One fashion brand pays more attention to sustainability than another, but the ultimate responsibility for a sustainable choice too often remains with the consumer. Don't worry, you'll soon be doing some sustainable shopping on a budget, but in the meantime we'll give you some tips on how to be more sustainable with your clothes.
Immediately below the oil industry, the fashion industry is the most polluting in the world. And unfortunately, by blindly following the bargain-hunting masses, that's not going to change any time soon. Rest assured, we are not here to make you feel guilty for your annual foray into bargain hunting, but we are here to help you make better choices on those 364 other days. More conscious choices to be specific.
We cannot ignore the fact that clothes are often cheaper at non-sustainable chain stores. These types of companies often pay workers insufficient salaries, bleach denim with toxic, cheap products and choose less qualitative materials. The so-called 'fast fashion' phenomenon. Do you regularly shop at one of these stores? Then we would like to give you some tips that you can also apply in a fast fashion context.
1. Stop buying in bulk.
When sustainable shopping on a budget, it is key that you should only buy what you will wear regularly. The philosophy of "the more, the better" does not apply to your wardrobe. As experts by experience, fewer things that you think are great will make you much happier. No matter how much money they cost you.
2. Try to give your clothes the longest possible life.
There are still many people today who throw their old, worn or even unworn clothes into the rubbish bin instead of the clothing container. If you do, you should know that there are many places where you can give your clothes a second life. There is the classic clothing container, you can take your old clothes to a refugee centre nearby or you can give them to a Facebook group like 'To Give', which are set up regionally. If you have a lot of unworn items that are still in good condition, consider selling them on platforms like Vinted.
3. Choose sustainable materials
Whether a fabric earns the label "sustainable" is determined by the origin of the fibres and the processing. The origin of the fibres can be plant, animal or artificial. If it is plant-based, it has to be further examined whether it comes from organic plantations, ethically managed forests, etc. Unfortunately, there is no fabric or material that does not have an impact on our planet, because the production of any garment uses water and energy. What makes a fabric sustainable is the way those raw materials are treated. Your best choice when it comes to sustainable shopping is Lyocell or Tencel. Why two names? Lyocell is the fibre, Tencel® is the patented name from Austrian manufacturer Lenzing. The silver medal goes to linen and hemp, and in third place you will find viscose. The latter is a commonly used fabric and a more sustainable alternative to silk (the fabric with the worst score).
How do you check if a fashion brand is really sustainable?
Sustainability covers many different aspects. In the fashion sector, it is about the wages workers receive, whether they have to come into contact with harmful substances to dye or bleach clothes, whether they choose sustainable materials and fabrics, and so on. Are you all done with unsustainable shopping? That is great, but as a consumer you have to remain sceptical, even if fashion brands claim that they produce with respect for people and the environment.
The phenomenon where brands claim to care about people and the environment, but this is not reflected in their production methods, is called greenwashing. In other words, they use what you consider important to make themselves more attractive, but behind the scenes they do not bother to meet your expectations. Measuring the effective sustainable commitment of any company is therefore the most difficult thing you can ask from a consumer.
The solution to the above problem: buy from a retailer that does that green check for you. Does that sound like music to your ears? Our ETIKL webshop will be opening its doors soon. Would you like to be notified when you can shop here carefree and 100% sustainable? Subscribe to our newsletter here.