The other day I jokingly said to my friend, “Where were you when you discovered fast-fashion?” To my surprise, she responded, “It was three years ago and ironically I was in Forever 21.”

It’s really cool how ethically made fashion is starting to gain attention. It’s gone from something small that only a few know about to a full-blown movement. Brands are popping up all over the place that promotes ethical standards and goes against fast fashion trends.

What is fast fashion?

Investopedia defines it as a term used by fashion retailers to describe inexpensive designs that move quickly from the catwalk to stores to meet new trends. As a result of this trend, the tradition of introducing new fashion lines on a seasonal basis is being challenged.

Today, it is not uncommon for fast-fashion retailers to introduce new products multiple times in a single week to stay on-trend.

Why is fast fashion bad?

Fast fashion is bad for numerous reasons. Some of the negative aspects of it include: exploitation of overseas labor, low-quality clothing, distorts your idea of what is quality, and also adds to the decline of products made in the USA.

What is ethically sourced clothing?

The good thing about the growing trend against fast fashion is there are tons of great ethically made brands you can choose from. Some of our favorite brands include Everlane, Patagonia, People Tree, Reformation, Tradlands, and, Yireh. Check them out!

What’s even cooler than ethically sourced clothing brands? A whole fashion show for the brands. A few years ago there even was a Fashion event called “Fashion Revolution Week.” The event was put on by a collaborative group of people called, “Fashion Revolution.

Their mission statement states, “We want to unite people and organizations to work together towards radically changing the way our clothes are sourced, produced and consumed so that our clothing is made in a safe, clean and fair way. We believe that collaborating across the whole value chain — from farmer to consumer — is the only way to transform the industry. Our mission is to bring everyone together to make that happen.”

People are working hard every day to not just produce ethically made clothing, but also educate on the importance of staying away from fast fashion. Below are 4 Ted talks that expand on this!

‘Fast Fashion’s Effect on People, The Planet, & You’ by Patrick Woodyard

Patrick Woodyard was introduced to the inhumane problems with fashion while working for a microfinance firm in Trujillo, Peru. Patrick first witnessed the corrupt world when he was introduced to the footwear industry in Peru.

Over 100,000 shoemakers were working in the industry where they faced unfair wages, lack of consistent work, and lack of access to international markets. He found that many of the Peruvians were extremely talented, but were treated so poorly.

Patrick quickly realized that this was a common thing in countries that were producers of fashion. He then founded Nisolo, which is a fashion brand that makes ethically-produced products, that are great quality.

His ventures with the fashion industry have led him across the world, ranging from Argentina and Peru in South America to Kenya and Uganda in Africa.

‘The Wardrobe To Die For’ by Lucy Siegle

Lucy Siegle is a journalist in the UK who has been active in writing about the fashion world since her career began. She runs a column called ‘Ethical Living’ for the Observer, where she details the problems the fashion world inflicts on both the environment and it’s people.

She places an emphasis on staying away from cheap fashion because most brands are involved in the world of fast fashion. She urges consumers to make a change in how frequently they buy, and where they buy from. While many critique it, she believes that it is still possible to be an ‘ethical fashionista.’ Just be aware of who is making your clothing and what goes into the brands – she states.

‘You Are What You Wear’ by Dr. Christina Dean

Dr. Christina Dean is the Founder and CEO of Redress. Redress is an NGO that works to promote transparent and sustainable fashion. She comes with an interesting background in dental surgery and journalism but has always been passionate about the environment. Dean has been awarded countless “green” awards for her work in the sustainable fashion world. She was named one of ‘2010’s Most Influential Women in Green’ by Coco Eco magazine, and one of the U.K.’s ‘Top 30 Inspirational Women’ by U.K. Vogue.

In this Ted talk, Dean reminds people of the importance of what they wear and knowing both where it came from and who made it.

‘The High Cost Of Our Cheap Fashion’ by Maxine Bédat

Maxine Bédat is the co-founder and CEO of Zady. Zady is a fashion lifestyle brand and a “lifestyle destination.” Bédat works, along with her team, to create a more transparent fashion brand, that holds a focus on creating a sustainable future.

Bédat begins her talk by asking: do you know where your clothes come from? Chances are unless you’re into sustainable fashion, you don’t! This isn’t a crime, but it’s also good to know where the things you’re buying come from.

A majority of Bédat’s talk addresses all of the environmental and human rights violations that the fashion industry infringes on. She doesn’t just lecture though, she gives solutions!

Bédat shows listeners how easy it is to take back your wardrobe by being more aware of what you are buying and wearing on a daily basis.