In this day and age, we are far more aware of the world around us. Responsibility and ethics is something that is becoming increasingly important to us as consumers. So what is the fashion industry doing about it?
When it comes to the question ethics, what do we actually mean? Is this related to the treatment of the workers who make the products, the treatment of animals if by-products are used, or the environmental concerns? Ethical production actually encompasses all of these things, covering ways of reducing harm to the environment as well as human and animal welfare.
It’s a broad area to look at, and as a blog post could get very in depth! With this in mind, I’ve decided to take a look at one area of fashion with brands that do have an ethical stance: shoes. This is an area that has been challenged by the constraints of producing attractive, fashion forward designs with corporate responsibility.
Leather is a material that is so tied into our consciousness as essential for the production of shoes, certainly formal and dressy shoes, that we tend not to think about alternatives. Many companies have begun to use different materials and processes when taking the environment into consideration.
Terra Plana is one such company, making it their forte to explore new manufacturing techniques. Thinking about the Earth’s resources, this British footwear brand has been doing their bit to protect the planet. Their footwear is made from materials that have been made to be recyclable, limiting their impact on the environment.
There has also been a great deal of innovation too, not only with this brand, but for many other ethically motivated companies too. Leather processing can involve the use of a lot of chemicals that can cause environmental damage.
New methods, new materials
Materials such as vegetable leather – leather that uses environmentally friendly vegetable tanning – as well as leather without chromium and latex are all used in manufacture. Terra Plana have even created their own material called ‘E-Leather’, which has been made from a mixture of textiles and leather.
It’s not just recycling that Terra Plana encourages in its footwear production. More and more footwear companies are following suit. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to eliminate the CO2 output from factories, but donations are made to counteract this effect to go to other environmentally conscious projects.
Many fashion footwear brands are also involved in the Fairtrade Foundation too. By investing and trading through this organisation, it helps to support workers in developing nations. Fairtrade ensures that workers are given a fair wage, which helps to develop the local community and general working conditions.
These developments highlight the steps that the fashion footwear industry is taking to improve things, not only for the environment, but for the workers too. Hopefully some of these steps will be adopted by more brands!
Fashion that is Different brings a great choice of women’s fashion and footwear designers such as Terra Plana, Lola Cruz and more.