The clothing industry is the 2nd most polluting industry in the world due to:
- The amount of water needed to grow cotton
- The chemicals that go into rivers from the production facilities
- The transportation of the clothes
Also, the fast fashion industry is known for having bad working conditions.
So join my journey on doing something actively about this, and let's dig into some better alternatives.
DECLUTTER & SIMPLIFY
Before buying new clothes it's a good idea to get control over the clothes you already have. Watch this video about how to simplify your wardrobe with three fun methods: SORT 4, DESIGNATE SPACE & PROJECT 333:
FIND SUSTAINABLE CLOTHES
Add the word "eco" or "sustainable" before your web search, e.g.: "eco dress" and "sustainable clothes (YOUR CITY)".
You can also go to the app "Good on You" and find out which brands are sustainable and which are not.
Always try to get what you need second hand either from a friend, your mom, your local second hand shop or through apps or websites selling used items. You can also go to a clothing swap event or make one with your friends. Dig into the clothing rag lines in the cozy second hand stores. Find your own style by using what is already out there. You'll save a bunch of money this way too!
When searching for sustainable clothing and production ethics, I found the clothes from Liz Alig affordable, cute and fair. Each part of their production is inspiring: their clothes are environmentally friendly and they focus on good working conditions in production. They use organic cotton, help local women learn how to sow and they upcycle old shirts into new beautiful designs.
Another example of someone who upcycles materials is Zero Waste Daniel who make patchwork like designs.
QUALITY & LONG LASTING ITEMS
If you do have to buy something new, especially if you can't find an eco friendly version, then buy quality that lasts. Save up and spend the extra money on an item/used item of a brand that is known to last for a long time. It will pay back in the end. BuymeOnce is a website that collects all the products that are known to have a long lifetime.
The reason why we should all buy organic cotton is because if you use conventional cotton you support an industry that uses pesticides and other toxins within the dying process. They give workers deceases, destroy the life in and around the rivers around the production area, and also the wild bee populations are diminishing which is a critical problem.
If you're in Scandinavia I can highly recommend the Danish online store Dilling Underwear, because: their underwear is locally produced, it's organic, the prices are good and they have great fitting and durability.
There is also Organic Basics - haven't tried them yet myself.
There is also Pact in the US. I like their design and durability as well.
SUSTAINABLE CLOTHING STORES
Some clothing stores focus on finding the most sustainable clothing brands and items for you. Even sustainable leather is out there - e.g. where they don't damage rivers with chemicals.
In Copenhagen, Denmark you can go to Res Res,
Be Awear and Eco Ego.
In Roskilde, Denmark you can go to Butik Ringstedgade 13.
Try googling "sustainable Clothing store *your city* for more options.
BE A CONSCIOUS CONSUMER
You can always ask in your regular clothing store if they have anything made of organic cotton or what the working conditions are in the production of the items. If they can't answer ask for a manager or write to their email. Each time a customer shows interest in sustainable and fair clothing, they will gradually change their standards towards that.
Stay positive, curious and patient and you'll find what you need - sometimes in unexpected ways.
Don't expect to find everything eco friendly or ethically made all at once. It can take years to find all the solutions that fit you - but it's worth it.
The planet and the garment workers' conditions will improve tremendously if you put your money towards ethical/eco brands and secondhand.
Use your creativity and just have fun with it!