How to Shop Sustainably

How to Shop Sustainably

Shopping sustainably is a massive topic to tackle, there are so many different areas to focus on. Is it ethically made, is it environmentally friendly, does money go into the community, is transparency the same as sustainability? And, most importantly, is the information reliable?

Look at Inditex (Zara), the fastest fast fashion retailer in the world, which the Baptist Ethical Fashion Report found to be leading the way in ethical fashion. That isn’t wrong but it does point out that the report is based off their efforts in improving conditions for their supply chain, not their environmental and social impact.

Last month Zara, H&M, M&S and a few others were found buying viscose from a highly polluting factory in Asia. Viscose is a chemically treated plant pulp that turns into a cellulose fiber if produced properly it is a more environmentally friendly fabric than polyester. However, the chemicals used are toxic, and in this case, the factories were dumping the chemicals into the water exposing nearby communities to toxic chemicals and polluting the water. The water is now undrinkable and you definitely can’t swim in it. Based solely on the Baptist Report, you may only be getting a partial picture of how these brands are sustainable or ethical.

An easier way to look at it is breaking sustainability down and looking at each question separately. We focused on a few of the key aspects we think are important and separated it into values to make it easier to confidently shop sustainably, and answer some of questions raised earlier.

All of our designers fit under one or more of these values; Environment, Material Sustainability, People, Animal-free, Transparency, Handmade, and Your Local. Highlighting the way each brand is sustainable is the easiest way to cut through all the greenwashing, and really get the answer to what the brand does and how they do it.

Environment

These clothes were made with minimal or no damage to the environment. Mother Nature smiles.

Material Sustainability

Clothing made from innovative methods to minimise or eliminate the use of harmful chemicals, be it natural or organic. Your skin says yes!

People

Some people live in this world at an unfair disadvantage - often leaving them subject to poor working conditions, illegal wages, harassment and exploitation. This value supports our brothers and sisters.

Animal- Free

Plant-based fabric was used to make these clothes. No animals were harmed in this production.

Transparency

Feel totally awesome and knowledgeable about the origins of the material, who made it, where, and when your piece was made.

Handmade

Clothes that are handcrafted by people and not machines - often crafted through cultural and traditional methods. 

Your Local

Supporting the small, local, independant designer. It means more to them than a large corporation when you do.



Stories like Zara is why we have worked to clearly and concisely let you know how your favorite brands are helping the world around us. Whether they are empowering their employees, supporting local communities or leaving a low impact on the environment, so you know you can feel good while you shop!

Written by Elsa Johnson

Born in the U.S.A. and raised in Germany, England, Australia and America. While studying in Australia she accidentally stumbled on a sustainable fashion class, which completely changed the way she viewed the fashion industry and what career she wanted to go into. Since then Elsa has decided that she could not support this industry unless she was part of the change. Elsa writes on her ethical fashion blog The Sustainable Sartorial.

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