In a consumer centric world where fast, cheap, and convenience are placed on a pedestal, we can easily throw the idea of sustainability to the wayside. Whether you shop for clothing based on performance, quality, or to express your personal style, have you considered how sustainable your clothing is? Sustainable fashion is not a trend, but rather an ethical movement where companies and consumers are environmentally conscious of how clothing is produced, distributed, marketed, and consumed. The fashion industry is gradually working towards a more sustainable approach to minimize their global footprint. Of course, not all fashion brands are on board with the movement or mindful of their sustainability efforts. It is important as consumers that we are aware of who we exchange our dollars with and how we shop. Below are three conscious ways to help keep your closet sustainable and fashionable.
Think twice before throwing clothes you no longer wear directly into the garbage or buying clothes directly from a retailer. Upcycling provides a longer life for clothing that would otherwise end up being hurled into landfills. Upcycling involves saving clothing that is no longer being worn to be re-purposed or re-used. Thrift shopping is one of the most popular alternatives when purchasing clothing because it is easily accessible. Poshmark, ThredUp, Depop, and shopping in person at your local thrift or consignment shop are effective places to shop sustainably. Consider having a clothing swap with friends and family or simply embracing the old school method of hand-me-downs. If you are feeling crafty and creative, turning used clothing into a new piece of clothing, art piece, rag, or other useful item can be an option as well to upcycle.
For a quick guide on how to go about thrift shopping at your local store, click here.
2. Recycled Materials
Clothing brands are looking to recycled materials as a means of sustainability efforts. Fabrics and materials can be produced with recycled resources. Keep an eye out for clothing tags when shopping online or in store that state the garment has been fully or partially made from recycled materials. Below are a few clothing brands embracing recycled materials.
Volcom: Recycling nylon fishing nets to produce ECONYL yarn used in producing their Simply Solid Swim bathing suit line. When shopping on the Volcom website, look for the Signature Details section of the clothing description to learn about any recycled materials used to produce the item.
Patagonia: The first outdoor clothing company to embrace recycled materials by producing fleece from plastic bottles. Patagonia has a laundry list of sustainable efforts and recycled materials. From recycled down, wool, cotton, nylon, and polyester, Patagonia does not fail to deliver sustainable fashion. They are a leader in sustainable fashion, especially when it comes to their Worn Wear initiative to invite customers to send in their used Patagonia clothing in exchange for store credit. You may also find them on tour near you repairing clothing by needle and thread.
3. Eco-friendly Packaging
The sustainable fashion spotlight does not only shine on the actual clothing products, but also on the marketing aspects that contribute to the full shopping experience. Marketing materials such as tags, bags, tissue paper, shipping boxes, labels, stickers, pouches, and more cause excess waste in landfills. Production of these items can be made sustainably by brands utilizing recycled papers and plastics, reducing the amount of packaging needed, and using compostable materials. Additionally, re-usable packaging is a on the rise as well. Be on the lookout for packaging that aligns with sustainable practices. Below are a few brands adopting eco-friendly packaging.
Burton: By 2020, Burton’s goal is to have 100% recycled and compostable packaging. They also are dedicated to using the right amount of packaging for each product to reduce excess waste. Search for a bluesign tag attached to their clothing to purchase responsibly manufactured clothing.
Lululemon: As one of the most recognizable fitness clothing brands, Lululemon is committed to using re-usable tote bags as opposed to throw-away plastic bags. Not only are their totes stylish, but they are made of durable materials to last.
Boyish Jeans: The LA based vintage jean company, Boyish Jeans is a social media marketing leader when it comes to educating their customers on the fashion industry’s global footprint. In their efforts to move towards zero waste, their packaging is made from recycled materials and is compostable.