Composed by Vivien Huynh / Images of RŪPAHAUS

At RŪPAHAUS, we are proud to be a part of the ethical fashion movement. But what does it really mean? 

When we thought 2020 was our year of impact, we were asked to think again.

But the thing is we create impact everyday. And although a major percentage of our livelihoods still adhere to the certain standards that systems have propped up for us, as human beings, we’ve always tried to uniquely generate impact wherever we go.

This is what ethical fashion movement mean to us, how it all began – and this is why it’s here to stay.

What is the ethical fashion movement, really?

What is ethical fashion exactly?

Rather than converse on the topic of what ethical fashion is, the important aspect to the conversation is whether or not you know what it means. The ‘is’ part doesn’t do as much justice in comparison to how sustainable goods are perceived. Educating the masses over the years on the definition of this movement has been somewhat vague to say the least, but the tried and true inclusion of the values and practices behind ethical fashion is what really gets the ball rolling.

It’s difficult to pinpoint a concrete definition of ethical fashion. The idea is to understand the ethos in which the movement represents, instead of a blanket term that pertains to an entire cause.

It also does nothing to inspire the league of new generations in adopting sustainable clothing and incorporating it into their lifestyle. Audrey Stanton tells it best: something is holding people back from diving into a new kind of fashion. Forbes suggests this is due to the fact that there is so much ambiguity and not enough guidance for customers new to sustainable fashion.

Could this really be it? Is there not enough to go around for others to understand why fashion should be slow and ethical?

This is why we like to say that it’s more durable to refer to ethical fashion as a movement attached to each individual’s set of values, rather than a term to attach to the items you purchase. That it’s more digestible to break down your own set of beliefs, instead of looking at a tag that reads “100% ethically made” and call it a day. At RŪPAHAUS, we believe in finding the moments where you can  understand the impacts you made because it aligns with your values.

Fast vs Ethical

Fast fashion is the issue and ethical fashion is the solution. So it is said. And it’s true.

There’s a whole chain of causes down the list we could identify as reasons to move onto ethical fashion, because if you’re thinking “child labour and sweatshops” – don’t worry, you’re on the right track. Ethical Made Easy highlights this; that ultimately, ethical fashion is the saving grace to the ramifications of fast fashion.

As we’re living in a high demand society with an adverse mentality that things can be disposable, it’s concerning to see the alarming rate in which we consume, and in which businesses produce to meet these consumption habits. How often is the mental layout of a Zara store from the week before, no longer relevant upon your recent visit? To keep up with the storm social media has constructed, seasonal trends are implemented so frequently that it drives demand even higher – it’s an unending 360 degree circle of consumption.

We’re all culprits of the hysteria of fast fashion. Every one of us are responsible in some ways that go unrecognised, and that’s okay. Early understanding is what matters. Knowing that the choice to buy from a department store that consistently produces unequivocal amounts of clothing, and not being conscious of where that garment comes from or how it’s made – that’s fast fashion indulgence. That’s what it means to not shop ethically.

How you take to it is determinant of what your ethical values are.

So what are they exactly?

What it means to RŪPAHAUS

We can’t tell you what ethical fashion is – we can tell you where to begin, or what to look out for – but we can’t tell you.

The overarching question is really; what does ethical mean to you? For us being a part of what ethical movement is

  • Being transparent with our processes
  • Being responsible and accountable when it comes to who and what are involved in our processes.
  • Being able to not only describe but also demonstrate why our practices are ethical and sustainable.

Being transparent with our processes

Transparency with our processes through and through - is our ultimate focus and goal. This not only allows us to trace everything to the source, help us be responsible and accountable for everything we do, but also to allow us to do internal audit and find ways to improve our processes for the betterment of our artisans, our customers and our environment.

Being responsible and accountable

By having our own transparent supply chain, we can be responsible and accountable for every decision and choice we make at RŪPAHAUS. This gives us the integrity and ability to provide answers upon queries of where our clothing comes from and the labour undertaking of producing the very piece you hold in your hands.

Being able to describe and demonstrate why our practices are ethical and sustainable.

Ethical to us is allowing our community to bathe in the honesty of our designs and motifs, with the knowledge that each RŪPA weave came from a place with a practiced standard of ethical delivery. That the hues you see before your very eyes come from meticulous techniques, done in the most conscientious way possible.

This is what ethical means to us. And we hope it will mean something to you.

Maybe not right now, not tomorrow even – but perhaps in a stringent point in time where you’ll be made to question your choices – choose your own steady path to ethical sustainability. If you want to find out more about our practices and what is ethical fashion movement to us, read more about our artisans.

Demand your own prospects of setting the pace in making the world a little better. Tell us your view of what is ethical fashion movement in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you.