How to Tell if Your Clothing is Ethically Made in 5 Minutes or Less!

Eco-Fashion, Men's Fashion

Unfortunately, many companies employ greenwashing tactics to cover their asses for environmentally destructive business operations.

Did you know that the fashion industry is one of the major polluting industries in the world?

In fact, polyester and many other materials people wear on a daily basis, contribute to water pollution and the spread of chemical toxins across the planet. These pollutants not only impact the environment, but they’re deadly to aquatic life and even humans.

The good thing though is that there are ways to buy and wear clothing that won’t hurt our environment. Ethically made clothing and sustainable fashion can help you look stylish without hurting the environment.

But how do you know if these clothes are truly ethically made? Unfortunately, companies partake in Greenwashing, the use of marketing to portray an organization’s products, activities or policies as environmentally friendly when they are not.

In this article, we’re sharing tips and tricks on how to shop sustainably, so you can look good, and feel great knowing you’re not harming the environment.

What is Ethically Made Clothing?

The biggest part of ethically made clothing is about minimizing the environmental impact of clothing manufacturing activities.

Ethical fashion companies strive to control and supervise things like treatment of waste-water, pesticides, fertilizers, and pollution, and the origin of the dyes they use. These companies take on their corporate responsibility by finding alternative production techniques to do less damage to the environment.

A core tenet of ethical fashion is respecting fundamental human rights, regardless of where the clothing is produced. This pillar concerns things like fair wages, safe facilities, and general work practice, which can vary greatly depending on where the clothing is made, and what the laws of that country are.

Ethical fashion aims to make sure all workers are fairly paid and treated with dignity and respect wherever they are.

By shopping ethical fashion, you can know that the clothes were made in safe working conditions and that the people who made them had their human rights respected.

Ethical fashion is about more than the environment and workers, it’s about these clothing manufacturers interact with the consumers buying their product. Ethical manufacturers do this by providing both quality service and transparent information about their products, manufacturing process, and material sourcing techniques.

By providing complete data and relevant information about everything, they can help consumers make informed decisions about their purchases.

How to Tell if You're Buying Ethically Made Clothing

Now that you know what ethical fashion is, you’re probably wondering how you can put this information to use. Here are some things to keep in mind as you shop for clothes, so you can make sure what you’re buying is ethically made.

When it comes to clothes shopping, the best thing to do is shop vintage, upcycled or waste fabrics. If you can’t find these materials, you should only shop recyclable materials like linen, hemp, or silk. You can also shop organic cotton, although that material takes a lot of water to make so it’s not the most environmentally friendly.

Materials like leather aren’t eco-friendly unless they’re recycled from old materials. Fur is also not an ethical choice as it involves killing, skinning, tanning and dyeing their skin to make it. In general, using animal products for fashion is not ethical.

Many times, clothing brands move production to Asia to increase their profit margins by paying workers next to nothing. The reason why many fast fashion brands have low prices is that they keep their workers in slave-like working conditions.

These manufacturers also move production to Asia to bypass laws that require developed countries from using toxic dyes without proper disposal and filtration. This toxic dye process kills anything exposed to factory wastewater like plant life, and it also poisons the drinking water supply.

Most large fashion companies practice some type of corporate social responsibility, which can usually be found on their website. These policies will tell you if they comply with local labor laws, and whether they’re dedicated to recycling and sustainability efforts.

It’s important to note that most companies will emphasize the good they’re doing over the bad.  But if you review closely, you may find out some brands you love are already engaging in fashion sustainability by using eco-friendly methods of dyeing their materials.

With so many fashion companies out there, it can be hard to tell which ones make ethical clothing. Websites like GoodGuide list out ethical and environmentally friendly brands of every industry.  Sites like Free2work highlight the working condition and ethical stance of many fashion companies as well.

There’s an app called ShopEthical that helps you track a company’s records with ethical and environmental impact. You can even download aVOID, a browser plugin, that will tell you if the products you’re shopping are associated with child labor. You can also browse by whatever sustainable category you want, like upcycled or for a cause.

Consider Other Factors

When it comes to shopping for clothes, textiles, dyes, and the ethical treatment of workers are important, but they’re not the only factors you should consider.  Great fashion companies go beyond these three things and incorporate sustainable efforts into their daily agendas.

Some great companies embrace green initiatives you’d never know about without doing some digging. For example, some companies power their offices with solar panels, and others recycle their water supply to reduce waste.

They may even do other great things you’d never notice like print out BPA free receipts or use recyclable packaging.

By buying from these brands, you can reinforce their positive business practices. This will push their competitors to step up their eco-friendly efforts to keep up, which will benefit everyone involved.

Our Final Thoughts on Ethically Made Fashion

We may only pay a small fee for fast fashion, but the environment and world at large pay much more. Cheap fashion ruins our environment, puts human people at risk, and misinforms the consumers buying it. Our team highly recommends watching The True Cost (Available on Netflix), to get a better understanding of the impact that fast fashion is having to our planet.

By shopping ethically made clothing, you can rest easy knowing you’re doing your part to protect the environment and the people making your clothes.

Are you looking to shop for clothes made with sustainability and ethics in mind? Browse our brands to find ethically made fashion you’ll love.

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      Has a serious passion for changing the way people discover and wear clothing.