products.
In contrast, the vegan fashion industry has not been in existence for a very long time.
Plant-based alternatives to leather have only been invented recently.
Cruelty-free alternatives to fur have equally been made in the recent past.
The producers of these vegan fashion materials are still working on the efficiency required to lower costs.
So, by continuing to support the vegan fashion industry these costs will eventually come down.
You can also join the Future of Fashion Group for daily engaging discussions on fashion innovation. There, you will find information on where the fashion industry is going. Lastly, make sure you subscribe to our newsletter for lightning-quick updates, delivered directly to your inbox.