Modavanti: Fashion as a force for good
Modavanti, a sustainable fashion retailer, aims to sell clothes that are produced in an ethical fashion.
The fashion industry is very wasteful and polluting, and many fashion companies have tried to find a solution, by creating programmes such as H&M’s conscious foundation, which holds an annual Global Change Award contest, or with Zara’s first sustainable collection. According to Ecowatch. Eileen Fisher – founder of the eponymous women’s clothing brand – went as far as claiming, “the clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world… second only to oil.”
Alarming statistics are reported by Pure Waste, which states that textile occupies nearly 5% of all landfill space, and CollapseNews , which reported that it takes 15 to 17 gallons of water to dye each individual clothing product. Jacqueline Jackson, author of “ Assessing the Environmental Impact of the Fashion World”, explained that by 2030, demand for water will exceed supply by 40%. This problem arose from what Green Peace named fast fashion. Fast fashion is made up of chains like Primark, Zara, Topshop, Forever 21, and similar low-price fashion brands which produce plenty of low quality clothes and sell them at attractive prices. Green peace states that “over the last five years, the top fast fashion retailers grew 9.7 per cent per year, topping the 6.8 per cent of growth of traditional apparel companies.”
The fashion industry can have devastating effects on the planet but also takes part in questionable social practices. Indeed, The Guardian reported that: “The ILO estimates that 170 million are engaged in child labour, with many making textiles and garments to satisfy the demand of consumers in Europe, the US, and beyond” . Furthermore, according to LabourEconomics, the fashion industry employs over 25 million workers in over 100 countries, and “garment workers are long working hours and forced overtime. Employees normally have to work between 10 to 12 hours, sometimes 16 to 18 hours a day. When a factory faces order deadlines, working hours get longer” Even worse, Labour Economics also reported in the same article that in some factories, workers do not have access to clean water or the permission to use the toilets when they need to.
Despite these issues, the fashion industry shows no signs of stopping its growth or waste. FashionUnited reports, ‘The global apparel market is valued at 3 trillion dollars and accounts for 2% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).’
The UK fashion industry is also doing well , since as reported by Treehugger, consumers in the UK have an estimated £30 billion worth of unworn clothes in their closets.
The Fashion industry has a very damaging impact on the environment, as pointed out by Triplepundit: “The environmental impacts of fast fashion range from chemicals used to produce textiles, which can pollute rivers and oceans, to high levels of both pesticide and energy use.”
To battle this unwanted waste and pollution, David Dietz founded Modavanti in 2012. Modavanti is an online retail website where customers can choose from a big range of socially conscious and sustainable fashion brands. Dietz explains: “I founded Modavanti to be a destination for consumers to find clothing that fits their values and style. Modavanti is all about fashion for good, representing brands with a social mission that are positively impacting the environment and labor issues.”
David Dietz and his team aimed to create a platform where the customers find it easy to make a socially conscious choice: “There are a lot of brands out there that exist, but no retailer dedicated to sustainable fashion.
“Finding these brands and doing the research was dizzying and time consuming, so we make it easier for the socially conscious consumer to find all the brands the customer wants to support in one place.”
A quick scroll through the website shows pricier than average items. For Dietz: “We can’t continue on this incredible path towards waste and planetary destruction. Fashion, when produced responsibly in a way that positively impacts others and minimally impact the earth, can play an enduring role in creating the world we want to see.”
As consumers we should ask ourselves if low prices are worth the impact on the planet and the bad labour conditions in which these clothes are made? Or should we buy less clothes, and instead invest in more expensive clothing if it promises to be a sustainable product with better quality?
Fast Fashion can even be made at the cost of human lives, a Bloomberg article explains: “More than 700 garment workers have died since 2005 in Bangladesh, says the International Labor Rights Forum, a Washington-based advocacy group. Labor rights activists are urging global merchants to help pay for safety upgrades at about 4,500 Bangladesh factories.”
The impact on the planet is also very important. Journalist Elizabeth Cline explained in an interview with NPR: “Disposable clothing is damaging to the environment and the economy. We are more likely to dispose of cheaper, mass-produced fashion garments than pricier ones.”
In the same article, Adam Baruchowitz, founder of Wearable Collections in New York City, discussed the impact that fast fashion has on other businesses: “It’s very damaging to the environment, this fast fashion culture, and it also affects the secondhand market because these clothes aren’t meant to be used for so long.
“I can’t say for sure, but the secondhand H&Ms would probably be in less demand than a garment that was produced with more quality. I’m getting all this stuff from fast fashion and I’m hearing from clients that it’s hurting them.”
For Modavanti, the choice is clear: “We believe there needs to be a paradigm shift in how we purchase clothes.”
The founder added: “Why wouldn’t you shop sustainably if a brand matched every quality you looked for in a generic brand and on top of that promoted women’s economic equality, or was organic cotton and pesticide free, or made in a local factory in your community?”
This reflects the company’s philosophy, which is “Fashion as a force for good”.