Why sustainable clothing matter?
Fashion is mostly seasonal and trend-based, and increasingly, being made as cheaply as possible to promote frequent or volume purchases, this allows most of the consumers to stay on trend and season without blowing their savings away. Our purchasing decisions can cause a number of detrimental impacts, socially but environmentally too. Sometimes, voting with our wallets is not so good, after all. The good news is that a growing number of companies out there are challenging the status quo. This article is going to talk about some ideas on how you can consider sustainability in your clothing purchase decisions, and why you should do just that.
Why choose sustainable fashion?
1. Working standards
You have probably heard all of those horrible stories about various manufactures using child labor and/or sweatshops in the production of their products. You have probably read stories about whole factories coming down on the underpaid workers, killing or seriously hurting many of them. Many of the journalists have investigated those horrible practices of large multi companies that have thousands of employees and shareholders, significant market shares, and a massive environmental and social footprint as a byproduct. These practices are not only illegal but also morally wrong. And we are all supporting them by purchasing cheap clothing over and over again.
2. Environmental degradation
An article about sustainable fashion would not be complete and whole without taking an in-depth look at the environmental impact that the fashion industry has:
Factory emissions – manufacturing facilities use electricity to operate and depending on what is used to power these facilities. In different parts of the world, manufacturing will worsen air pollution levels and contribute to global warming.
Amount of waste – An average American throws away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles every year! Most of these materials are going to end up in a landfill to make room for more disposable fashion.
Growing cotton – cotton requires a lot of water to be cultivated. Cotton also leads to degradation of the land and soil it sits on. This is not the cotton’s fault! All of the degradations of the land and soil come from pesticides and over-farming of the cotton.
What can you do?
While the picture that is presented above seems fairly bleak, there are some steps that you can take. It is always good to consider the impacts of your decisions and purchases.
At the bare minimum, the company you are buying from should have an environmental strategy or sustainability policy. Companies that care about things like these will communicate this and put it out in the open- the best way is on the website.
Read the label.
Always look for the place where the garment was made? You should always keep in mind that the rules around labeling clothing are somewhat of a grey area, and even something labeled as Made in Canada or Made in the USA might mean that the garment was only assembled in North America. However, it is always good to make an effort and check.
Several online retailers or marketplaces serve the market to promote sustainable and ethical brands. Shopping locally and ethically helps the planet and supports small businesses.