Every April 22nd, we celebrate Earth Day – a day dedicated to raising awareness for environmental causes like sustainability, global warming, animal rights, and more. You may feel like fashion isn’t really related to environmental causes, but it actually is! How do you think your clothing and accessories are made, after all? The materials have to come from somewhere, so your clothing is directly linked to the environment. It turns out, our fashion choices may have been hurting the environment for decades now and many of us have never even thought of it. Because of this, many brands are turning to circular fashion to reduce their clothing’s impact on the environment. In honor of Earth Day, we’re taking a deeper look at sustainable clothing and where you can find it!
What Is Circular Fashion and How Does It Help the Environment?
If this is the first time you’re hearing the term “circular fashion,” that’s okay. It’s a relatively new term being thrown around in the industry and most average consumers have no clue what it means yet. So, by all means, let us give you the inside info!
Circular fashion refers to clothing and accessories that have a longer life cycle and therefore reduce waste. This will help reduce the amount of clothing items and accessories made from poor quality materials that wind up in landfills. How many times have you bought a piece of clothing, worn it five or six times, and then tossed it out because it had already become raggedy? In all honesty, no clothing item should last for less than ten, twenty, or even thirty wears. When you invest in a piece of clothing, it should last you for years, not months (or in some cases, weeks). Circular fashion focuses on making sustainable, high-quality clothing that will last you for years without becoming worn and raggedy. This means that you can invest in a few wardrobe staples and keep them for years to come, rather than replacing everything in your closet every few months.
Now, how exactly do you make top-quality items that last for years while also making sure they are sustainable? What does it even mean for clothing to be sustainable? Sustainable clothing refers to clothes and accessories that are made meeting sustainability standards. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Manufactured without violating animal rights
- Manufactured without violating human rights
- Made with ethically-sourced materials
- Made with eco-friendly materials
- Can be easily repaired, tailored, or amended to avoid tossing out
When you purchase sustainable clothing, you’ll be investing in an item made with quality materials that are built to last. Of course, this means that these items may be more expensive, but they will last longer. This will save you money in the long-run, because you will not be paying to replace them a few months down the line. Also, if you decide that you no longer like the item after years of wear (or it no longer fits due to weight gain or loss), it will still be in perfect condition to be donated or thrifted for someone else to enjoy. Obviously, the main goal here is to help the environment, which these items do by reducing fashion-related waste in landfills. By meeting these standards, they are also working to eliminate animal and human rights violations in the fashion industry entirely. All of this creates an eco-friendly fashion industry that can help save the planet!
Where Can You Find Sustainable Clothing?
So where can you find sustainable clothing so that you can start doing your part for the environment? More and more retailers are jumping on the circular fashion bandwagon. Since an entirely sustainable inventory doesn’t happen overnight, most of these retailers have unveiled deadlines by which they plan to meet sustainability standards. (For example, H&M has pledged to use 100% sustainable materials in all of their products by 2030.) Many of these are retailers that we all know and love! Now is the time to build your sustainable wardrobe, and you can begin at any of the following retailers:
- Urban Outfitters
- Alternative Apparel
- Free People
- Eileen Fisher
- People Tree
*As previously stated, many of these retailers do not have 100% sustainable inventory yet, but do have sustainable collections and have committed themselves to transitioning completely in the near future.