Fashion choices are usually driven by what makes us look good, but how about what make us feel good? Slave labour, toxic water pollution and habitat loss are hardly heart-warming topics. It’s time to really talk about making sustainable fashion choices.
Here are some ideas to kick you off:
Seek out ethical brands
Sustainable fashion is a small but fast-growing sector within the industry. A few brands are really making their mark with their commitment to finding more people and planet-friendly ways to deliver quality fashion. The demand for sustainable fashion is rising too, as consumers become more aware and educated. Sustainable means more than just environmentally friendly – make sure to look into a brand’s social sustainability as well. How do they treat their workers and wider communities? Companies like ASOS, for example, are leading the way in human rights and educating their workers about ethical practices.
Skip the synthetics
Avoid petroleum-based fabrics such as polyester and nylon. Not only do they increase demand for oil extraction, they are also directly responsible for polluting our waterways with tiny microfibre plastics every time they are washed. One possible exception to this rule could be to support those brands who are actually extracting plastics from our oceans and recycling them into wearable fashion such as trainers, and even swimwear!
Head down to a local crafts market or artisan boutique and seek out the homegrown creative talent from your area. Sourcing fashion locally can be more environmentally, socially and (ultimately) economically sustainable. You may end up paying slightly more than you would ordering online from some faceless factory in China. But you will be rewarded with the knowledge that the person who made your clothes has been fairly paid for their efforts. Not to mention that the carbon footprint has been minimised.
Non-organic plant-based fibres are produced using huge quantities of pesticides and water. As well as being processed with harmful chemicals such as bleach. Luckily for us, organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, silk, wool and linen fabrics are all available from sustainable clothing brands.
Invest in quality
Throw-away fashion has got a bit out of hand on our high streets. With ludicrously low prices on offer for poor quality, synthetic garments created by underpaid workers. Try consciously shifting your shopping habits towards buying less stuff and making it last longer. Invest in timeless fashion pieces – produced from quality materials and workmanship – that will stand the test of time.
Related post: Over consumption is killing the planet
Do your research
Brisbane-based sustainable fashion magazine Peppermint can help you keep up to date with the latest developments in the sector. You can also keep up with ethical bloggers like myself from the Ethical Influencers directory.
Make sure you are leading the fashion pack when it comes to innovative materials and hot new ethical brands by keeping up with industry news. If you want to find out how your favourite brands measure up. Baptist World Aid Australia releases an annual Ethical Fashion Report, which grades various fashion brands on the social sustainability of their supply chain.