Kindness is the fashion industry’s latest trend

ByLeah ✨ Community Manager /

The fashion industry is one of the most lucrative industries in the world, but it’s also one of the most damaging to our planet. According to the World Economic Forum, the fashion industry produces 10% of all humanity’s carbon emissions and is the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply.

It’s no secret that the industry has long been criticized for being unethical—from poor working conditions to sweatshops to the use of child labour. But we are starting to see a shift in the way brands produce their clothes and how they can respond to the industry’s bad practices with kindness.

What does a kind company look like?

One company on a mission to change the world with kindness is Patagonia. Since 1985, Patagonia has donated 1% of their sales to environmental non-profits. The founder of Patagonia started 1% for the Planet as a way to tax themselves, or in his words, “[Pay] rent for our use of the planet.”

To date, 1% for the Planet has invested over $350 million in environmental protection.

Patagonia’s choice to donate is just one way they promote kindness to the earth. They also use recycled materials, reduce their carbon footprint at every step, and have a series showing customers how to repair their gear. Videos and repair guides include how to darn a hole in a knitted garment, install a zipper and patch a down jacket.

Patagonia encourages customers to repair or return their gear rather than throw it away. “The best thing we can do is keep our stuff longer and reduce our consumption in the process,” Patagonia’s Worn Wear video explains. They accept used items, repair them, and resell them at a significant discount. Buying secondhand can extend a garment’s life for another 2 years. Since Patagonia creates high-quality items and will repair items at no cost, they hope their clothing will last even longer. Patagonia’s commitment to durability, repairing gear, and saving the environment makes them a brand worth supporting.

Slow fashion is an act of kindness to the planet

Slow fashion is the opposite of fast fashion. Instead of making clothes fast and cheap, slow fashion prioritizes durable clothing that lasts. The clothes are often more expensive but won’t require constant replacement. Additionally, slow fashion brands pay their employees and garment workers a living wage, contributing to their price point.

Up until the mid-twentieth century, the fashion industry made clothes four seasons a year: fall, winter, spring, and summer. Designers would work many months ahead to plan for each season and predict the styles they believed customers would want. Nowadays, fast fashion has 52 “micro-seasons,” a new collection of styles and trends each week.

Slow fashion brands work against this concept, creating pieces or looks that won’t go out of style. For example, VETTA creates capsule wardrobes made up of five versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched to create a month’s worth of outfits. VETTA chooses sustainable, recycled, and deadstock fabrics, and its LA-based partner factory gets 70 percent of its energy from solar power. Their factory in India is a non-profit that trains and employs women in the slums of Mumbai! That’s what we mean when we talk about a kind business!

Slow fashion brands help decelerate the fast fashion cycle. By selling fewer pieces of clothing that last longer, they limit the amount of textile waste that arrives in landfills.

Is kindness the latest trend?

Every purchase we make is a vote for what kind of future we want. To create positive change, we need to hold companies accountable. We can also use our purchasing power to support brands that do good. It’s an act of kindness to buy from brands that make a difference. And while taking care of the planet may not seem like an act of kindness, ensuring future generations get to appreciate Earth’s beauty is a kindness that helps us all.

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