Today, environmental damage is rapidly occurring on a global scale. And there are many reasons and causes for this. Global warming is one, deforestation, over population are some others. The list is long. In a small way, the retail & clothing industry contributes to environmental damage too. The good news is that sustainable fashion addresses this issue. Sustainable clothing is designed using sustainable fabrics like organic cotton, hemp, and Pima cotton that have less of a negative impact on the planet.
In this blog, we will discuss the rise of sustainable clothing and its benefits. We will also discuss marketplaces for sustainable fashion.
The fashion industry emits numerous greenhouse gases annually. Most clothes are made from fossil fuels and require significantly more energy in production. Sustainable brands often use natural or recycled fabrics that require less chemical treatment, water, and energy. Organic fabrics such as linen, hemp, and organic cotton are biodegradable and environmentally sound.
Leather isn’t a by-product of the meat industry, and it’s estimated that it alone is slaughtering and killing over 430 million animals annually. Sustainable fashion brands are increasingly embracing the use of cruelty-free alternatives. Various alternatives include polyester made with ocean trash, plant-based compostable sneakers, bags from recycled seatbelts, silk created from yeast, and bio-fabricated vegan wool. Another interesting leather alternative comes from pineapples, where the fabric is produced using the leaves of pineapples.
Water is used in the dyeing and finishing process for nearly all items in the fashion industry. It takes 2,700 liters of water to produce a single T-shirt. Cotton is highly dependent on water but is usually grown in hot and dry areas. Linen, hemp, Refibra, and recycled fibers are some other sustainable fabrics that require little to no water during production.
Endless working hours, unacceptable health & safety conditions, and minimum wages, are the reality for most garment workers in the fast fashion sector. A few informative documentaries like “The True Cost” or “Fashion Factories Undercover” document the social injustices of the fast fashion industry. Eco-ethical brands advocate for sustainable fashion, health care, humane working conditions, and fair wages for their workers.
Fast fashion products often undergo an intense chemical process where 8,000 types of chemicals are used to bleach, dye, and wet process garments. Those chemicals often lead to diseases or fatal accidents for workers and inflict serious congenital disabilities on their children. These chemicals harm our health, as our skin absorbs anything we put on it.
Here is a list of five earth-minded and socially responsible marketplaces that have sustainable and fair trade brands for the discerning and mindful shopper:
Netherlands-based webshop thegreenlabels is a sustainable fashion retailer that sells sneakers, womenswear, and accessories from various “green labels” brands. Founded in 2018, this is a marketplace where people can buy products from brands that care about a positive impact on the environment. All brands featured here guarantee fair working conditions and represent at least one of these 4 values – “CLEAN PROCESS” environmentally friendly production, clothes that support “LOCAL” communities, “VEGAN” brands to assure no animals were harmed and “WASTE REDUCTION”
Luisa Via Roma started as a family-owned boutique in the early 1900s. They have grown into a luxury e-retailer and created an LVRSustainable section for people trying to insert sustainability into their wardrobes. They have brands rated ‘Good’ or ‘Great.’ The site offers a wide range of products like bags, accessories, sports, shoes, lingerie, and much more for men, women, and kids. You can find organic, vegan, eco-friendly, ethical, and recycled & upcycled items here.
Brothers We Stand is a retailer set up in solidarity with the people who make our clothes. This retailer conducts rigorous research to ensure that every product in their collection meets the following three standards: designed to please, ethical production, and created to last. It’s a great platform to shop for ethical and sustainable menswear. They also have their private clothing line along with other brands.
Labell-D was launched with a clear mission to reduce the negative impact of fast fashion on the planet. This retailer wants to make Responsible Fashion the new norm. They intend to make sustainable clothing and fashion easy for both brands and consumers. Labell-D has a transparent accreditation process where they evaluate the brand’s carbon footprint and environmental impact. Their verification assessment includes animal welfare, emissions, materials, production processes, chemical usage, waste management, and traceability.
Cerqular wants to make sustainable shopping affordable and accessible for all. The retailer promises that every product and seller is verified as organic, recycled, sustainable, carbon-neutral, eco-friendly, vegan, or circular. They have a wide range of sellers and do not limit products only from luxury brands, so sustainable shopping is no longer expensive or inconvenient.
The fashion industry is a contributor to worldwide carbon emissions. Sustainable fashion is the new big thing giving rise to more and more sustainable brands and marketplaces.
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