When you buy clothing, sustainability is probably the last thing on your mind. With so many trends, patterns, styles, and prices to consider, factoring in the environmental impact of your choice can seem like an overwhelming task. But considering that the fashion industry produces 20% of the world’s wastewater and 10% of global carbon emissions, choosing to shop sustainably is one of the most impactful decisions you can make as a consumer. Fortunately, there are many eco-friendly fashion brands that are bucking the mold and making environmental sustainability foundational to how they do business.
Priding themselves on corporate social responsibility, Alternative Apparel offers a full range of men’s and women’s clothes made with sustainable processes and materials. They have lines made with recycled materials, non-toxic dyes, organic fabric, and low water footprint washes. Not only do they strive to make a clean impact, their motions to provide a safe working environment to people globally stands out as an admirable business practice when so many companies are cutting corners.
Ecovibe knows all too well the importance of being conscious of impact in the fashion industry. They make a promise to do their best to offset the industry’s environmental impact by using Green-e Certified renewable energy and joining organizations like 1% For The Planet, meaning they give 1% of their sales to non-profits around the globe. You can feel good when you buy clothes from them.
People Tree is a unique clothing manufacturer that meets the Global Organic Textile Standard certification. That means their supply chain integrates organic cotton from farm to final product. Their cotton is not only organic but fair trade and is always dyed with azo-free dyes. They use efficient shipping methods and local sourcing to limit their carbon footprint and use recycled or biodegradable materials where possible.
Pact is another company focusing on its environmental impact from cotton use. Using eco-friendly, organic cotton, Pact has reduced energy use, fertilization, terrestrial acidification and water consumption, while producing fashionable and comfortable clothes. They also use PVC free packaging and oxygen bleach to lower their impact on the environment and provide transparent information about their clothing production.
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United by Blue
Founded in 2010, United By Blue makes a conscious and continuous effort to combat marine pollution by actually removing a pound of trash from the ocean for each item they sell. Not only are they funding this clean-up effort, employees are out on the front lines hauling tires out of rivers and removing plastic from natural areas. Their products are made with recycled materials, organic cotton and other sustainable materials. Check out one of their stores on the east coast or find their products in outlets nationwide.
Amour Vert makes a conscious effort to offset carbon emissions by planting a tree for every tee shirt sold. They partner with American Forest and have planted over 140,000 trees. When producing their clothes they use non-toxic dyes and incorporate an eco-friendly, zero-waste policy while maintaining a stylish approach to fashion.
Patagonia strives to eliminate waste and promote longevity with its durable outdoor and lifestyle clothing lines. They work hard to produce their clothes in energy efficient buildings and transport them to market using sustainable means. Employees can earn hundreds of dollars a year by biking to work or taking public transportation, cutting down on fossil fuels.
Using a variety of sustainable practices, Reformation cuts down on excess resource use and monitors its carbon footprint. They have transparent summaries of their clothing items and the environmental impact each makes, whether it be from CO2, Water, or waste. Reformation factories use 100% wind power as well as energy star appliances and LEDs. Through incentives and higher wages, Reformation is making it easier for employees to take public transportation and cut down on carbon emissions
Study NY has an eco-friendly, zero-waste philosophy when it comes to clothing production. They design clothing patterns to use fabric most efficiently. When there is fabric waste from production, they find ways to utilize it, making unique clothing items from fabric made of scraps of other clothes. Using organic cotton and repurposed material, Study NY sets a great example for the zero waste model in the fashion industry.
H&M’s Conscious Collection
H&M has set in place goals for sustainability that they are working to meet and expand upon. Not only do they wish to use all organic cotton by 2020, they set in place environmental requirements for members of their supply chain. In addition, their “Conscious Collection” is built on seven commitments to making the fashion industry more sustainable.