Steps Toward Sustainability in Fashion

by CAMERON WILBURN '23

Every day we scroll through the media and see many different people wearing many different types of clothing. But have you ever wondered where their clothing came from? Who made it and what their conditions were? Since COVID-19, online shopping has grown by 30% in the United States alone. Due to pandemic, many small businesses and eco-friendly labels have not been as prosperous as in previous years. Nearly 65% of Americans stated that during 2020, they planned to spend less money on clothes. However for some this does not mean decreasing your consumption, this actually means spending less money on more items. The lower the price of the item, the lower the quality of the product and the materials used. Fast fashion is a highly profitable business that is quickly devastating the fashion industry and our planet.


SHEIN, Fashion Nova, PrettyLittleThing, H&M, Forever 21, I could go on! These brands may provide a smaller cost for their items, or even deals such as 50% off or free shipping. However, many of these brands are notorious for harsh labor conditions, using non-sustainable materials, and even partaking in animal testing. When you start shopping for your summer wardrobe, look at the practices behind the label. Is the brand working to make our world a better place, or are they persuading the consumer to shop at a lower cost? Below are a few eco-friendly brands that will be perfect for the warm months ahead. Remember, we only have one planet. With simple steps such as reducing your fast fashion intake, we can work together to make it as eco-friendly as possible.


Pact

Pact is a Fair Trade certified brand based in Colorado. Their products range from adult & children’s basics, to underwear and active wear. They are size inclusive, with sizes ranging from XS to 3XL. In their products, they use Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) cotton and wool. Their products DO NOT include fur, leather, down, exotic animal skin, exotic animal hair, or angora. They also ensure payment of a living wage and include a formal statement covering workers’ rights.


Sézane

Sézane is a women’s boutique based in Paris, France. They abide by fair labor standards and give back with recycled packaging methods. Their products are made with natural and sustainable materials. The process of production is powered by renewable energy, and their products range from women’s apparel to accessories, handbags, and shoes in sizes XS-L.


Vetta

Vetta is an eco-friendly women’s apparel brand based in California. Their materials limit the amount of chemicals and waste used in production, and the final stage of production takes place in the USA. They ensure payment of a living wage, visit suppliers regularly, and do not use any animal materials. With ethical production and recycled packaging practices, Vetta gives back to the Earth and provides women’s wear from sizes XS to XL.


Girlfriend Collective

Girlfriend Collective is a size-inclusive brand, based in Seattle, Washington, that specializes in women’s swimwear and accessories. The have a variation of sizes from XXS to 6XL. They use recycled materials and packaging for all of their products and reuses materials to minimize textile waste. Production takes place in Vietnam, and the Code of Conduct covers all of the ILO Four Fundamental Freedoms principles, as well as ensuring a living wage.


Critics have made note of how sustainability in the fashion industry can also be problematic. Many have assumed that these brands are too expensive or that they are not inclusive of different sizes. However, many don’t realize that the common brands we support also lack in these areas, as well. Brands such as Brandy Melville or Urban Outfitters carry minimal sizes and lack diverse representation in their media. Most brands that we support in fast fashion prioritize the wealth of the company over worker’s rights, animal cruelty, and sustainable use of materials. If we can start making small steps towards sustainability, our society and environment will benefit tremendously by increasing productivity and reducing unfair working conditions.