As one of the largest polluters in the world (second to the oil industry), the fashion industry has a lot to answer for.
The term ‘sustainability’ is a buzzword that’s been thrown around for years, and while you’ve probably heard of it, how many of us can admit that we used to think it was just a hippy fad?
Back in the day, eco-fashion meant frumpy clothes – often seen at artsy festivals, and never on par with main-line trends. These days (thankfully), we’re seeing a huge rise in sustainable brands and we’re 100% HERE.FOR.IT.
What exactly is sustainable fashion, you ask? Often referred to as ‘eco-friendly’, or ‘environmentally-friendly’, these commonly used terms carry a big responsibility. In short, sustainable fashion is designed, sourced and produced ethically – meaning it has minimal damaging effects on the environment, or those working within the production line.
I bet you’ve never thought about how a cotton T-shirt is made? That’s cool, a lot of us haven’t. Well here’s an eye-opening fact for you, according to eco-business.com global cotton farming is responsible for the release of 24% of insecticides, and 11% of pesticides – bad news for us, and the environment. Allow me to side track from cotton for a moment… Most insecticides and pesticides are poisons and can cause a number of health concerns such as respiratory tract irritations, headaches and nausea – one of the many reasons people opt to eat organic (we’ll chat about that another day). You can learn more about the damaging effects here and here. Back to cotton… Cotton farming also uses a massive amount of water. To grow enough for a simple cotton T-shirt requires a whopping 713 gallons of precious H20! Crazy, huh?
We are now living in a time where we’re starting to question where things come from, and many of us are taking notable steps to living a greener lifestyle (big-up to all those refusing to use plastic straws). Once worn by tofu-loving tree-huggers (I’m allowed to say that, because I’m one of them), there’s never been a better time to become a fashionable environmentalist. Here are some of my favourite brands to put on your radar now…
Save Our Souls Clothing
Why it’s cool: I absolutely adore British label, SOS (as I like to call it) and I’m pretty sure you will too. As the new kids on the block, this rock star-worthy brand has gone from strength to strength since its launch, just last year. Popular amongst muso’s, art-lovers and tattooed bearded hipsters (their T-shirts are unisex), they’ve collaborated with some of the best artists around the world to create a super-cool line of sustainable tees. Cut from 100% organic cotton, all of the inks they use are water-based and eco-friendly. T-shirts are their main game, but they’ve also recently added a collection of male grooming products to their repertoire – so you can grab your BF a little something, something while you’re adding your goodies to the cart. Brownie points, or what? Sosclothing.co.uk
Why it’s cool: Dubai-based watch and sunglasses brand, Wild Wood, is your go-to for super-fly accessories. Handmade from eco-friendly reclaimed wood, and part of an initiative that plants a tree for every product sold, you need to check out their stylish collections. What’s more, all of their pieces are named after endangered animals – a cute, but important way to help drive awareness to our beautiful wildlife. Good one. Wildwoodme.com
Why it’s cool: Scandinavian-inspired swimwear brand, Ohoy Swim was founded by two sea-loving girlfriends in an effort to help clean up our oceans (and look super stylish while doing it). Sadly, there are an estimated 600,000 abandoned fishing nets scattered across our world’s seas. Ohoy Swim’s costumes and bikinis are 100% made out of a luxurious fabric, which started life as recovered plastic fishing nets. How cool is that? The brand is also committed to fair working conditions at their UAE based factory. Big thumbs up! Ohoyswim.com
Why it’s cool: I love a good sneaker and Po-Zu is my go-to when I’m craving something new (see how I made that rhyme?). Not only do they produce super-cool kicks, but their materials are ethically sourced, solvent free and eco-friendly. The company also prides itself on adhering to high ethical standards, and works with factories that recycle nearly all of their waste products. Head to the vegan collection of high-tops, and if you’re a fan of Star Wars – you’re in for a treat. You can thank me later. Po-zu.com
Why it’s cool: If you’re feeling flush (or have a birthday coming up) it-girl fave, Stella McCartney is the perfect choice for your next fash-investment. As one of the first high-end designers to create a sustainable label, Kate Moss’ BFF has been making waves as a vocal champion of environmental issues since 2001. Committed to pushing the boundaries, Stella McCartney’s handbags are to-die-for (and no animals are harmed in the process). Expertly crafted from innovative materials – never using leather or fur, you’ll be proud to carry these bags for years to come. I’m in love! Stellamccartney.com
Shopping tips for living a greener lifestyle:
1. Do your research
As detailed above, gone are the days when environmentally-friendly fashion was frumps-ville. A quick search on Google will reveal a plethora of cool brands that are produced with little, or no damage to the environment. You’ll also come across some really unique labels, which means you won’t always end up stepping-out in the same high-street clobber as your friends.
2. Ask questions
Don’t be afraid to ask, ask, ask. Quiz sales assistants and shop owners – and why not even email the founders of brands. Knowledge is power and it’s easy to educate yourself.
Never throw clothes in the trash. If they’re beyond saving then cut them into pieces and reuse as household cloths. If you’ve just grown tired of them and they’re still in good shape, take your clothes to a local purpose-built recycling bin, or high-street store like H&M, who offer a used garment collection service.
If we all do a little, we can change a lot… Just think about it.