10 Tips To Be Ethically Fashionable
The fashion industry has an impact on our health and the environment. That's why at Message Factory and OÖM Éthikwear, we're always looking for new ways to be more ethical about our fashion choices. Read on to discover 10 tips for being sustainable and stylish.
Use the 30 Wears Test
When it comes to shopping sustainably, longevity is key. That's why Livia Firth, founder of Eco-Age, started the #30Wears campaign. The idea behind the 30 wears test is simple. Before you purchase a new clothing item, ask yourself whether you'll wear it a minimum of 30 times. If the answer is no, look for a more versatile clothing option that you can style several ways. Try to select pieces of clothing you'll wear for multiple occasions that won't fall out of fashion next season.
Stay Informed and Educate Your Loved Ones
Learning about eco-friendly brands is one of the best ways to make smart purchases in the future. Look for companies that have earned certifications from third-party organizations. If you're not sure whether a brand you love is sustainable, a quick search can often help you find out. You can also send the company a message via social media to ask about their sustainability practices.
Spending a few extra minutes to research a brand before you make a purchase ensures you support companies that align with your values. After a while, your research will pay off and you'll have a full lineup of trusted brands to shop from. You can also check out our blog to learn about the slow fashion movement and discover new ways to make your wardrobe last longer.
Repair and Recycle Your Clothes
Just because your favorite blouse has a hole in it doesn't mean it's destined for the landfill. Learn some basic sewing techniques so you can tackle simple repairs at home, or find a tailor in your area that can give your damaged clothing a second chance at being fabulous. If an article of clothing is truly beyond saving, you might still be able to recycle it. Certain brands provide recycling programs that allow consumers to send them unwanted textiles. These brands either refurbish and resell the items or reuse the materials in new products.
Donate Clothes You No Longer Wear
Donate the clothes and accessories you no longer wear to a thrift shop or another nonprofit to extend their lifespan. Doing so can make it easier for other people in your community to find pieces they'll love and encourage them to make ethical fashion choices of their own.
Consider implementing a one-in, one-out policy by donating an article of clothing every time you purchase a new one. If your current wardrobe is full of clothes you don't wear, you can also host a clothing swap with your friends and family. You never know what gems could be hiding in their closets!
Buy From Local Clothing Brands
Buying clothing from local brands minimizes how far each piece has to travel, which can help you reduce your carbon footprint significantly. Look for small boutiques in your area that carry high-quality garments. You can also research local designers and clothing stores that produce their own apparel. On top of being an ethical way to source your clothes, you'll be supporting local business owners and creative professionals in your community.
Purchase Second-Hand Clothes
Even the most responsible clothing brands still leave behind a carbon footprint every time they manufacture a new product. That's why purchasing secondhand clothing and accessories is the ultimate option to conserve energy, decrease waste, and better the environment. Check out thrift shops or consignment stores in your area to see what you can find or browse vintage retail outlets online to snag some stylish pieces for your wardrobe.
Rent Clothes for Special Occasions
With approximately 300,000 tons of clothes dumped in landfills every year, finding ways to move toward a circular economy in the fashion industry is crucial. Rental platforms make it easy to find great deals on high-end statement pieces and prevent you from purchasing items you'll only wear once. Save space in your closet while minimizing waste by browsing rental options for the next special occasion you plan to attend.
Wash Less and Care For Your Clothes
Buying higher-quality clothes can improve their lifespan, but so can properly caring for them. Read the washing instructions carefully and invest in items you know you can maintain. For example, if you don't frequent the dry cleaners, you might not want to purchase clothes that are dry clean only.
If you iron your clothes frequently, we suggest purchasing a steamer as a more gentle alternative to keep your blazers and dress pants looking pristine. Washing your clothing less can also protect the fabric and decrease the number of microplastics released into waterways. Use shorter washing cycles and consider air-drying your clothes when it's nice outside to conserve energy.
Look for Organic or Recycled Fabrics
Check clothing labels to uncover what materials they're made out of so you can choose eco-friendly options. Many clothing labels will also tell you whether the fabrics are certified organic, which makes it easy to find ethical options. A few sustainable fabrics to look for when buying new clothes include sustainably grown cotton, hemp, and bamboo. Check out our blog to learn more and discover 10 eco-friendly fabrics for clothing.
Be Aware of Greenwashing
While there are plenty of brands that produce sustainable clothing, there are also companies that use "green" marketing to cover up unethical practices. Look beyond popular buzzwords to find proof that backs up a brand's claims. Review the materials they use, research how they're giving back, and see what changes they've made to their business model that support any sustainability goals or initiatives they claim to have. This can help you find companies that are truly trying to make a positive impact on the environment so you don't spend your money on greenwashed products.