Greenhouse gases are heating up the planet, entire species are dying out, and our supply of clean water is dwindling. The fact is that fashion takes up more than its fair share of the planet's resources. But right now we have the opportunity to make real, meaningful changes. By rethinking our practices and adopting new, sustainable ways of consuming, we can reverse this dead end course. Slow fashion is not just the latest hot trend. It is a transformation that is changing the way we create and consume. Read on to discover seven things you should look for in a sustainable fashion brand.
One of the most unsustainable practices is throwaway or ‘fast’ fashion. More than half of fast fashion winds up in a landfill in less than a year. You can make a big difference by buying from brands that create pieces that are designed to last, and that includes jewelry. Invest in products from smaller companies that are committed to sustainable practices. In doing so, you’ll find items that are not only more durable, but also more valuable, like unique engagement rings. You want your gems to look as good on your 30th wedding anniversary as they do on your 1st.
When you’re shopping, it is important to consider not only how many times you will use a particular item but where it will go once you no longer want it. Synthetics are very difficult to recycle, and that includes blends. Whenever possible, choose 100% natural, organic fibers. More and more brands are offering store credit to consumers in the form of ‘take back’ programs. Other options include the rapidly-growing niche of online resale. Make a few bucks while keeping your stuff out of landfills, a winning solution all around.
The fashion industry is one of the most polluting sectors in the world. Apparel and footwear alone create more waste than all airline flights and maritime shipping combined. Seek out brands that not only know what their carbon emissions are, but are taking steps to mitigate them. You can cut your own carbon footprint by wearing your clothes for longer. Just one year of extra wear can cut your personal carbon emissions by about 30%.
Have you ever considered what went into making your clothes, like chemicals, dyes, or an excessive quantity of water? Creating a pair of jeans uses an incredible amount of all of these. Look for businesses that participate in sustainable organizations such as the Better Cotton Initiative. Take a pass on any brand that isn’t willing to share its practices.
What you don’t see when you cozy up in your favorite pjs is that many crops are grown using forced and child labor. Also, cotton frequently requires large amounts of fertilizers and pesticides, exposing farmers to toxic doses of chemicals. Sustainable practices in the fashion industry include fair wages and safe working conditions for the workers everywhere in the world. Seek out products that prove their commitment to living wages and job safety.
We truly are a global community. Your clothes and accessories have likely traveled farther than you ever will. But this far-flung production has the result of hiding the true cost of an item. If a company won’t tell you about its supply chain, meaning where it gets its base materials or how it ships goods, track down the information online. Through the power of the internet, consumers have become informed. They can also let other know when businesses behave badly.
There’s talk and then there’s action. Businesses that put their money where their mouth is are the ones to invest in. When the beliefs of brands and consumers align, that’s when real change happens. Solid values that help the entire planet thrive will always come out on top.