Fast fashion production has become so prevalent worldwide that it’s easy to expect clothing at a cheap price made from affordable materials. However, fashion and clothing production makes up 10% of annual carbon emissions worldwide. Knowing how to break the cycle of fast fashion can be tough, and looking for sustainable clothing can seem like a huge mountain to climb.
But, by doing a little research on brands and checking out their certifications, you can break the cycle of fast fashion and buy clothing that was made with the health of the environment in mind.
1 It will be much easier to find clothes from a sustainable source if you have a few brands in the back of your mind that you know about. There are a variety of sustainable fashion brands that you can shop at, and the right brands for you will depend on your personal style and budget.
2 If you’re on a website and you aren’t sure what their sustainability process is, head to their “About” section to see if they talk about sustainability at all. If they don’t have any info about sustainability, they probably aren't sustainable. Even if they have a wishy-washy, vague statement about sustainability, there's a chance they're not that sustainable either.
Some brands will use misleading words or phrases to seem sustainable when they actually aren’t, so you should also do outside research and check for third-party certifications in addition to checking a brand's website.
3 Some large companies have rolled out sustainable clothing lines that use different materials and more ethical practices than their normal lines do. There's some debate about whether these lines are really sustainable since they're still made by fast-fashion companies, but if you're going to shop at a major fashion company, it may be better to buy from their sustainable clothing lines to help show the company that sustainability is important to their customers.
4 If you do a lot of online shopping on your phone, it might be helpful to check on brands in an app that’s right on your device. Download the Good on You app then search the company you’re looking for to get a 1 to 5 rating on how sustainable and eco-friendly they are based on numerous factors.
5 Another way to find out if the brand you’re looking at is sustainable is to download the Done Good browser extension, then allow it to monitor your online shopping. It will automatically look at what you’re searching for, make recommendations on better, more sustainable brands to look at, and even give you coupon codes and deals to save you money.
6 The Global Organic Textile Standard, or the GOTS, is a certification that checks on the chemicals used in the production of clothing. It also takes into account the ethical and social responsibilities of the company and looks at the clothing packaging as well. You can search their website for brands and producers to see how they rank on the scale, then purchase items from companies who rank highly.
7 The Fashion Transparency Index does a new study every year, and they rank top brands based on their environmental and social impact. In their document, you can find brands rated on a scale from 0 to 100 focused on transparency and telling their customers where the clothing is coming from.
Then, you can look at those brands to see if they have any clothing that you like, and you can rest assured that you’re getting all the information about their sustainability.