TACOMA, Washington — Over the past several years, a new awareness has grown among consumers across the globe. With technology evolving faster than ever before, the world is entering an age of unprecedented rates of production. Unfortunately, with this explosion of production, countless unethical and unsustainable business practices have become more and more prevalent, as evidenced by the enumerable controversies surrounding Kylie Jenner’s growing brand. With these questionable business practices running rampant, the need for more ethical and sustainable brands is high.
Controversies Surrounding Kylie Jenner’s Brand
From the inception of her business model back in 2015 with Kylie Cosmetics, nearly all of Jenner’s endeavors have created some controversy. Allegations surfaced that she was copying clothing designs and other ideas from small businesses. Additionally, her employees have spoken out about alleged “sweatshop” working conditions. However, the recent allegation that Jenner failed to pay her workers in Bangladesh due to the COVID-19 pandemic has left a bitter taste in the mouths of consumers everywhere.
Despite these extreme allegations against Jenner, this business model is far from the minority. The fashion industry in particular has become increasingly unsustainable. An estimated 60% of all fabric fibers are synthetic, meaning they are derived from fossil fuels. These fibers have the potential to cause serious environmental damage when discarded. Additionally, the textile industry is infamous for a culture of exploitative labor, wage theft and general mistreatment of workers abroad.
Clearly, there are serious flaws in the industry, but what can we as individual consumers do? First and foremost, we can strive to shop ethically. Below are five ethical and sustainable brands to try for yourself.
Five Ethical and Sustainable Brands
- ABLE – Based in Tennessee, ABLE is a women’s apparel brand empowering women globally as a tool to fight poverty. ABLE employs women across the globe and provides extensive training and education. Furthermore, they fully invest in their workers so they can earn a living and break the cycle of generational poverty. With a wide range of products at reasonable prices, this brand is a great example of how businesses can put their best foot forward.
- Alternative Apparel – Alternative Apparel is another brand for fashion lovers, showing that ethical and sustainable production does not have to be pricey. Based in Georgia, Alternative Apparel is a Green Certified brand that uses 70% sustainable materials. Using recycled cotton, hemp-blends and 100% organic cotton, this brand offers a wide array of products. Furthermore, the brand promises to replace all virgin polyester in their fabrics with 100% recycled polyester by 2021.
- Glossier – Founded in 2014, Glossier has paved the way for a new cosmetic business model. As their cosmetic and skincare lines continue to grow in popularity, this brand has invested in cruelty-free production, vegan ingredients and diversity in their marketing and leadership. As a direct-to-consumer brand, Glossier prides itself on being built by its community. Therefore, it continues to invest in its community through donations and job production.
- PRESERVE – PRESERVE is an ideal brand for everyday essentials like food storage and lunch boxes. Offering products from toothbrushes to razors to kitchenware, all of their merchandise comes from 100% recycled materials. They also sell compostable plates, cups and bowls for guilt-free waste.
- Ten Thousand Villages – Based in Pennsylvania, Ten Thousand Villages is a global maker‑to‑market brand that sports a rotating stock of home goods made by artisans all over the world. Much like ABLE, this brand ensures that its employees earn a fair, living wage while working with women and people with disabilities. Ten Thousand Villages takes pride in their celebrations of countless cultures and traditions while helping workers develop financial independence to break the cycles of poverty.
As consumers, it is our responsibility to remain informed and use our money for good. Our choices can have a positive impact on the world around us, and supporting these ethical and sustainable brands is a great way to start.
– Angie Bittar