Importance of Ethical Fashion

What's the importance of ethical fashion?

Recently, thank goodness, there’s been quite a lot of talk around the topics of “ethical” and “sustainable” fashion. Being a 2.5 trillion-dollar industry, fashion is the second most polluting industry alive on earth, falling in as a close second behind the oil industry.

Sustainable fashion should not simply be a trend, it needs to be the future. We encourage you to be a part of the solution rather than being part of the pollution. Let’s start a fashion revolution!

What is Fast Fashion?

Fast Fashion is a term used to describe a highly profitable business model based on replicating trends and high-fashion designs, and mass-producing them at the lowest cost possible. In order to produce high quantities at a low price, quality tends to go by the wayside. Fast fashion is the mass production of cheap, poor quality, disposable clothing that’s made to keep up with current trends rather than creating quality products and timeless classic looks.

The fashion industry works quickly, designing in advance for seasonal wear. Not only does fast fashion produce four seasons of clothing to keep up with the industry, they also create fashion lines for “holiday,” “resort,” and “special occasion,” and “runway/fashionweek.” In fact, there used to be only two real “seasons” in fashion, Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter, but today you can find 52 fashion seasons that exist from one producer to the next.

Producing mass amounts of product for minimal prices obviously means cutting corners. 

Whether corners are cut at the sake of quality, by taking out of honest people’s living wages, or negatively affecting the environment, many fast fashion companies simply don’t care. Anything to make that extra buck! It’s up to the consumer to care about how their clothing impacts people of this world and out planet.

By now, you’re probably beginning to understand the importance of fashion that’s environmentally friendly, ethically made, supportive of worker’s rights, health and safety, fair-trade and top-quality rather than disposable. In case you need some other reasons that’ll make you swear an oath to boycott fast fashion, here are some interesting facts about fast fashion that may cause a shiver!

  • Nearly 700 gallons of water is used to make one new cotton shirt.
  • It takes 80 years for clothing to break down in landfills.
  • Fast fashion produces 10% of the world’s carbon emissions.
  • The average person throws away 81 pounds of clothing yearly.
  • Each person spends nearly $1700.00 on clothing every year.
  • On average, items are only worn 7 times before it’s tossed.
  • Only 2% of people in the garment industry earn a living wage.

Waste for the Sake of Branding in the Fashion Industry:

95% of discarded clothing can be recycled, upcycled, or even gifted to the homeless population. 

However, for the sake of “saving face,” and protecting the alleged “value” placed on Branded garments, companies in the fashion industry often toss their leftover stock into the trash or BURN product (adding to the fumes attributing to global warming) rather than recycling, upcycling, giving away, or allowing their brands to be seen in discount retail stores like Ross or TJMaxx (two of my favorite places to find affordable, leftover, last-season’s fashions).

  • Always ask, “Who made my clothes?”
  • Buy less! Value quality and longevity over quantity.
  • Support small makers and businesses.
  • Only buy things you’re obsessed with that you’ll wear over and over.
  • Recycled and upcycled clothing is always better than buying new.
  • Shop in thrift, charity, and vintage stores.
  • Have a clothing swap with friends and relatives.
  • Look for brands that promote “eco-friendly,” “conscious,” “fair-trade,” and “ethical” fashion.
  • Be aware of materials. Stick to natural materials like cotton, linen, bamboo and hemp.

What is SLOW fashion?

Slow fashion, is a concept describing the opposite to fast fashion and part of the “slow movement”, which advocates for manufacturing in respect to people, environment and animals. Slow fashion is the movement of designing, creating, and buying garments for quality and longevity. It encourages slower production schedules, fair wages, lower carbon footprints, and (ideally) zero waste.

Indeed, slow fashion is about quality instead of quantity—garments that can last years or even a lifetime. Slow fashion is sustainable and doesn’t view products as disposable. Slow fashion is ethical and looks at the connections between things—raw materials, the environment, human labor, etc.

What Can You Do?

We’re all guilty of “panic buying,” and saying yes to things we don’t need. Whenever I do this, I always get a feeling of buyer’s remorse almost directly after the fact. Buying things you don’t need truly won’t feel good for your wallet or your soul.

Buy LESS Clothing:

Making a difference is really simple—buy less! Only buy things that you truly need that you know you’ll wear again and again. In the words of famous Japanese guru of Tidying Up, Maria Kondo says, “What sparks joy?” If it doesn’t spark a complete feeling of joy, it’s best not to buy it.

Caring for Your Clothing:

It’s completely possible to extend the life of your clothing. The way you treat your things is directly related to the way you treat yourself. Practice picking up your clothing, folding it nicely, hanging it in your closet and putting things away where they belong.

Wash Your Clothing Less:

Many people wear things once and immediately throw their clothing in their dirty clothes pile. Did you know most things can be worn multiple times before wash? Things that cling to your body closely like bras and underwear can be washed more often because of their close proximity to sweat, oils and body odors, but things like shirts and pants should be worn three or four times before washing.

Consider this: you probably only wash your bedding once weekly after sleeping in it for 8-hours per night, seven days a week, so why are you so hasty to toss your clothes into the dirty laundry? Washing your clothes less makes them last longer while reducing your carbon footprint.

Wash your clothes according to the instructions on the label. If the label says, “hand wash,” that’s a great hint about how to preserve your clothing for longer periods of time.

Eco-Friendly laundry detergents are better for the planet and for your clothes. By using gentle, non-toxic detergents with natural ingredients keeps your clothing looking newer longer, reduces fading, and keeps the environment happy. The average household uses 5,606 gallons of clean water to do their laundry per year. Make sure you’re not washing harsh waste down the drain and feeding the fishes cheap and nasty chemicals found in many detergents.

The products you use to clean your clothes also end up in your respiratory system and your skin (the largest organ in your body) soaks up excess chemical residue from conventional detergents. Most chemicals in cheap laundry detergents are known carcinogens, so do your clothes and yourself a favor by switching to natural laundry detergent.

Buy Vintage and Thrifted Clothing:

New garments are being mass produces incredibly too often. Thrifting is one of the best ways to reduce your impact on the environment and it’s a great way to find high-quality and unique items at incredibly low prices. There are vintage and thrift stores on every city block, so go ahead and give them a shop!

When you buy something that’s vintage or thrifted, you’re not just buying a piece of clothing… You’re buying a piece of someone’s past and making it a part of your future.

Drumrollllll please… Welcome WAVY ONE MORE TIME! This links to our Poskmark shop where we’ve started selling pre-loved clothing, unique vintage finds, and high-end thrifted brands at a great price!

Upcycled Garments:

What does it mean to upcycle fashion? Businesses that upcycle fashion take an existing garment and pre-consumed textiles in order to produce new garments. It’s estimated that every year, 8 billion square meters of fabric ends up in a landfill during the fabric-cutting process.

All our patchwork kimonos are also made from upcycled silk from Indian Saris (colorful wedding dresses from India). See our diverse collection of upcycled silk kimonos HERE.

Buy from Sustainable Fashion Brands:

Look for brands that produce fashion in an eco-friendly way using environmentally friendly methods. Companies that use “recycled materials” are a good place to start. Buy from small and local brands that focus on creating a culture of conscious consumerism. Many businesses use design strategies like made-to-order, one-of-a-kind, and custom clothing to help them stay sustainable.

We make a wide array of custom upcycled garments that are designed specifically for YOU. The Wavy Bunch can work with you on custom coloration, sizing, fabrication, embroidery and painted details. Check out some custom pieces we’ve designed here: Olive Tribal Patchwork Jacket, Pink Patchwork Jacket, Pacha Mamma Painted Jacket, Tree of Life Patchwork Painted Jacket, and Punk Graffiti Military Jacket.

Repair and Reuse Broken Clothing:

Shit happens, clothing rips, and we party naked? Buy yourself a small sewing kit so you can repair damaged clothing yourself, from the comfort of your couch. There are also many ma’ and pop shops that offer clothing alteration and repair services.

When repairing clothing yourself, you can make it more creative and unique! You can add funky patches, use embroidery patches, and re-attach eclectic buttons to make your item one of a kind.

It’s better to repair and reuse old clothing than to toss it.

Donate Your Clothing:

When you donate your clothing to thrift shops and vintage stores, you’re keeping someone’s dreams alive, giving a new-life to your clothing, keeping things out of a landfill, and often supporting causes like clothing the homeless and feeding the hungry! Local thrift shops usually all support one cause or another, so find a place where you support their cause and stand behind it.

Be AWARE, if clothing is ripped, damaged, badly stained or even missing A SINGLE BUTTON, thrift-shops often can’t re-sell these items and thus, they will end up in a landfill. Make sure to check your items carefully, replace missing buttons, spot-clean stains, pre-wash, and repair any rips or raveling hems before taking your goodies to the thrift store.

If you’re looking to donate clothing in Spokane or the Coeur d’Alene area, please send an email to OR use the provided contact form and we’ll arrange a pickup. We’re specifically looking for lightly-used bohemian style clothing, funky retro clothing and eclectic vintage clothing.

10% of all proceeds go to giving back to organizations that specialize in serving people, arts and culture. Charities are rotated with every 50-pieces sold.


Clothes, companies and corporations aren’t going to change the world. It’s the people that wear those clothes and purchase products that are going to change it.

Be aware of what you’re wearing. “Do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for the world as it should be?” – Michelle Obama.

With the rise of fast-fashion and mass manufacturing, many tribal arts and traditions are being lost. Many of our products come from tribal villages that still practice their craft. By supporting us, you’re also supporting tribal villagers in protecting and sharing their ancient handicrafts.

Shop THE WAVY BUNCH – supporting and giving back to cultural creatives, tribal villages, and world artists that keep traditional arts and culture alive and well.

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