1. Shop Online
A lot of pollution from shopping comes from transporting clothes and stock to stores, in fact, 22%. Driving from one store to another searching for the right clothing, and then driving home. Not even considering how much fuel was used to bring the clothes to the store in the first place!
Online shopping can cut down on the amount of fuel used, cutting out the store and going directly to you. Think of the mail as like public transport for clothes, it's effective dropping off multiple orders to customers. Once again, online shopping cuts out a lot of waste. It might seem counter intuitive when the item you ordered shows up in a plastic bag, but it also arrived in a plastic bag at the store, it just wasn't in plastic on the shelf.
Shopping online also gives you a chance to be more discerning with what you buy. You can take a chance to research the brand and fabrics used to get a better picture of what you are buying is actually sustainable. I never viewed online shopping as more sustainable but it cuts out wasted fuel, reduces waste and can assist you in knowing you have supported a sustainable brand.
2. Know Your Fabrics
I wrote an earlier blog post all on this topic. But seriously to get better at shopping sustainably, know your fabrics when you shop. Even from writing the last article I have paid more attention to what I have been buying and what is made from. I have been saved from splashing on polyester more than I can count!
Look out for organic cotton, wool, and Tencel. If you need to buy polyester, especially when Athleisure is pretty comfortable at brunch, look for polyester made from recycled water bottles or nets.
3. Check Certifications
To ensure you really are shopping sustainably check for certifications. There are a few well-known certifications like Fair Trade, which indicates factory workers are being paid at least minimum wage. GOTS is the standard for organic cotton, indicating that the item is made with at least 70% of organic fibers. OEKO-TEX relates directly to textiles, with the basic certification qualifying the product is toxic chemically free!
Another certification is the Fellowship 500, and B Corps. B Corps rate corporations that use their power for positive change, including transparency, social and environmental impact. Fellowship 500 unites 500 pioneers in ethical and sustainable fashion to transform industry standards. Keep an eye out for different certifications when you are shopping, and like fabrics, google it!
4. Look for Brands that Pay Artisans Fairly
Searching for brands that pay their workers fairly can be a lot easier than discussing differences between better farming practices. Using certifications like Fair Trade, B Corps, and Fellowship 500 is a great way to easily tell if it’s ethical. Using locally made brands, like Made in Australia, is another indicator that it was produced in fair and safe working conditions. Alternatively, following the #whomademyclothes can give you a literal picture of who made your clothes and where they were made.
5. Wardrobe Capsule
Referencing ‘buy less, buy better’, capsuling your wardrobe can help you shop sustainably. Capsule wardrobes focus on buying/wearing a few pieces in different ways, like the magazine articles ‘7 Pieces in 30 Days’. Shopping for only a few certain pieces that you will wear continuously assures that you will get the use out of clothes. And hopefully, encourages shoppers to buy better quality clothing that will last longer. Whatever you wear for 30 days is more sustainable than something you’ll wear once.
Written by Elsa Johnson