I’m married to a very environmentally conscious man. I was not raised to be that way.
When my father would come to visit us he would environmentally torture Jay, my husband. He’d turn on the faucet in the kitchen, then stroll around talking, gathering things from the refrigerator, walk in the other room to flip on the television. You know, letting the water warm up. Jay would come running from the other end of the house, reaching around my dad to shut the water
He’d take 25-minute showers.
Jay timed him.
He’d run a full cycle in the washing machine for one pair of shorts he wanted to wear.
Looking good was priority number one for Lou.
And the one that really pushed Jay over the edge, the brown bag incident.
After a grocery store run, my dad unloaded all the items from the brown bag, then balled it up and threw it in the garbage can. Not the recycle bin, the garbage can. Of course, Jay was the one to discover this.
Jay: Lou, what the hell man? You have to recycle this or at least reuse it.
My Dad: Nah, that kind of stuff is for the granolas. The crunchies, not me.
He then turned down the hall to go take one of his epic showers.
With this as a role model growing up, the odds were clearly stacked against me as I started my journey to become an environmentally aware citizen.
I began small. I chose to purchase less plastic items, to buy reusable things instead of disposable. Which is sometimes inconvenient, but worth it in the long run. I started to compost, buy more foods that are grown locally, and just be aware of the impact my purchases have on the environment.
All proof that I can be trained to shop differently for clothes. To use my dollar to voice an opinion on where I’d like companies to focus. I can learn to buy more sustainable, eco-friendly, ethically made clothing items more often.
So where to start? Choose brands that are working towards a slower process, fair-pay, and ethical working conditions. Choose brands that take less of a toll on the environment by using organic and natural products and processes.
It can be challenging to identify these types of brands. Fashion companies are not very transparent about their environmental impact, which makes it difficult to know if you are really supporting a sustainable business. The fashion industry was built to do things quickly, at a low cost, and to reach the masses. Making these changes will take a long, long time, but there are companies making strides to do things better.
Here are a few quick ways to identify sustainable brands:
-Look for a company’s Impact Report. If you don’t find it on their website, send an email and ask them questions about how they source materials, give back to their communities, etc. The more open a company is, the more likely they are doing things ethically and sustainably.
-Choose smaller companies that create things in small batches.
-Choose to buy from local companies. This doesn’t mean local to you, it just means that all of their resources are pulled and production is done within close geographic proximity. This minimizes the impact on the environment.
Today I’ve identified a handful of brands and items so you can start building your arsenal of sustainable places to shop. This is not an exhaustive list. There are many more brands offering sustainable fashion, this is simply a place to start.
Click on the photos for additional details about the item.
This is a new brand to me. This company takes sustainability seriously. Each item shows you the impact (or lack of impact) you are making on the environment when you purchase the product. It makes it easy to see the good you are doing by choosing to purchase from them, you can feel good about buying from this company. These pants are adorable, I love the color and the button detail at the bottom.
This company focuses on creating items that are versatile. Meaning you can wear them through various seasons, for casual or dressy events, and year after year. They use recycled materials, have solar powered plants, and pay fair wages. This sweater jacket is gorgeous and comes with a structured belt for a more formal look.
They have beautiful leather goods, along with clothing items. Their goal is to be 100% sustainable by 2022. They are currently at 72% for raw materials and 95% for leather goods. Again, these items are timeless and can remain staples in your wardrobe for years to come. The wine color on this bag is perfect for fall, but this comes in a number of different colors. Go check them out, you won’t be disappointed. They also have a program that allows you to donate your old clothes for a credit towards your next purchase with them.
Next time you go to make a purchase, look at the website, see if they promote fair trade, eco-friendly, sustainable, ethically made. Anything that might suggest that they care about how they impact the rest of the world with their production process. When you choose to buy from a sustainable company, you are making a difference. All small things add up.
More ways to maintain a sustainable approach to clothing:
– Donate clothes you no longer wear, don’t just throw them away.
– Buy things that can be worn in different seasons, more versatile options.
– Purchase items that are timeless in style and well made, so they can be a part of your wardrobe for a long time. You can freshen up items with accessories, purses, scarves as needed.
’m always looking for new brands, especially sustainable ones, so in the comments below let me know if you have a favorite eco-conscious/ethical brand that you like to support.