The term sustainable fashion has been around for a while. You’ve probably seen it in the media or encountered it on brand websites or labels, but it may get confusing about what it means since there’s no legal definition.
So what is sustainable fashion? What does the term entail? How to understand when it’s actually making a difference and when it’s just marketing?
We’re diving right into the deep end to find the best sustainable and eco friendly t-shirts.
Generally, the term “sustainable fashion” refers to clothing produced and sold in socially, ethically, and ecologically responsible ways.
It covers every part of clothes’ life, from design and production to distribution, sales, and shipping.
It also refers to how the clothes and accessories are made, what materials are used, and what’s their impact on the environment, nature, and communities.
The most sustainable fashion you can wear is things you already have, items in second-hand shops, and clothes you can borrow. This way, we’re not adding anything new to the world, but we know that that’s not always possible, so let’s talk about what to look for when shopping for new fashion items.
The key elements of sustainable fashion
Natural and organic materials
The first thing to pay attention to is the fabrics and materials. You want to skip various toxic synthetic fabrics, such as acrylic or nylon because most of them are treated with toxic chemicals and dyes harmful to our waterways, ecosystems, and us.
Choose natural fabrics that are biodegradable and can be composted as opposed to them sitting in landfills for years. That’s linen, organic cotton, silk, wool, cellulose fabrics like modal), hemp.
The best choice for your clothes and the environment is a natural organic fabric, so look for certifications to prove that.
Recycled or deadstock materials
Billions of pounds of unused textiles and clothes end up in landfills every year. Many of those fabrics are just cutoffs from the design process, unsold materials, or clothes people never even wore. Luckily, there are now brands that use that leftover fabric called deadstock or recycle textiles and repurpose them to make new clothing.
Eco-friendly dyes and no chemicals
It’s essential to remember that even natural fabrics may be treated and dyed with toxic chemicals that end up in our oceans and soil. For a sustainable option, choose fabrics that use eco-friendly dyes.
Zero or low waste production
The production of textiles uses enormous resources like water and energy, and we’ve already touched on the surplus of fabrics.
These practices are not only wasteful but also create a massive pollution problem. Add the packaging during distribution and shipping, and you’ve got an even bigger problem.
Choose brands that use plastic-free, biodegradable materials and are transparent about making their production zero or low waste.
Local is better
The shipping contributes to the already massive fashion industry’s carbon footprint. Imagine how far and long your order has to travel if you buy it across the globe?
Shopping locally helps eliminate that whole part, reduce the carbon footprint, and support local communities and businesses.
Second hand or durable clothes
The more high-quality and durable your clothing is, the fewer new items you will need to replace it. Always consider shopping for durable clothing to ensure you have pieces to last you a long time.
Also, don’t go on tossing your clothes if there’s a hole or a small issue – learn to mend them and always follow garment care guidelines to keep your clothes in top shape!
Lastly, remember that sustainable clothing brands should also have fair working conditions for their employees from the office to the factories.
That includes fair pay, environment, no exploitation, and other terrible practices. If you want to make a real difference – continually educate yourself about that too!