Tag Archives: ethical

How to Shop for Sustainable Fashion

We all want to be better. Look better, act better, eat better. But when it comes to fashion, American’s rarely think about what it means to dress better.

In this context, I am not using the word better to mean more designer brands, or clothing that fits well.

To me, “dress better” means:

  • Buy clothing with minimal environmental impact.
  • Buy from brands that give back in some way.
  • Shop from manufacturers who have a humanitarian supply chain.
  • Consume Less.
  • Re use more.
  • Love every item.

For those of you who want a better understanding of what I’m talking about, watch this piece about Fast Fashion by John Oliver on HBO’s Last Week Tonight:

“In 2013 American’s purchased on average 64 items per person.”

-John Oliver

So instead of buying 64 non-sustainable, cheaply made clothing items that won’t last, maybe this year you decide to limit your purchases to 24 items and to get all of them either second-hand, or from sustainable companies. That’s still two items a month! And instead of items that fall apart after 6 months, buying sustainable also means higher quality. These are things that can last a decade!

Brands that I love:

Tonlé –  This is an amazing brand! They make “Zero-waste fashion” by salvaging large quantities of scrap fabric and turning it into sell-able, beautiful, fashion. This is how all clothing should be made!

Swedish Stockings –  Yes even stockings/tights can be purchased from a sustainable source. On average these cost $20/pair which is comparable to brands such as Banana Republic.

Nisolo –  This is an amazing shoe brand that hand crafts leather shoes at a very reasonable price. Nisolo is committed to using local resources for their shoes, and every single shoe is made by hand. Price range: $90 – $250 on average for a pair of shoes. Nisolo means “Not Alone”. This brand is a constant reminder that our daily choices can impact others.

Pact – My lovely boyfriend Pact Socksbought me some boot socks from this company for the holidays. Pact makes socks, underwear, undershirts, camisoles, pajamas, leggings, and baby clothes from organic cotton! They have tons of styles, and even have socks for flats! Their motto – “We make clothes that don’t hurt people”. I’d compare prices to Express and The Limited, but the quality is much much better. No child labor, no sweatshops, no pesticides; shopping here is a no-brainier.

Pact Image

Cuyana – This isn’t the first time I’ve raved about Cuyana. I have purchased two tote bags from Cuyana and am so impressed with the company and the quality. For leather accessories there is no better brand out there. Every item is carefully crafted and look and feel way better than standard designer bags. A large tote costs about $160 and trust me, it’ll be softer leather than any tote you’ve felt from any brand at the mall. I’ve adopted Cuyana’s motto as my personal motto: Fewer, Better Things.

Everlane – This brand is all about Radical Transparency. So much in fact that the order page for every item comes with a Transparent Pricing guide that shoes you exactly how much each step of the process cost to make the garment.

Everlane - Transparent Pricing

Everlane is also transparent about their manufacturers. By partnering with small manufacturing shops around the world, and working closely with the owners of each shop, Everlane guarantees that the laborers who sew their clothes and farm their cotton  are paid a fair wage and have safe working conditions.

For the holidays I bought three items from Everlane for my boyfriend: a cotton t-shit, a cotton long sleeve button down shirt, and a leather belt. All three items were wonderful quality and the fit is impeccable. My friend Theresa purchased two of their silk sleeveless button ups and we couldn’t believe the quality of the fabric. It’s the thickest, softest silk that I’ve ever touched!

 

To learn more about  Consuming Less and Loving Everything You Own, check out my previous posts on living with a Capsule Wardrobe.

In the next post: I’ll reveal a way to re-use clothing that probably don’t know exists.