The idea of consuming fashion more ethically sounds all hunky-dory, doesn’t it? However, it is only until we look at the price tag of a sustainably-produced garment that is twice as much as its fast fashion counterparts. While several factors such as pollution and exploitative wage systems necessitate us to make a switch to sustainable fashion, the pricing factor is what refrains many people from doing the same. Thus, what exactly makes ethical clothes so expensive?
Ayesha Barenblat, founder and CEO of Remake, a non-profit organisation, says that sustainable fashion focuses on durable products that are made of natural fabrics, which cost more than polyester-blend materials. Fair wage for workers is another factor that drives the cost of eco-friendly garments.
The collapse of Rana Plaza factory that happened eight years back was an eye-opener for many into the world of fast fashion industry. A thousand odd people were killed but most of the global fashion brands including Mango, Primark and Benetton that were linked to the factory, denied to claim any responsibility.
Thus, taking safety and security into consideration, ethical fashion, on the other hand, not only pays a minimum wage, but also offers living wage pertaining to transportation, healthcare, housing and safety nets, etc., to the workers. After all, being sustainable is not just about reducing the environmental impact; it is also about creating a social impact on the people who are involved in the manufacturing process.
Last but not the least, it is the skills and craftsmanship of the local artisans that also make for the cost of sustainable garments. However, like the saying goes – “Morality is a luxury that poor can’t afford”, not everyone has the means to make an instant switch from the cheap, fast fashion to something that is eco-friendly. In that case, how about choosing an alternative that might work for you – such as thrifting, opting for trans-seasonal clothes or going for quality over quantity?