At Cloud Hunter, we pride ourselves on carrying clothing, accessories, and gifts that are locally-made, sustainable, and ethical. We only use recycled and locally-sourced fabrics to create all of our in-house dresses, and strive to decrease our carbon footprint by minimizing both our own waste and waste within the fashion industry in general. We believe that fashion should go beyond just helping you look and feel your best. When done right, fashion has the power to change the world for the better.
On this page we’ll discuss what ethical fashion is, why it matters, and what you can do to help this growing consumer movement. Read on to learn more about why you should shop at our ethical and sustainable clothing store, and order a one-of-a-kind head-turning piece from our collection today!
What is Fast Fashion?
Have you ever fallen in love with a dress worn by one of your favorite celebrities, only to see nearly the same exact dress the next week on the shelves of H&M or Forever 21? Perhaps it seemed too good to be true. Well, it is. This is fast fashion — a global industry in which fashion moves quickly from the catwalk to the consumer and, ultimately, the garbage. Fast fashion clothes are not meant to last a long time, with over 60% of fabrics used coming from synthetics, 85% of which are unable to decay. Fast fashion involves increasing numbers of fashion collections, quick turnarounds, and low prices to meet consumer demand.
In order to understand fast fashion completely, it is important to give some historical context. Up until relatively recently, shopping for clothes was an occasional event.
The fashion industry ran on only four seasons a year: fall, winter, spring, and summer. About 20 years ago, however, things began to change. Clothes became cheaper as outsourced labor grew, resulting in trend cycles speeding up and shopping becoming a form of entertainment. Today, the fast fashion industry recognizes roughly 52 “micro-seasons” a year, about a new collection every week.
Powerful as it is, the fast fashion industry has not always had a smooth ride. In 1911 the Triangle shirtwaist factory in New York City set on fire, claiming the lives of 146 garment workers, most of them young female immigrants.The owners had locked the doors to prevent workers from taking breaks. In 2013 a garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed, resulting in the deaths of 1,134 people. Considered the deadliest structural failure in human history, the collapse happened after owners ignored warnings to evacuate the building, threatening to deny workers a month of pay if they refused to show up for work, despite visible cracks in the structure.
What Is Ethical Fashion?
Sometimes referred to as “slow fashion,” ethical fashion is a growing movement in the fashion industry that advocates for more mindful manufacturing, fairer labor rights, and longer-lasting clothing. It forges new relationships between fashion creators and consumers, fostering a heightened sense of agency over personal style and an awareness of the fashion industry’s impact on the world. Ethical fashion is environmentally-friendly, cruelty-free, and takes every step in the production process into account, from design all the way up to retail.
Why Ethical Fashion Matters
Fast fashion has claimed lives and maimed the planet. It has led to a culture of overconsumption and disregard for humanity, all in the name of appearing trendy. When you invest in ethical fashion, you invest in a better world. Sure, that Primark romper may look cute on the mannequin, but what about the living, breathing women and girls who earned next-to-nothing creating it? As sustainable fashion activist Livia Firth once said, “Fast fashion is like fast food. After the sugar rush, it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth.”
Below, we’ll discuss three major reasons why ethical fashion matters, and let you know a little more about our sustainable, vintage and vintage-inspired clothing and jewelry. Read on to learn more then check out our shop to browse beautiful, conscientious clothing that lasts. Small actions can lead to big changes. Buy from Cloud Hunter today to let the fashion industry know you’re not “buying it” anymore.
Ethical Fashion Helps Protect Mother Earth
While companies give a lot of lip service to “going green,” few businesses actually provide goods and services that are truly sustainable and eco-friendly. Cloud Hunter was founded by designer Megan Pearl out of a genuine love and respect for Mother Earth, and this passion drives everything that we do.
So, how exactly does ethical fashion have a positive impact on the environment? Ethical clothing is made through sustainable production practices, such as the use of recycled or deadstock material, in order to reduce water consumption and waste. It is also made using natural energy, in order to minimize pollution and reduce the carbon footprint of the fashion industry. Amazingly, the fashion industry emits more carbon each year than international flights, accounting for a staggering 10% of all of humanity’s carbon emissions. It is also the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply.
In addition, a 2015 study determined that 97% of materials used to create clothes are new, rather than recycled. This adds up to a yearly resource input of 98 million tons, accounting for a huge depletion of the planet’s already dwindling natural resources. At Cloud Hunter, we make all of our in-house fashion with recycled material sourced from deadstock and vintage warehouses in downtown Los Angeles. When you shop at Cloud Hunter, you can rest easy knowing that you haven’t had to sacrifice your values for the sake of looking great.
Infinite growth of material consumption in a finite world is an impossibility. - E.F. Schumacher
Ethical Fashion Is Animal-Friendly
The fashion industry loves to kill. Throughout human history, animals have been used as source materials for clothing and accessories. Today, a record-breaking number of animals are farmed to supply fur, leather, wool, cashmere and other materials for big-name designers. In fact, it is estimated that the leather industry alone is responsible for slaughtering over 430 million animals per year.
Cloud Hunter is proud to say that all of our products made with animal materials, such as our silk dresses, scrunchies, and other silk products, are created using upcycled fabric that would otherwise have gone to landfills. Even A-list celebrities, such as Cate Blanchett, Kristen Bell, Winona Ryder, and others are now embracing repurposed fabrics as a way to help reduce their carbon footprint and save animals’ lives.
Ethical Fashion Supports Human Rights
While we might think of slavery as a thing of the past, modern slavery does exist, and it could have helped create the clothes that you are wearing right now. Most new clothing is created overseas, using the labor of millions of factory workers. Many of these workers are young women and even children.
Unsurprisingly, human rights abuses in the fashion industry are rife. Apart from unlivable wages, terrible working conditions, lack of healthcare, and back-breaking hours, workers often have to deal with sexual harassment, free speech violations, unpredicatable firings, and other abuses. Buying ethical clothing helps empower women and children in developing countries by refusing to support unethical labor practices.
At Cloud Hunter, all of our clothing is made right here in Los Angeles with fair labor practices and exceptional working conditions. When you buy from us, you are helping to create more jobs in our community, and supporting a movement for USA-made, fair-wage clothing production.
It isn’t enough just looking for quality in the products we buy. We must ensure that there is quality in the lives of the people who make them. - Orsola de Castro
How to Spot a Fast Fashion Brand
Sometimes, spotting fast fashion is easy. Remember that cute skirt from Topshop that fell apart the third time you wore it? That’s fast fashion. Sometimes, however, fast fashion disguises itself as something more high-end. Just because a piece of clothing is pricier doesn’t mean that it was made using ethical practices. Even brands like Gap and Urban Outfitters are often not as shiny as their brand personas. Stop getting duped by seemingly conscientious brands by following these simple steps:
Ask yourself if the store you’re in seems to carry countless styles: Let’s get real — there’s no way they have that kind of ever-changing stock without cutting corners in terms of labor and/or environmental practices.
Look at the label: Clothes made overseas, particularly in Asia or Latin America, often come from factories that abuse human rights.
Assess the quality of the fabric, construction, and craftsmanship: Synthetic fabrics such as rayon and polyester are not only bad for the environment but prone to falling apart. Look for any messy seams or missing lining, as well as extra buttons, threads, or beads.
Do your research: Today, it’s easier than ever before to be a conscious consumer. Sites like Good on You offer extensive brand directories that rate everything from a brand’s environmental friendliness to their labor practices. Feeling lazy? We’ll do the work for you! Here are some popular fast fashion brands, including some that may surprise you:
United Colors of Benetton
Remember, the real price of clothing is much bigger than what you pay in the store. Next time you see a sale at one of these stores, resist the temptation to shop there. Instead, opt for ethical clothing, like the vintage and vintage-inspired dresses and accessories that we sell here at Cloud Hunter. Even if the price is higher than what you’re used to, it will pay off in the long run when you don’t have to keep buying new clothes every time your old style (literally) falls apart.
How To Support Ethical Fashion
Supporting ethical fashion doesn’t have to cost you massive amounts of time or money, and it may even save you cash in the long run. There are a variety of easy, everyday things you can do to help you save not only your wardrobe but also the planet.
Before throwing that cute cardigan into your shopping cart, take a look at the label and see if it was made overseas. Just because it was manufactured abroad doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s fast fashion, but it does greatly increase the likelihood.
In terms of mitigating your impact as much as possible, Bangladesh is known to provide the lowest wages out of all the major garment producing countries (China, India, Vietnam, and Bangladesh).The national monthly minimum wage for garment workers there is a mere $65. While India, China, and Vietnam generally have higher wages, they lack a national minimum wage, leaving a lot of room for abuse. Out of all four of the countries, China provides the highest wage, at an average of $150-338 per month.
The best way to support ethical fashion, however, is to refrain from purchasing clothing made in any of these countries altogether and opt instead for secondhand clothes or those made by ethical fashion brands such as Cloud Hunter.
At Cloud Hunter we LOVE all things thrift and vintage. There’s no better way to find one-of-a-kind, conscientious fashion than by raiding your local consignment, thrift, or vintage store. Not only are these stores perfect for fashionistas on a tight budget, but they also offer unforgettable designer finds, whether you’re shopping at Goodwill or a high-end vintage boutique. Best of all, many secondhand stores donate their profits and/or the clothing they can’t sell to vulnerable populations so you can feel good about not only your new purchases but also where the money you spent is going to.
At Cloud Hunter, we sell both vintage and vintage-inspired clothing made from upcycled materials, so no matter what you buy from us you’re supporting the sustainable fashion moment. Our vintage collection features retro purses, blouses, dresses, and so much more to help you embody the vibe of your favorite decade, whether that’s the 60s, the 90s, the aughts, or anywhere in-between.
With our vintage-inspired collection, you can emulate trends of the last century in new dresses, tops, blazers, and other clothing made right here in LA from deadstock fabric. Deadstock refers to merchandise that was never sold or used by consumers before being removed from sale. Typically, deadstock clothing and fabric is stored in large warehouses, such as the ones in downtown LA where we source our material. Most deadstock clothing ends up being incinerated, wasting perfectly good fabric that could otherwise be used to create something beautiful and unique.
It’s time we start investing in the circular economy by purchasing secondhand and upcycled clothes. Browse our store now to discover our vintage and vintage-inspired collections, and make a statement that you won’t stand for fashion’s dirty little secret anymore.
On the topic of buying vintage, all of those designer finds have to come from somewhere. The average consumer in the United States throws away a staggering 80 pounds of clothing annually. Not only is that a lot of waste that could otherwise be used to make new clothing or to clothe disadvantaged communities, but it also amounts to a huge strain on the planet. In fact, that amounts to an environmental impact per household that is equivalent to the amount of water needed to fill 1,000 bathtubs, and the amount of carbon emissions from driving a modern car for 6,000 miles.
The next time you think about throwing your unwanted clothes in the trash can, think again. Instead, donate them to your local thrift or vintage store and join the worldwide sustainable fashion movement.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
Buy High-Quality Clothes
The main reason why Americans throw away so much clothing is because clothes today last only a fraction as long as they did a few decades ago. In fact, the average lifetime of a piece of clothing today is a mere three years. With Americans purchasing 60% more items of clothing every year than they did 15 years ago, that amounts to a whole lot of fabric and money wasted that could otherwise be saved.
The best way to avoid constantly throwing out your clothes is to buy high-quality fashion that will last. Keep in mind that just because a piece of clothing is pricey doesn’t mean that it’s ethical. Higher-end designers such as Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and Ivanka Trump have repeatedly been accused of human rights abuses in their overseas factories. Most high-quality clothing can, however, cost you a pretty penny. While this may seem like a strain on your wallet in the short-term, it will ultimately pay off in spades in the long-run as your new clothes will last you exponentially longer than your old clothes did.
At Cloud Hunter, we sell exquisitely crafted, high-quality dresses, rompers, pants, and more that you will love for years to come.
Learn to DIY
With opposition to fast fashion becoming larger and louder, more and more people across the world are turning to making their own clothing as an act of resistance. Whether you teach yourself knitting, sewing, crocheting, or another fiber art, you are sure to love wearing your own creations.
Beginning a DIY project doesn’t have to cost you lots of money. In fact, there is a wealth of free ow low-cost material at your disposal — simply visit your local Goodwill or other thrift store and stock up on used clothing made with fabrics, fibers and yarns that you adore. You can then repurpose this material to make your own, unique clothes. Need a sewing machine? Many thrift stores will carry these too, at a fraction of the price that you would pay for buying a new one would.
Learning how to DIY also doesn’t have to cost you lots of time and money in terms of investing in in-person classes or books. A simple search on YouTube will reveal hundreds of DIY videos that can teach you everything from how to do a basic stitch to creating a bespoke evening gown.
Even if you’re not looking to create an entire wardrobe from scratch, learning how to DIY can help you fix small problems, such as stitching up a small hole or replacing a missing button, that would otherwise have led to you throwing perfectly usable clothing out.
Earlier on this page, we discussed the many environmental and human rights benefits of opting out of fast fashion. Since nearly all fast fashion is made overseas, one of the best ways you can support the sustainable fashion movement is by buying domestically-made clothes. Like it or not, in a capitalist society we vote with our dollars, and investing in American-made clothing contributes to the demand for ethical brands and labor practices. At Cloud Hunter, we source and make all of our clothing right here in Los Angeles, so you can rest assured knowing that you’re supporting small batch clothing production made with upcycled fabric.
Follow the #30Wears Rule
The 30 Wears Campaign was started by Livia Firth as a way to support the slow fashion movement. The idea is simple — before buying a new piece of clothing, ask yourself if you can imagine wearing it at least thirty times. If the answer is no, then put that dress/cardigan/romper back on the shelf and move on! Clothes should be for wearing, not gathering dust in your closet, and buying clothes but not wearing them only contributes to the demand for fast fashion.
Thirty times may not seem like a lot, but when you think about it, if you wore the same skirt once a week it would take over seven months before you have worn it 30 times. Therefore, it’s important to look for fashion that is versatile and, ideally, able to be worn in multiple seasons.
Before you make your next clothing purchase, ask yourself these questions:
Will I wear this at least 30 times?
Is this a high-quality piece?
Will this last at least 30 washes?
Will I still want to wear this in six months time?
Will I still want to wear this in a year’s time?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, you’ll want to look for another option. While this may mean that you have a smaller wardrobe overall, it does guarantee that the clothes you do have will be high-quality, versatile, and ones that you’ll love for years to come.
At Cloud Hunter, we’re proud to produce only high-quality, stunning clothes that will last you for years and are sure to become some of the most cherished pieces in your entire wardrobe.
Buy less. Choose Well. Make it Last. — Vivienne Westwood
Like many industries with late-stage capitalism, the fashion industry is constantly changing. The best way that you can stay alert to the latest in ethical fashion is by reading up on what’s new in the industry as much as possible. Some sites that we recommend include:
Good on You: This indispensable resource features a comprehensive brand directory which tells you how ethical most major and indie clothing brands are in terms of labor and the environment. They also run a great blog, with many tips, guides, and news articles on sustainable fashion.
EcoCult: With a tagline of “Sustainable fashion and travel for the conscious woman,” what’s not to love about EcoCult? Featuring information about practices such as indigenous fashion design, ethical diamond mining, and cooperative factory ownership, EcoCult can keep you in the loop on the latest ways to support sustainable and slow fashion.
The Green Hub: This Australian site features its own ethical brand directory, as well as a wealth of active blogs about slow fashion, ethical beauty and wellness, sustainable living, conscious travel, and more. With new articles posted everyday, The Green Hub is a great source for staying alert to the latest in slow fashion and conscious living.
Alyssa Beltempo: Fashion blogger Alyssa Beltempo specializes in all things slow fashion and mindful style. Her site features an array of resources for the conscious fashionista, including a Slow Fashion Closet Audit Guide, Track Your Shopping Worksheet, live and virtual workshops, an engaging and informative blog, and more.
Fashion Revolution: Fashion Revolution is a global movement made up of “designers, academics, writers, business leaders, policymakers, brands, retailers, marketers, producers, makers, workers, and fashion lovers.” Its aim is to create “a global fashion industry that conserves and restores the environment and values people over growth and profit.” It works to achieve this through awareness and mobilization campaigns, industry research, political advocacy, and more. Learn more, donate, and discover how you can take action at FashionRevolution.org
Stand With Ethical Fashion Now!
We hope that this guide to ethical fashion has inspired you to take action when it comes to revolutionizing the fashion industry in order to create a better world for people and the planet. One of the easiest ways that you can take action is by buying from brands that support the ideals of sustainable and slow fashion.
Cloud Hunter is your source for ethical, high-quality fashion, homeware, and accessories. Check out our vintage and vintage-inspired clothing collections, as well as our handmade 14K gold jewelry. Whether you’re treating yourself to one of our artisan products or gifting one to a friend, you can rest easy knowing that you’re making a tangible impact on the fashion industry and the world at large.
The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. - Alice Walker