Exposing Fast Fashion, Uplifting Sustainable Clothing Brands
With the constant change and rapid pace of fashion, it often becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with new trends. Because of this, many people turn to fast fashion, a growing industry that focuses on the mass production of clothing at a low cost. Even though fast fashion is convenient, it has negative impacts on the environment and factory workers. Unfortunately, many of the popular brands today fall under the fast-fashion category. The fashion industry is responsible for producing 10% of all carbon emissions, according to Business Insider. Furthermore, large amounts of resources and energy are wasted while making clothing and many brands use chemicals and fabrics that are toxic to the environment, creating a large carbon footprint. Luckily, there are eco-friendly clothing brands that work to combat the damage created by fast fashion, and they’re easily accessible to everyone.
2 Brands that are not as sustainable as they claim
Along with offering a recycling program, H&M aims to solely use sustainable materials by 2030. However, this company isn’t as sustainable as they say. Many of the materials used to make their clothing are not ethically sourced. One example is cotton, which according to World Wildlife (WWF), often reduces soil quality and pollutes the water (via pesticides). In addition, H&M is not transparent when it comes to how they treat their workers overseas. In 2013, the company promised that it would ensure that 850,000 of its workers would be paid a living wage, but they failed to do so by 2018, and the company still fails to provide solid evidence that it is paying its garment workers a living wage.
If you would like to further read on H&M’s sustainability, you can do so here: H&M Group Sustainability Performance Report 2020
Urban Outfitters has publicized their plan to become more sustainable, but they fail to provide strong evidence on whether they are minimizing their waste when it comes to manufacturing their clothing. Many clothing items are made from unsustainable materials, such as cotton and polyester, which are non-biodegradable and results in the pollution of the environment. In addition, Urban Outfitters is not very transparent when discussing the working conditions of its factory workers, and in 2015 the company was involved in a labor scandal (amongst others).
Although fast fashion is an easy way to buy new and trendy clothing, it drastically harms the environment as well as the consumers’ pockets. Currently, there are many other companies that aim to offer clothing and accessories that are eco-friendly. They focus on maintaining sustainable practices, which can include using eco-friendly dyes and fabrics and using renewable energy instead of fossil fuels. These clothing companies are sustainable, ethical, and affordable.
3 Sustainable Alternatives
Tentree is a clothing company that sells activewear, casual clothing, and accessories for women, men, and children. Their clothing is simplistic but comfortable, making it easy to pair with almost every outfit. All of their profits go towards funding their environmental efforts, and they plant ten trees for every purchase made. Tentree is transparent about their work and how it benefits the environment, and their clothing is made from various recycled materials, such as Tensel™, recycled polyester, organic cotton, and hemp. As for ethical working conditions, Tentree works with companies that actively comply with their Code of Conduct, which ensures good working conditions.
With a similar price range to Urban Outfitters, CHNGE offers inclusive and gender-neutral clothing that focuses on current social issues. They have a wide variety of clothing, ranging from graphic tees to tie-dye. According to their website, CHNGE actively uses recycled materials and focuses on organic cotton, using less energy and creating less waste per item of clothing. In addition, this company uses renewable energy, making their shirts 100% carbon neutral. They are transparent with their partnerships, work production, and resources.
Although it’s slightly more pricey than the previous companies listed, WAWWA claims that their fabrics are vegan, and the unused fabric is recycled into new clothing. They offer gender-neutral clothing and accessories that are simplistic yet functional and practical. They use organic cotton, non-toxic dyes, and renewable energy to produce their products. Despite there being no evidence of a Code of Conduct, the company has a formal statement regarding the working conditions of its employees, and it ensures that the workers are being paid a living wage.