Sustainable fashion brands aren’t about seasonal colors or must-have style trends. They’re all about sustainable use of resources and ethical practices.
The need for sustainable fashion brands is becoming glaringly apparent as the textiles industry wreaks havoc on our planet. The processes involved in making clothing – for both plant-based and synthetic textiles – use a lot of water and create a lot of waste that harms people, animals and water sources. There’s no such thing as “eco-friendly clothing” because it takes resources – water, labor, land, energy, etc. to produce textiles, but some brands have committed to being more sustainable.
Here’s what they considered when evaluating sustainable fashion brands:
1. Water usage: Fashion uses a lot of water to both produce and manufacture textiles and clothing. Some brands are evaluating their practices to see where they can use less water.
2. Hazardous chemicals: Dyes and finishes from the production processes are dangerous for both workers and water. Some brands are finding new, less toxic processes and evaluating how they create and manage wastewater.
3. Short lifecycle: Like fast food, “fast fashion” is great for the producers but it’s making the planet sick. Sustainable fashion asks consumers to buy less and use things longer. “Thrifting” never meant more to the planet.
4. Waste: Short clothing lifecycles translate into more trash. People in the United States throw away clothing and other textile products by the ton every year (the EPA actually keeps track). “Reduce, reuse, recycle” means never throwing away a garment again.
5. Agriculture: The connections between water and fashion are numerous. plant-based fibers like cotton use a lot of irrigation water and are often grown using pesticides and other chemicals that are harmful to people and animals. Synthetic fibers come from oil and gas production, which uses and pollutes a lot of water. Buying less clothing means using and polluting less water.