When you shop for fast fashion brands, adding new pieces to your wardrobe is cheap and easy. But this approach to shopping isn’t great for the planet or its people. Instead, fast fashion — meaning the budget-friendly brands that populate virtually every mall — is rife with environmental and ethical issues.
Fortunately, there’s a far better way to shop. When you buy sustainable clothing, you can do your part to reduce waste, decrease pollution, and protect people who depend on the fashion industry for their livelihood. Use this short guide to learn how to buy sustainable clothing that looks great too.
Look for Natural and Organic Materials
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One of the simplest ways to ease into sustainable fashion is to purchase natural and organic materials. The material that goes into organic clothing doesn’t use pesticides, which can reduce the impact on the environment significantly. Although organic cotton is the most popular, you can also purchase clothing made with organic linen.
Many sustainable clothing brands also embrace natural materials over synthetic fabrics. Not only do many natural materials last longer, but wearing them can also decrease laundry-related pollution. For example, washing a load of acrylic clothing can release more than 728,000 plastic microfibers, harming the water supply.
Choose Quality Over Quantity
Fast fashion constantly goes out of style and falls apart, requiring you to purchase new pieces regularly. To make the shift to a sustainable wardrobe, prioritize quality over quantity.
Look for brands that specialize in clothing made to last and designed to be durable. An easy way to do this is to seek out labels with timeless styles that aren’t likely to go out of fashion soon — or ever.
Buy From Ethical Businesses
Many sustainable brands go beyond pledging to better the environment. They also have a sense of social responsibility and a commitment to give back to the community.
Some brands do much more than simply adhering to local labor laws. They provide living wages and healthy working conditions. Others partner with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to build community programs that benefit the entire area.
When you first start building a sustainable wardrobe, it’s easy to embrace every brand that appears eco-friendly. However, not every brand is as sustainable as it might seem. Greenwashing is a common problem in the fashion industry, meaning that some companies position themselves as eco-friendly when they don’t follow sustainable practices.
To avoid being misled by greenwashing, don’t accept clothing brands’ sustainable statements at face value. Look for facts and statistics to back up what they say, such as the amount of pollution they’ve eliminated or the percentage of sustainable materials they’ve adopted in their manufacturing.
The same goes for social responsibility statements. Rather than taking clothing brands for their word, review the data and make sure they’re genuinely making a difference.
Buying sustainable brands is a stylish and environmentally friendly choice when you’re building your wardrobe. With these tips, you can positively impact the planet while making a unique style statement.