The GIRO ReStore and other thrift stores are a great place to find a one-of-a-kind piece that supports the Reuse element of extending the life of a piece of clothing. But if you aren’t into thrifting, then it is best to find brands that sell clothing through a transparent, sustainable lens for all stages of manufacture, production, and distribution.
The textile industry is taking steps to transition from a highly polluting linear system to one that creates sustainable and ethical clothing where every stage of resource production, manufacture, distribution and end of life are being reconsidered. And its not just the fashion industry that is taking these steps, you as the consumer are starting to demand it.
The most sustainable piece of clothing is one that is already in your closet; there isn’t a circular model that has a zero footprint as all production of new clothing will always produce some level of carbon emissions and therefore negative impact on the environment. However, there are brands that are working hard to change the take, make, waste system and create clothing that is more sustainable.
“Fast fashion” refers to mass produced clothing that is made using poor quality material, in factories that don’t pay a fair wage. This clothing is shipped worldwide and sold at a cheap price point which encourages more purchases. Fast fashion is intended for short term use as it pills and loses its shape quickly, encouraging the consumer to throw it out within a year and buy new again. In contrast sustainable or “slow fashion” considers the full lifecycle of the product and everything and everyone that is being affected by it, from the environment to the workers and communities where it is produced, to the consumers who buy the product and what will happen to a piece of clothing at the end of its life.
The main issues that the fashion industry are now addressing:
- Water usage: Manufacturing clothing uses a massive amount of water. Some brands are changing their manufacturing process in order to use less water.
- Hazardous chemicals: The chemical process of dying clothing is dangerous for workers and contaminates the groundwater of the people who live in the surrounding communities.
- Short cycles of clothing use: With every season comes another clothing launch encouraging consumers to update their wardrobes again. The main push with sustainable clothing is to buy less and if you do purchase clothing, buy quality that is made to last.
- End of life waste: Rather than throwing out your clothing once it is showing signs of use, learn how to repair, mend or repurpose your clothing into another usable item.
- Agriculture: Growing cotton uses a lot of chemicals which also effect the groundwater for neighbouring communities and wildlife. Some brands are now growing cotton organically.
Below are a list of brands we believe are embracing the “slow fashion” movement towards a more sustainable future: