The 2013 Rana Plaza factory incident in Bangladesh was the wakeup call for many. The focus of the entire world and social activists shifted to the condition of the people working in such factories to manufacture products for high-end brands all over the world.
Fashion is a multibillion-dollar industry and with the growing demand for Fast fashion, extremely cheap clothing prices, materials, labor, and shipping have to be compromised. Many low wage labors lose their life while working in a hazardous environment.
With the world becoming a global village, consumers are becoming more aware and involved and they are demanding to know if there was any sort of suffering behind the making of the clothes they buy. Therefore, many upcoming brands and startups are carefully choosing to manufacture at factories where workers are treated and paid well and have proper audit system.
It does cost more to manufacture clothing ethically and hence they are expensive. Responsible manufacturing involves paying workers more, using higher-quality materials, and making sure the factory pollutes is controlled. But the biggest apparel companies are rigid towards this change, obviously, they have much more power in the market and they believe their customers will buy anything they put in front of them.
To some extent, we can say that while fast fashion is still holding its grip on the fashion industry, the change has started to begin. The consumers are becoming more aware and there is a market shift from fast fashion to ethical wear especially in young people who are keen to buy from brands that are doing well in the world not only in terms of sales but also in terms of their supply chain management and who are treating their works well.
Seeing the market shift and future prospect, many new brands are coming up with ethical branding as their main concept. These brands are niche businesses that mean that do not have access to the efficiencies when it comes to mass production. But the change has begun. Such brands are gaining customer trust and building on it at a much faster pace by sharing their supply chain process so that customer is well aware of what they are buying. This influx of new brands are using higher-quality, sustainable materials to lower the environmental impact of the manufacturing process. Many of these responsible brands are creating classic clothing lines which are wearable season after season.
We need to make people aware of such brands because until more and more people feel they can afford to buy clothes from values-driven socially conscious brands, it rather difficult to fundamentally change the problems in the fashion industry.
Choosing to shop ethically will mean nixing your dependence on cheap, throwaway clothes. Instead, you will have to train yourself to buy fewer but longer-lasting products. The fact is “Change starts from self”, we can always channelize our outrage to change our behavior and prompt us to think carefully while making our next purchase.