In recent years, people have become more aware of fashion’s impact on the environment and those working in the industry. Because of this, sustainable fashion has become a popular trend, with more and more brands looking to produce garments in an environmentally friendly way. However, not all sustainable fashion is created equal. Victoria Gerrard La Crosse WI, an expert in the field, shares her insights on what to look for when shopping for earth-friendly clothing.
One crucial factor to consider when shopping for sustainable fabrics is whether the material is a natural fiber. Natural fibers include materials such as cotton, wool, and silk and are biodegradable, renewable, and pose fewer environmental impacts than synthetic fibers. Some synthetic fibers, such as polyester and nylon, are derived from petrochemicals and can take hundreds of years to break down in the environment. Therefore, when shopping for sustainable fabrics, opt for natural fiber options.
Cotton is one of the most commonly used fabrics in fashion, but it can also be one of the most environmentally damaging. Conventionally grown cotton uses large amounts of water and pesticides, which can cause harm to the environment and the health of workers. Organic cotton, on the other hand, is grown without harmful chemicals and uses less water than conventional cotton. Look for clothing made from organic cotton when shopping sustainably.
Recycling is a great way to reduce waste and repurpose materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. When it comes to clothing, recycled materials can be used to create new apparel, reducing the need for more resource-intensive production methods. Clothing made from recycled materials, such as plastic bottles and discarded fabric scraps, can help reduce waste and conserve resources. This is what Victoria Gerrard La Crosse WI supports.
Natural dyes and finishes
The dyeing and finishing of fabrics can be incredibly harmful to the environment. When shopping for sustainable textiles, look for materials dyed with natural, plant-based pigments which are non-toxic, biodegradable, and renewable. Additionally, minimize the use of finishes, which can make clothes look shiny and wrinkle-free but are often made with harmful chemicals.
Low water usage
Water is a valuable resource, and textile production can be water-intensive. Consider fabrics that require less water during manufacturing, such as organic cotton, linen, and hemp. Tencel, a type of lyocell made from wood pulp, is known for its low water usage and closed-loop production process. While these fabrics generally have lower water usage than others, it’s essential to consider the entire supply chain and production process. Water usage can vary depending on farming practices, dyeing and finishing methods, and overall manufacturing efficiency.
Secondhand and vintage
Another sustainable option is to shop for secondhand or vintage clothing. These pieces reduce the demand for new production, conserving resources and minimizing the environmental impact of manufacturing new clothes. You can also discover one-of-a-kind items that are not commonly found in mainstream stores. Vintage pieces, in particular, often have timeless designs that add character and individuality to your wardrobe. By giving pre-owned garments a new life, you contribute to reducing waste, water consumption, energy usage, and carbon emissions.
When shopping for sustainable fabrics, look for certifications such as Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)—a globally recognized standard for organic fibers, Oeko-Tex Standard 100—an independent certification system that tests and certifies textile products for harmful substances, and Bluesign—a certification system that focuses on the environmental impact of the entire textile supply chain. These ensure that the fabrics meet specific environmental and social criteria throughout production. They help shoppers make more informed choices and support brands prioritizing environmental and social sustainability in their textile production.
Consider supporting brands that prioritize fair trade practices. Fairtrade and Fair Trade Certified certifications empower farmers and workers in developing countries, promote sustainable livelihoods, and create a more equitable global trading system. By choosing products with these certifications, consumers can support fair trade practices and contribute to positive social and economic impacts in producer communities.
Finally, considering the durability of the fabrics you purchase is essential. Clothing that falls apart after a few wears are not sustainable, no matter how eco-friendly the materials are. When shopping sustainably, look for well-made garments that are designed to last. Consider the quality of the stitching, fabrics, and finishings. Investing in high-quality, durable clothing means that you will be able to enjoy it for years to come, reducing the need for continuous production and waste.
Shopping sustainably doesn’t have to be daunting, especially when you know what to look for. Following these tips from Victoria Gerrard La Crosse WI, you can make informed choices when shopping for sustainable fabrics. Opt for natural fibers, look for clothing made from organic cotton or recycled materials, consider using non-toxic dyes and finishes, and invest in high-quality, durable clothing. Considering these factors, you can positively impact the environment and the fashion industry.