Why do I need to be conscious of where my clothes come from?
In recent years, sustainability has become a trend on social media, people think it makes them look cool if they say they are sustainable, and live an eco friendly lifestyle. Whilst it may turn a few heads, unless you are understanding the processes of the products you are using, food you are eating and clothes you are wearing, you will never truly be sustainable.
In the past two years, people are taking a closer look at the food they consume and the chemicals they put into their bodies, they are also re evaluating their purchasing decisions to create a cleaner environment through the clothes they wear.
When choosing clothing for yourself and your family, you need to not only pay attention to the quality of the garments, but also the entire supply chain, production processes, and product afterlife. A label that uses the word “sustainable” does not mean the retailer is using clean processes to create the garment, but that the material used comes from a sustained source.
When you buy a new t-shirt, do you look to see where it was made? do you do research into the working conditions of the people who made it? do you think about how many gallons of water it took to create it? Is it made to last? Is the company limiting the amount of wasted fabric in production? Where will the garment go once you've finished with it? How long will it take to decompose?
The answer to this is most likely, No. And not many people will do. Because its so easy to go out onto the high street and pick up a t-shirt for next to nothing. Everyone loves a polyester t-shirt because they are cheap, wrinkle-free, and you can pick them up from even your local supermarket. But they hold on to bacteria, they smell after a few workouts and they shrink and become raggy. They also take two hundred years to decompose! They are not only bad for the environment, but also our health. These synthetic fibers are forms of plastic, and every time you wash fabrics made from these fibers, microplastics are breaking off, and many eventually end up in the oceans, ocean life, and our mouths. But this is how we have gotten to the state of emergency that our planet is in now. This is how small farmers have been trodden on and put out of their livelihoods because big business farming, making huge profit, selling garments for pence, have taken over, This is why we are still seeing deforestation, animal cruelty and water shortage and contamination. Its only us as individuals, making that decision to look at the supply chain before buying.
So what can I do to start making changes?
Choose garments and materials that are engineered to last longer. Choose sustainable materials that are natural fibers like cotton, hemp and linen, Ditch cheap, poorly made synthetics like polyester, nylon and spandex. These fibers are not grown naturally, and instead come from chemicals and polymers which in turn, put nasty chemicals into the environment and the water. Commit to buying less, limit your outfit changes per day, instead of spending fifty pound in a cheap high street store, invest in one piece that can easily be paired with anything and that will last longer. Choose outfits that you can wear throughout your busiest of days, from the school run, to the office and then onto a workout class. Those of you who have kids and work, know how long these days can be. Its important to invest in clothes that can provide all day comfort and durability.
Next time you’re shopping, do your research. Pay close attention to how brands use the term 'sustainability'. Do they really mean it and prove it in their marketing? Is the brand committed to ethical practices? Do they make a conscious effort to reduce waste fabric? Do they treat their workers equally, pay them fairly and provide good conditions for them? Are the clothes you are choosing for your children safe and not compromising their health?
It’s easy to overlook the impact of a purchase or the power you have as the buyer. You, as an individual, are so important to this planet, that if you take these small steps each day, you will be paving the path toward a more sustainable fashion future for your children.
Brands I love who have achieved or are making the necessary changes to achieve a sustainable supply chain.
The Simple Folk Co www.thesimplefolk.co - Jamie and Abi have a beautiful story behind the reasons why they have created a slow, timeless, ethical and truly sustainable line of clothing for your little ones.
Feelgrounds Barefoot Shoes www.feelgrounds.com - A ethical, vegan shoe that is not only good to the planet, using recycled materials, but kind to your feet! Increases balance, lightweight, flexible, breathable, adaptable and produced under fair conditions.
Finn and Zee www.finandzee.com - A Japanese/European inspired, capsule wardrobe of natural clothing for urban kids.
Allbirds www.allbirds.co.uk - Beautifully crafted wool running shoes with a sustainable supply chain from start to finish.
Everlane www.everlane.com - Timeless classics, fine materials, ethical working conditions and Radical transparency.
Alternative Apparel www.alternativeapparel.com - A collection of basics for the everyday, soft, simple and sustainable is their ethos.
Jem+Bea www.jemandbea.com - The Eadie Hold-all - A stunning changing bag made from recycled fishing nets for the modern day parent.
Eileen Fisher www.eileenfisher.com - A company who leads by example in the sustainable fashion industry, investing in community focused projects in their workers communities, creating elegant, beautiful statement pieces that can be styled for a lifetime.
Fin + Vince www.finandvince.com - A timeless, practical and minimalist wardrobe for your little ones. Each stunning piece will be part of your family for generations.