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shopping secondhand is one way to avoid fast fashion. when purchasing new items, focus on making ethical purchases and avoid brands that perpetuate the fast fashion cycle.
• is it fair trade? fair trade clothing meets standards that ensure ethical practices (sourcing, manufacturing, and shipping.) workers are paid fairly, not forced to work, and are working in safe regulated conditions.
• is it contributing to community development? in other words, supporting or is a product of micro-loan programs, is a co-op, or provides rehab and retraining programs. these programs support the development of stronger, safer communities where the items are being produced.
• is it charitable? charitable companies can follow a get-one-give-one model (like Toms), donate a percentage of proceeds ( 1 Percent for the Planet) or commit to giving back in some way (like United By Blue who remove one pound of trash from U.S. waterways for every product sold, or Ten Tree who plants ten trees for every item purchased.)
• is the clothing created from sustainable materials?
🎋avoid synthetics like polyester, nylon, and acrylic and opt for organic and biodegradable materials like organic cotton, linen, hemp, jute, and bamboo. semi-synthetics like rayon/viscose, modal, and lyocell/tencel are better than full synthetics.
♻️purchase from brands who use recycled materials, like Girlfriend Collective who upcycles water bottles and fishing nets into activewear, Sunski who turns recycled plastic into sunglasses, and Patagonia who's been using recycled materials in their gear for years.
💧opt for items made with natural, non-toxic dyes and adhesives.
that being said, don't go out and get rid of your entire wardrobe in order to swap to ethically made clothing. the majority of the impact comes from the fact that your clothing was produced in the first place. the longer you wear that article of clothing, the lower the impact!
it can feel overwhelming to try to find ethical brands, but it’s easier than you’d think. in my next post, I’ll provide tons of resources!
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