When we buy new jeans for fall or shop online, we often don’t think about where are clothes come from besides the brand printed on the tag. The clothing and textile industry is one of the leading contributors to global pollution. Cotton, which is found in most clothing, takes thousands of gallons of water to grow and can wreak havoc on local environments. That means those jeans you bought took approximately 5,000 gallons of water just for the cotton! This doesn’t include the waste from dyes that pollute waterways and can cause health problems or other damaging parts of the clothing and textile manufacturing chain. However, many companies have seen the adverse effects of the industry and chose to stick to more sustainable practices. Here is a list of fashion brands that create new, fashion-forward apparel that you can shop guilt-free!
Alternative Apparel makes 80% of its garments through sustainable processes such as organic fabrics, non-toxic dyes, and using 60% less water. Although they outsource factories, they make sure their workers are respected and in accordance is the Fair Labor Association (FLA) Workplace Code of Conduct and Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP).
Style Saint designs, manufactures, and sells clothing out of Los Angeles, California. They claim to use 99% less water, sustainable fabrics, and pay factory wages 2000% higher than average. Their mission is to deliver quality over quantity, so the pieces they make are created to last. The goal is to have a beautiful piece of clothing that can be worn season after season.
Threads 4 Thought
Threads for Thought is very transparent about their manufacturing process and materials used. Their factories in China reuse 80% of the water to produce their garments and they use low impact reactive dyes that do not contain any harsh, toxic chemicals. You can even click on videos to see the manufacturing process in action. Materials used include organic cotton, recycled polyester, and Lenzing Modal which is a fiber made from beech tree pulp where the trees aren’t cut down, they are only trimmed.
PACT is all about using organic cotton. Organic cotton is grown without toxic chemicals, 71% less water, and 62% less energy than regular cotton. As a result, farming practices are safer for the families and farmers that grow this crop. PACT is also certified by The Global Organic Textile Standard which protects workers’ rights and regulates work environments to make sure workers are safe and fairly treated.
Fair Indigo uses Peruvian Pima Cotton and Baby Alpaca which are two strong and durable fibers that are also better for the environment. The dyes used are Oekotex certified, meaning they are free of harmful chemicals and the safest commercial dyes available. Fair Indigo does not believe in Fast Fashion, they choose to create durable garments that will last longer physically as well as fashionably.
So next time you’re out shopping, take the time to consider the story behind the garments you’re purchasing. Try to make small changes in your shopping routines that can help lead to more sustainable practices in our industry, like thrifting instead of buying new. With the emergence of more and more companies focused on environmentally-friendly and morally-conscious practices, I think we will start to see some major changes to the way we create fashion.