When you go to your local mall and step into a Forever 21, Garage, or American Eagle and look at the tag what do you expect to find? The garment care instructions, fabric content and of course where the article of clothing was manufactured. Unfortunately in most cases you’re going to see places like China, Vietnam, India and Bangladesh. Each article of clothing has a very dirty background behind it. Therefore searching for locally, ethically or sustainably crafted clothing is extremely important.
How to Find Ethical and Sustainable Clothing Brands
In case you are new to the Fast Fashion Series, I suggest that you check out the first three posts:
Once you are familiarized with Fast Fashion, come back and learn how to find sustainable clothing brands and some suggestions!
Criteria for Ethical and Sustainable Clothing Brands
When I search for an ethical and sustainable clothing brand, I start with a few important criteria:
When you go the website, do they list where and how the garment is manufactured? Do they tell you the fiber content? One website that I find does really well in sharing the transparency is Everlane. On their website they share where their factories are, how much their garments cost and ask the consumer how much they are willing to pay for them. Plenty of their clothing articles are made with natural fibers such as silk, cashmere and cotton.
Everlane is a good description for an ethical clothing brand with their transparency on factories and information on every single one. However, on their website there is no information in regards to the sustainablity behind the brand. Which brings me onto the next factor…
For me, sustainability in clothing is important. I personally want to lessen my impact on the environment as much as I can (although I have fallen in love with a few pieces from Everlane.) Finding a sustainable brand is extremely difficult – you need important information, but sometimes their website doesn’t share it.
An important seal to look for is the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) which is a regulation to ensure that brands claiming they are organic are. The Global Organic Textile Standard is proudly displayed on sustainable clothing brand websites because it is a symbol of the quality assurance. You can trust that when you see this symbol on a website the brand is reliable.
Pact is a great website to find affordable 100% organic cotton clothing. The only current downside is that they are unable to ship internationally. Therefore it is only open to customers that live in the U.S. I emailed customer service to find out when they may be able to ship internationally but they have not provided a date. I was informed that they do sell some articles of clothing at Mountain Equipment Company in Canada.
Access is my third factor in criteria because obviously it’s all well and good finding brands.. but if I can’t purchase from them it’s absolutely no good! Which is why Encircled is a brand that stood out to me. Encircled clothing is made in Toronto, Ontario in Canada and features versatile pieces (perfect for that capsule wardrobe!) Although they do not manufacture fabrics, they purchase eco-friendly and responsible fabrics such as modal, tencel and bamboo.
Encircled is both an example of an ethical and sustainable clothing brand due to their lack of sweatshops and dirty fabric choices. However, this comes with a price; their Chrysalis Cardi is a whopping $138 CAD… but you can make 8 different clothing looks with it. Each clothing look would cost you $17.25 CAD which seems to be a little bit easier to justify. Maybe.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t really have over $150 to spend on one item of clothing and therefore affordability is another important factor in my hunt for an ethical and sustainable clothing brand. That’s why I’ll always check out the sale section on websites – usually you can save quite a bit of money on clearance pieces. Each of these stores has a sale section where you can save over $20 on each piece! LA Relaxed, Satva and EcoVibe Apparel.
It’s hard to start finding clothing brands – so use the power of google! Some examples of search topics are:
“Ethical clothing Canada*”
“Sustainable Clothing Brands Canada*”
“Eco-Friendly Clothing Canada*”
“Clothing made in Canada*”
*insert your country of residence
I add the country I live in to ensure that the brands are available in my location. If you don’t enter your location you are more likely to receive results on promoted brands that may not ship to your country.
Ethical Clothing is an Investment
Finding quality clothing pieces takes time. They are an investment so in no way do I expect you to go out and spend $500 on a few pieces at once (unless you really want to…) It’s important to take the time and replace clothing items when your current pieces are no longer wearable or usable. It’s all about being a conscious consumer and knowing when to make these decisions.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this Fast Fashion series and hope that you’ve at least learned a couple things from it! After reading about the effects of Fast Fashion I knew that I needed to share because it is one of the largest sources of pollution. It really hits home to see famous Youtubers who probably have millions in the bank go out and unconsciously spend it on fast fashion… now I’m not going to name any names but I recently just watched a haul from a large Youtuber who did just that; it’s not her fault. She probably doesn’t know about it.
We need to make a conscious effort everyday to protect our environment and better the world for future generations and ourselves.