We all want to avoid fast fashion, in which underpaid workers in third-world countries provide western consumers with cheap and disposable goods. After all, the textile industry is the world’s second largest water polluter, after agriculture! Here’s how to shop better.
Many plants can be turned into alternative fabrics. Basically, you take the fibers of the plant, shred them into a pulp, and then turn that pulp into fibers—which are then woven into fabric. The benefit is that cultivating these fiber-producing plants is good for the planet: For example, bamboo grows extremely rapidly, reduces CO2 levels, generates 35% more oxygen than trees, uses 1/3 less water and requires no pesticides to produce.
But the trick is in determining how that magic takes place. If it’s a chemical process—such as what’s typically used to transform bamboo into so-called “eco-friendly rayon”—then the most sustainable way to go about it is through a closed-loop system, which means that the solvents (and water) are continually recycled. Tencel, which is derived from eucalyptus trees, is a great example of this process. Mechanical processing, by which many USDA Certified Organic companies process linen, bamboo and hemp, also creates alternative fabrics for eco friendly fashion–without chemicals.
Fair Trade is the business practice of sustainably manufacturing goods in economically disadvantaged areas in order to alleviate poverty and reduce inequality. According to Fair Trade USA, these projects now help 1.2 million workers and their families in 70 countries.
Local fashion and accessories are fair trade made in your community and employ local workers; with less energy devoted to transport, they are also more environmentally friendly.
Low-impact dyed means the color of the fabric used in a garment is achieved with fewer, less environmentally damaging chemicals and less water.
Organic means the garment or accessory is manufactured without pesticides, insecticides or other synthetic chemicals. For a great example, check out our Organic Infinity Scarf!
RECYCLED & UPCYCLED
By consignment or thrift shopping, recycled clothes stay out of the landfill by being passed from consumer to consumer. And clothing recycling has a serious impact: On average, we 160 million American women spend $60 each month on clothes, while dumping six pounds of textile waste into the landfill.
Upcycled fashion converts waste into something of higher value, like plastic bags woven into handbags. Upcycled products can be—but aren’t necessarily—vegan, organic, low-impact dyed and fair trade.
Vegan products contain no animal materials, like leather, wool, down, fur or silk—although for some vegans, ahimsa or “peace” silk is acceptable. However, vegan products aren’t necessarily organic, low-impact dyed or fair trade. The Deux Lux line on our site is a prime example of vegan leather alternatives that are fashionable and fun!
AT LOVE GOODLY, we prefer vegan and organic products. We also believe in “voting with your dollars,” which basically means that you show your support for more sustainable production by buying it.