Let me share with you the very best eco-friendly clothing labels money can buy. Or, to put it another way – money can save.
Yep, you betcha.
Eco-friendly clothes don’t need to cost an arm and leg. I’d argue that if you’re spending a lot on eco-friendly clothes, you’re perhaps doing it wrong.
If you’re reading this, surely you’re interested in becoming more sustainable and doing your bit to help the planet, and/or you’re keen to teach your kids how to live in a more eco-friendly way.
Both are exceptionally good. Well done!
After all, the last two decades have seen a surge in toxic waste, single-use plastics and other nasty materials being thrown around willy-nilly, polluting our homes, gutters, gardens, parks, air, and seas (every inch of the planet, really.)
And it’ll be the next generation who must clean up the mess we’re making (aka our kids), which doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest.
This thought fills me with horror, actually.
So – without literally shaking you by the shoulders and shouting, “WAKE THE F UP!!!” let’s take it easy (ish).
Let’s all set an intention to become more sustainable humans.
Ok, we’ll start talking about consumerism because it’s a topic that needs to be brought out of the dark (and it’s something you might not be aware of).
None of us can ignore the truth that plastic is filling our oceans and streets.
Not to mention the impact on environments outside of the high economic areas.
As in where clothes are actually made. Toxic chemicals are seen everywhere too.
Did you know that carbon emissions of the fast fashion industry account for 10% of global emissions?
What are carbon emissions?
Carbon emissions are caused by excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
There are many contributors to excess carbon dioxide – the bigger culprits being the burning of fossil fuels for transportation (fuel).
Plastic gets a bad rap in the media because it’s the single-use stuff that is so wasteful and damaging. Yet – the clothing industry doesn’t seem to get that much attention.
Only the fashion industry is wreaking havoc on the environment too.
And on people’s lives.
Fast fashion utilises cheaper labor to produce massive amounts of clothing, of which more than 80% ends up getting dumped into landfill once the trend is over.
How often do you yourself do clear-outs and decluttering to make space for new stuff? It’s not a trick question…
Sustainable fabrics are rarely used in fast fashion because the name is the game – fast production, fast output, fast buying, fast dumping.
The environmental impact of the fast fashion industry is shocking when you realise its full extent.
You don’t think much about the child with bleeding fingers who maybe made the top you brought on the high street – but her whole life is a misery at the expense of your few seconds of happiness when your credit card hits the payment portal.
Because most fast fashion labels are produced in third-world countries, their human rights are questionable, to say the least.
Really look into it if you want to be educated.
Do some reading on the topic of fast fashion – and you’ll start to question the likes of Zara, Primark, New Look, and Forever 21 (not naming names, just suggesting those, to begin with.)
We must ask why fast fashion has become such a ‘thing’ since the early 90s.
And the answer comes back to consumerism. The ‘I want more’ mentality.
Our buying methods have changed in the past decade, even valuing convenience, wide variety, and cheap money over environmentally (and life) friendly options.
The short answer is this: Short-term gain, long-term detrimental effects on every level.
Now for the better news!
Conscious consumers are the ones paving the way to a better future.
One where fast fashion is no longer purchased by consumers, and the demand for fast fashion starts to dwindle.
Where sustainable labels become desirable on a mass scale – this is when the tides will turn (we hope).
Just think how beautiful the system could be. Where organic cotton labels become the norm – not just for babies’ clothes but for every human.
Where eco-friendly labels become fashionable, and people want to buy them because they’re stylish and comfortable.
This has to happen on a huge scale to change the current fast fashion crisis.
The production process will only ever change if the demand from consumers changes.
We forget that environmentally friendly raw materials, such as natural cotton or bamboo, are better for our health too. Less likely to cause skin irritation and much longer lasting from a high-quality perspective.
Buying sustainable brand clothing is something we can all start doing. Choosing natural fibers and reducing our carbon footprint while we’re at it.
Understanding where our clothes come from and how far the transportation has been to get them to our doorstep. Perhaps opting to shop second-hand, supporting charities simultaneously.
I sometimes get asked how, as individuals, we can do our bit? In more technical terms, this means lowering our carbon footprint (the yearly sum of our carbon dioxide-producing activities) and reducing waste output.
You hear comments that people don’t believe in eco-friendly choices because what good will it do anyway?
“The big guys need to change over in China and India – not me!”
Um, well, you’re wrong, friend.
Because it’s the sum collective that matters, if you start to use environmentally friendly materials, let’s say, or you choose to reduce your waste bin trash, you will be helping.
Not only will that reduce your input to the toxic waste cycles that poison the planet – you doing this will inspire the next person, and the next person, and the next. It’s a cascade effect.
When it comes to eco-friendly brands, my take is, don’t rely on the brand – follow the material they use. Many brands have exceptionally good ethics, but the reality is, not all of their clothing may be made from sustainable, ethical sources.
In a nutshell, if you can buy natural materials made from plants, you’re onto something. Of course, certain natural things such as Palm Oil are notoriously bad if not grown in a sustainable manner.
But if you’re buying natural organic cotton or hemp clothing, you can acknowledge yourself for doing something good for the planet.
Cotton fabric labels are usually well-marketed. Sometimes the labels will say “fair trade” as a sign of an ethical supplier and some even share the sustainable production line in which they’ve come from.
Look for ‘sustainable forests’ when it comes to the origin of your clothes – this is another great idea.
These clothes come from sustainably sourced cotton or even eucalyptus trees which make great material for cool, breathable clothing that is made with the environment in mind.
And be aware of the printing process! By default, man-made materials like polyester may use toxic inks, so always consider this when purchasing new items.
I used to think you can’t find out enough about the production process of clothing – but I was wrong!
You really can get a long way if you dig deep (of course, choose your battles – the kids need feeding!)
Which ethical brand is the best?
Now, here’s my rundown.
I don’t rely on brands, as I’ve said, I look at materials and production lines, but if you must have a list of sustainable, eco-friendly brands, here it is! I will add to this list as I find them.
Ebay (second-hand clothes – search by local to you to offset carbon footprint)
Friend clothing swaps (have a swap event!)
There are various threads I’ve talked about in this post.
From eco-friendly clothing labels to consumerism, sustainability, and no waste/low waste practices.
You must think about the intention behind the clothing. A typical fashion brand in the fast fashion industry is looking at volume.
Whereby a sustainable brand in the eco scene is looking at positive impact.
They will charge more for their clothing, but the argument is the clothes are better quality and will last longer than a fast fashion item. No doubt about it.
Changing the current fast fashion trend means changing our buying habits as consumers.
If the demand isn’t there, then the manufacturers will eventually stop production.
If every single person looked at a clothing label and questioned it rather than simply buying it because it’s cheap or on sale, then the tide will turn.
Look for terminology
These words are all ones to look out for on your hunt for shopping more sustainably.
Made from cotton plants
Zero waste materials
Friendly cotton labels
I hope you found this post valuable. Feel free to comment anytime or ask questions. I’m not an eco guru by any stretch, but I am committed to learning!
Did you know? If you’re an eco-brand or business, I work as a copywriter and would be delighted to help you further – feel free to visit me at sophiecopycompany.com and on Instagram.
This post does not contain any affiliate links or marketing agendas. It’s purely written to inform and inspire.