There are so many factors to consider when purchasing sustainable clothes. From the materials used, to the production of the products, you need to be sure that you are buying clothes that are made with fair labor practices. In addition, you should be aware of what is considered to be organic or upcycled fabrics.
Upcycling is a form of sustainable clothing that uses discarded or post-consumer textiles to make new products. These products are more environmentally friendly because they have fewer chemicals, use less water and have a lower impact on energy.
The fashion industry is one of the largest polluters in the world, producing a huge amount of waste. A large clothing chain can produce up to half a billion garments a year. Many unwanted shoes and clothes end up in landfills. To address this issue, some countries have implemented Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations, which make manufacturers responsible for the entire life cycle of their products, from design to disposal. EPR encourages companies to use more sustainable materials and design products that are easier to recycle, repair or reuse.
In 2012, 14.3 million tons of textiles were sent to landfills. That’s about one-fifth of the total municipal solid waste generated in the U.S. It’s a problem that the retail industry has been trying to solve.
Fashion brands are starting to invest in sustainable trends like circular manufacturing and upcycling. Companies such as Doodlage in India and Eileen Fisher in Seattle have both set up factories to produce their clothes from recycled materials.
Sustainable fashion designers are raising awareness about environmental issues, encouraging others to follow suit. Some of the most popular sustainable designers include Benjamin Benmoyal, Valerie Goode and Marine Serre.
Organic cotton has a lot of advantages, both for consumers and the environment. In fact, according to the Textile Exchange, organic production has doubled over the last year.
Organic cotton is better for the environment because it does not use GM seeds or pesticides. It also saves up to 91% of water. The soil is also a carbon sink, absorbing the CO2 in the air.
But how do you tell if a garment is made from organic cotton? Luckily, there are plenty of organic labels to choose from.
Some of the labels you might be familiar with include the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), NATURTEXTIL MN and the Regenerative Organic Alliance. Each one is designed to give consumers a basic understanding of how the product was produced.
But the best label might be the one that evaluates the entire production chain. For example, the ETI (Ethical Trade Initiative) is an alliance of trade unions, NGOs and companies who promote respect for workers’ rights and sustainable working practices around the world.
Fair labor practices
If you are looking for sustainable clothing brands, look for those that have implemented fair labor practices. By doing so, you will be helping to improve the lives of workers in the global fashion industry.
In the United States, the fashion industry has largely operated under labor standards for decades. However, it is now starting to face a serious discussion about its impact on the environment and on workers.
In addition to paying a living wage, companies must also provide their workers with a safe working environment. Fair labor ensures a healthy work environment by regulating child and forced labor, as well as proper waste disposal.
One way to do this is to adopt certifications that guarantee safe working conditions. This can help reduce transportation emissions, avoid toxic chemicals and avoid child labor.
Other initiatives include using ethical trade. Companies that practice ethical trade work with farmers to develop products that support their livelihoods. It also protects the environment, because companies do not use non-sustainable materials.
Millennials set on making an impact
Many consumers, including millennials, are set on making an impact with sustainable clothes. They are aware of the impact of fast fashion on the environment and are learning more about the production process. While looking good on the outside still takes priority, they are becoming more conscious of its impacts on the planet.
In addition, youth activists have put pressure on the apparel industry to reduce its carbon footprint. Some brands have responded by pledging to cut emissions. Others are setting their environmental concerns aside in favor of profits.
As the fashion industry undergoes a re-structuring, it is important to explore how millennials’ sustainability values are translated into action when it comes to their clothing. To this end, this study explores millennials’ purchasing intent. The findings are derived from a survey of 448 European millennials.
Using a standardised survey, the study tested its research model on these consumers. Purchase intent was found to be driven by both internal and external factors, and was guided by non-linear processes.