With so many brands claiming to be sustainable these days, what does sustainable fashion really mean, and how can you sort the genuinely sustainable from those making false claims?
Sustainable fashion doesn’t have to mean limited choices, or dressing in a way that isn’t really you just to ensure what you’re wearing is environmentally friendly. With the right knowledge, you can ensure you dress the way you want to, while making conscious choices to invest only in genuinely sustainable brands.
Read on to discover what sustainable fashion really means, and six great brands that you’re sure to love…
Sustainable Fashion Explained
When you look up ‘sustainability’, the definition reads: “Avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.”
Put simply, this means not making something that uses more natural resources that the planet is able to naturally replace, and not producing anything that the planet is not able to reabsorb.
When it comes to fashion, garments are considered sustainable when they are made mindfully, taking the environment into consideration. Here are the key areas in which clothing can be sustainably made…
Water consumption and contamination
Traditional methods of making clothing uses high levels of water, and water is also easily contaminated through the use of dyes and chemicals. Water contamination also occurs when we wash our clothing in a non-environmentally friendly way. Sustainably made clothing should use minimal water during production, as well as environmentally friendly dyes.
High levels of energy consumption occurs through the production of synthetic fabrics. Sustainably produced clothing keeps this to an absolute minimum.
In the production of raw materials such as cotton, fertilizers and pesticides are used which contaminate water supplies and get into the food chain. Sustainably produced clothes are often made from organic cotton, or recycled materials.
Huge amounts of waste is created through the fashion industry. From fabrics to dyes and chemicals, waste ends up in landfill, incinerated or in the water supply. Incineration alone uses huge amounts of energy, and pumps further chemicals and pollution into the atmosphere.
In addition, our throw-away culture means clothing has a short lifespan, also ending up in landfill. Sustainable clothing limits waste, and also helps consumers step away from buying ‘fast-fashion’, instead keeping items for longer and disposing of them responsibly.
When considering a sustainable fashion brand, consider the above, as well as aspects like packaging, where the garments are coming from and what kind of packaging is used.
5 Sustainable Fashion Brands
As one of the first ‘mainstream’ sustainable fashion brands in the UK, People Tree has a stylish and versatile range that’s stocked in sizes 6-18. With clothing made from eco-friendly materials such as natural fibres and organic cotton, People Tree’s garments are also made to Fairtrade standards, using small producers. In addition, the brand doesn’t use polluting substances and protects water supplies through the use of rainwater harvesting and water recycling.
‘Slow’ activewear brand TALA creates high quality and fresh athleisure wear. Using a high proportion of eco-friendly materials including upcycled materials, TALA also promotes body positivity offering a range of sizes from XS-XL. Using the very best in sustainable technologies, processes and materials, TALA’s clothing even comes with plantable tags, made of biodegradable materials scattered with seeds.
- Beaumont Organic
British brand Beaumont Organic has a laid back look and feel. Made from eco-friendly materials including bamboo, organic cotton and linen, the brand focuses on womenswear, but also carries an organic baby collection. Beaumont Organic states that they also produce their clothing ethically, and work hard to reduce wastage by using off-cuts and keeping consumption to a minimum.
Dedicated to eco-conscious practices and materials throughout their collections, UK based brand Bibico has a beautiful collection of everyday basics and unique designs. The two main materials used by Bibico are organic cotton and wool, in addition, the brand works with a cooperative that is Fair Trade certified to produce their beautiful garments.
REABURN is an innovative fashion brand that creates their garments from surplus fabrics and clothing. Essentially making clothing through upcycling, the brand saves lots of fabrics from landfill. More recently, REABURN have introduced their ‘REDUCED’ collection, made from organic fabrics. In addition they also offer free lifetime repairs and ship all orders in eco-friendly packaging.
There are some fantastic fashion brands choosing to produce their garments sustainably. With so much choice, prioritising sustainable brands doesn’t have to mean compromising on your style. For more ideas to shop sustainably, have a look at our archives of articles and guides.
If you’re an eco friendly fashion brand, or produce a sustainably made, environmentally friendly product that you would like us to feature on the site, email us with your details: email@example.com