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Frequently Asked Questions

What negative side effects do pesticides and chemicals have as a result of use in the fashion industry?

Pesticide Action Network:

Conventionally grown cotton uses more insecticides than any other single crop and epitomizes the worst effects of chemically dependent agriculture. Each year cotton producers around the world use nearly $2.6 billion worth of pesticides — more than 10% of the world’s pesticides and nearly 25% of the world’s insecticides.  Cotton growers typically use many of the most hazardous pesticides on the market including aldicarb, phorate, methamidophos and endosulfan. Cotton pesticides are often broad spectrum organophosphates–pesticides originally developed as toxic nerve agents during World War II–and carbamate pesticides.  Pesticides used on cotton– even when used according to instructions– harm people, wildlife and the environment. These pesticides can poison farm workers, drift into neighboring communities, contaminate ground and surface water and kill beneficial insects and soil micro-organisms.”

Other Resources:

Textile Exchange


Why is there a need for change in fashion education?

Centre for Sustainable Fashion, London College of Fashion:

“We are currently experiencing a time of unprecedented crisis in both the economy and the environment: global turmoil in the financial markets, rising unemployment, climate change, food insecurity, water bankruptcy and the end of the era of cheap oil. Yet the opportunity exists for us to make use of these crises for positive effect; to utilise the period of reflection and questioning that accompanies such times for a sustainable advantage. To paraphrase Barack Obama’s special advisor, ‘it’s a shame to waste a good crisis'”

Other Resources:

Not Just a Label
North Syracuse Central School District


What can be done in organic makeup?

The Daily Green:

“Just because it says it’s “green” doesn’t mean it is. While there’s a lot of greenwashing garbage to be found on your local drugstore shelf, some trusted government and independent certification programs exist to give consumers reassurance that they’re buying a safe, trustworthy natural beauty products.”

Other Resources:

My Skin
Shirley’s Wellness Cafe
Campaign for Safe Cosmetics


What is ethical fashion?

Ethical Fashion Forum:

“Ethical fashion represents an approach to the design, sourcing and manufacture of clothing which maximises benefits to people and communities while minimising impact on the environment.”

“If you describe something as ethical, you mean that it is morally right or morally acceptable.” Collins English Dictionary”

Other Resources:

Audrey Magazine
Urban Times


What is the history of eco-fashion?

EcoFashion World:

“The birth of sustainable fashion really was quite a long while ago. It started once upon a time, with the tree-hugging hippie-influenced dedication to locally grown, pesticide free, and handmade products but has now grown into one of the most sophisticated and highly influential markets in the world, bleeding its value-based philosophies into every nook and cranny possible, in hopes of making the world better through fashion.”

Other Resources:

Hub Pages


Who are the some of the earliest pioneers in eco-fashion?

Marci Zaroff
Earth Pledge
Linda Loudermilk
People Tree

Other Resources:

Fashion Institute of Technology
The Ecologist


How does fair trade practice impact the fashion industry?

Thread Stories:

“I have pinned my faith to the spinning wheel. On it, I believe, the salvation of this country depends.”

– Mahatma Gandhi.

Gandhiji called for the swadeshi movement in 1919, when the industrial revolution produced cheap, good quality machine made textiles in abundance, flooding the market and shaking the Indian rural economy, lifestyle and livelihood. While on the one hand good quality cloth did become available at cheaper prices to the common masses, on the other hand, the poor lost their livelihood, traditional skills and source of earning. The call for the swadeshi movement was the peoples fight from an oppressive foreign rule and exploitative economy. The response was resounding and every national leader, freedom fighters and the people who dreamt of freedom, started spinning his/her own cotton and weaving his/her own fabric – wearing Khadi was a statement of self reliance, a symbol of freedom.

Other Resources:

Indigenous Designs
University of Delaware


What value does recycled clothing have? Why recycle fabric?


“Annually NYC residents throw away approximately 200,000 tons of clothes, towels, blankets, curtains, shoes, handbags, belts, and other textiles and apparel. Why New Yorkers sometimes choose to toss out rather than donate their unwanted clothes is believed to be a matter of convenience.”


“Each year the billion-dollar fashion industry results in over 90 million items of clothing in landfill sites globally. This, along with a laundry list of other assorted harrowing industry statistics, moved Myriam Laroche to launch ecoFashion Week in Vancouver, Canada’s greenest city.”

Other Resources:

The Guardian


What is politics doing about health concerns in ethical fashion?

EcoChic Magazine:

“Changing our perceptions and our culture is difficult. What we can all do, including the Government, is recognise the need for change and recognise the social, economic, scientific and commercial pressures that make that change necessary, and to acknowledge it and make it part of our overall vision for a sustainable and green future.”


What are the courts saying about organic farming? What is the role of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in textiles?

O Ecotextiles:

“In the United States, we haven’t heard much about genetic engineering, because in 1992, the FDA unilaterally decided (in its opinion) that as long as a GM food is no more toxic, allergenic, or any less “substantially equivalent” than its standard counterpart, it need not be labeled to show the process that created it. That is quite different from the European labeling laws, introduced in 1997, which required that any food containing residues of engineered DNA or protein must be recorded as GM.

So what is it about genetic engineering that has these other governments and organizations so concerned?  Part of the problem may be that the scientific community does not like the unknown, and it seems to have not reached a consensus on the safety of these products for our health or for the environment, although it’s hard to determine what interests are behind which studies.”

Other Resources:

GMO Compass
Bill Moyers
Digital Journal


What’s happening in other countries beside the US?

Audrey Magazine:

“Bhalo is all about justice and fairness for the people who make our fashion.” She believes strongly that we should be capable of helping these third world countries. “We feel bad for these people; why not make that change within our lives?” Many fashion companies play a huge part in making these third world countries stay poor. “We are getting these items for cheap, because these people are getting paid cheap. I’m not going to be apart of that. When it comes to clothing, it is very sad how people can be mistreated just for the clothes on our backs.” After overcoming challenges and putting 100 percent effort into this label, what Jessica cares about the most is the welfare of those women in Thanapura.”


How does the fashion industry affect water?

EcoFashion World:

“The fashion industry has a huge, tangible impact on the world’s water supply. Growing cotton accounts for 2.6% of the world’s yearly water usage. One t-shirt made from conventional cotton represents 2700 liters of water, and a third of a pound of chemicals, which often contaminate water supplies. The famous look and feel of cotton can come at a high price for regions that grow it, but can the fashion industry be its own savior?”

Other Resources:

Elena’s SC Blog
Citizen Zone