With many companies boasting about how ‘sustainable’ they are and even more brands greenwashing about their products, it has become hard to determine their green credentials. Although we can never be sure about how sustainable a brand is, some indicators can help us decide whether their ethical statements are truthful.
Every company should be able to display the efforts they undertake to mitigate the risks of forced labour, child labour and worker exploitation in their supply chains, and protect the environment from the harmful impacts of the fashion industry. It is important to remember that no matter how much information we can find for each company, it does not mean that their supply chain is free from exploitation. Instead, it is an indicator of the company’s efforts and the strength of its systems to reduce the risk of exploitation.
Here are 6 tips to help with your search for ethically made fashion:
1.They don’t consistently create ‘new designs’ or ‘new’ collections. Slow fashion is all about buying less, consuming slowly, and investing in quality pieces that will last a long time. When a company wholeheartedly embraces ethical fashion, they will stray away from updating their designs every so often.
2. They are transparent about where their products come from, how their suppliers operate, the production process, and how their workers are being treated and paid. If brands do not have a clear transparency report regarding the production of their clothes and details of their ethics on their website, you can always email them. They should be able to give you information on: Who makes their clothes? Where are their clothes made? Where are their fabrics come from? How do they know that labour standards are consistently met?
3. They give a detailed description of their products, what materials their clothing is made out of, specific care instructions, and what packaging they use. The more detailed are their clothes description, the more knowledgeable they are about their products. This shows that the brand has an invested interest in educating it’s customers about the origin and composition of the clothes they are selling. If they give specific care instructions, it means that they are also interested in helping you to look after their clothes and extend their life as much as possible.
4. Look for their certifications or organisations they support. Are they part of a fairtrade scheme? Do they use sustainable fabrics? Perhaps they produce organic clothing using organic cotton, linen, hemp, or other specialty fabrics such as Lenzing TENCEL, Monocel. They may use upcycled/recycled materials such as cotton, polyester, and nylon. The sustainable quality of the above fibres has been determined by considering their water use, wastewater discharge, chemical use, energy use, and waste impact. Look for the Fair Trade Certified logo and the Fair Wear Foundation logo, which focuses specifically on the sewing and trimming processes of garment production. Also, look for the GOTS logo, which stands for Global Organic Textile Standard. It demonstrates that the fabric is certified organic and ensures that the whole supply chain meets strict social and environmental standards. Another certification is the Cradle to Cradle standard. This certification helps consumers understand how a product is made and how it is designed to reduce waste and stay out of the landfill.
5. Do they have a good returns policy to make it easy to return an item? If they offer easy returns, it means that they are committed to make the consumers’ purchasing experience as smooth as possible. If you can quickly return an item, it is less likely to sit in the back of your wardrobe unworn, donated to charity, or even worst, end up in the landfill.
6. Finally, with the circular economy in mind, where products designed to last longer and eventually come back into use as new materials rather than going to landfills – how does the brand responsibly manages their clothes post-consumer use? Do they offer a collect and recycle scheme for their clothes when they reach their end of life? If they do, then it means that they strive to reduce the negative impacts of the linear economy and are committed to building a business that provides environmental and societal benefits.
Do you have any more tips that you would like to share with us? Please comment below ⬇️⬇️⬇️ or get in touch with me on Social Media.
I hope these tips make your search for the next slow fashion brand a bit easier 🙂