MFI Blog

Ethical Fashion: What is it and why can’t we ignore it?

Climate change and global pollution are phenomena with which the fashion industry has very strong ties. In a market increasingly driven by the unbridled logic of consumption and Fast Fashion, professionals in the Fashion sector are called to an important challenge: to rethink the environmental and social impact of the entire industry.

When we buy a garment online – very often at a low cost – are we aware of the fact that behind that small price, there are a series of factors such as the poor quality of materials, the exploitation of labor, and the pollution of water and soil to weigh? Here, Ethical Fashion wants to be that shared approach – and particularly felt by Generation Z – that contributes to the growth and diffusion of sustainable production and consumption practices worldwide.

Ethical Fashion vs. Fast Fashion: Which side to be on?

One of the pillars on which Ethical Fashion is based is transparency, which is reflected in fair compensation, suitable conditions and employment contracts, cruelty-free production activities, and above all, full compliance with environmental regulations.

This means that Ethical Fashion and Sustainable Fashion – a term we hear about often and that seems more familiar to us – are not exactly the same thing. Sustainable Fashion, in fact, deals with reducing the environmental impact of Fashion through greater attention to raw materials, trade-in products, and conscious use of energy sources. Ethical Fashion therefore embraces Sustainable Fashion and, thanks to it, aims to revolutionize – in the short and long term – the entire production system composed of people, the environment, and animals.

But if on the one hand, we have quality, sartorial know-how, and research of new materials, on the other we find the increasingly widespread Fast Fashion system: low-cost products and fast delivery times. Also thanks to the echo of the trends spread by influencers on Instagram and TikTok, Fast Fashion shows accessible garments thanks to which each of us can buy a different product every day, follow current trends, and always feel fashionable.

Fast Fashion has therefore built a “fashion democracy”: saving on the quality of fabrics, workers’ wages, and respect for the environment in favor of very low-cost goods. The poor quality of the products also determines a replacement (and a demand) of the same higher: the disposal of textile waste is then one of the main causes of pollution worldwide.

But in all this, many brands, including GUCCI, have seen the opportunity to rethink their production system through strategies, awareness campaigns, and initiatives to reposition themselves in a different way, closer to Ethical Fashion. How interesting it is?

Ethical Fashion: virtuous examples and new trends

If Fast Fashion promotes consumerism and speed out of the ordinary, some of the most influential brands in the world have chosen to embrace the cause of the Fashion Revolution: the non-profit movement that, on a global scale, deals with turning the spotlight on the issue of transparency in the fashion industry.

Very famous was the hashtag launched on Twitter between 2014 and 2020 #WhoMadeMyClothes which immediately jumped to first place among search trends. In this case, big brands such as H&M, Adidas, Everlane, Zara, and Eileen Fisher have made public their intentions regarding transparency and sustainability of their production practices.

After this great echo, Ethical Fashion has gained even more strength thanks to another series of initiatives launched by brands such as:

– Patagonia, which through the Worn Wear program invites consumers to take better care of their clothing and repair it, without necessarily having to buy new ones;
– Stella McCartney, who in recent years has publicly set out her goals in the McCartney Manifesto from A to Z and has launched policies and new guidelines for her suppliers;
– Timberland, which with the Plant the Change campaign is committed to planting 50 million trees. In addition, the manufacturer has given an environmental and ethical turn to its work thanks to soles made with sugar cane and a waterproof lining from 50% recycled plastic bottles;
– Pangaia, which uses natural fibers and textile materials with reduced environmental impact through the reuse of food waste such as banana leaves, pineapple, bamboo, seaweed, and eucalyptus.

If the goal of Ethical Fashion is to give new life to the sector through the use of recycled and innovative materials, guarantee decent working conditions, and reduce environmental impact and carbon footprint, then there is a need for a new generation of professionals who have the preparation and predisposition to think big.

Create the foundations for your future in Ethical Fashion with Milano Fashion Institute

As already mentioned, Generation Z is very attentive to the demands of social, environmental, and sustainability transparency: more and more companies in the sector are therefore looking for young people who know how to bring added value to their reality.

The Master in Fashion Direction: Brand & Sustainability Management of Milano Fashion Institute has been designed to develop your green soul through the acquisition of unique managerial and creative skills. Alongside the study of the most advanced commercial and communication tools and strategies, you will have the opportunity to touch innovative materials, such as Tencel.

You will also have the opportunity to experiment with approaches to give new life to garments and transform them into luxury products or new collections, analyze current trends such as upcycling, second hand, and vintage and understand all phases of product creation, management, and distribution.

In addition to this, there will be opportunities to explore problems, challenges, and new scenarios offered by the world of Ethical Fashion.


The biggest brands of the Fashion System have already started the process of change towards an Ethical Fashion aware and respectful of human, environmental and social rights.

But to take part in change, participating is not enough: you have to play an active role. To affirm your sustainable vision and the creativity that characterizes you, preparation is fundamental.

All the Masters of Milano Fashion Institute guarantee you a multilevel growth path and in an international context full of prospects.

To receive more information on the programs or on how to enroll our Masters, visit the appropriate page: here you will find a form in which to write to our Tutors all the questions or curiosities you want.

Download the Application Form for MFI Masters

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