Eco fashion is a focus on clothing that takes into account the environment, the health of the consumer who will wear the clothes, and the working conditions of the people involved with making the clothes.
Eco friendly brands are intentionally trying to lessen their environmental impact; they are trying to change the way the fashion industry operates and make it into a more sustainable process. However, you have to do your research; not all companies who claim to be eco-friendly actually are. Some companies “greenwash” their products; they deceptively make them appear to be more environmentally friendly than they actually are. To find actual eco companies, look for specific claims that are backed by a certification. These can include organic, fair trade, and certified B corporations. These claims are verified, whereas “natural” and “eco-friendly” are not. Also, look at the history of their environmental commitment; what have they actually done to help improve the environment, instead of just giving it lipservice. Finally, check where the product is sourced from; the more local the product is made, the less environmental impact it has. These products are usually more expensive than the majority of fast fashion products, but they are much higher quality and will last for longer.
Eco fashion brands have different ways to become more sustainable, so their impact can vary greatly. Here are a few quality brands that take different approaches to the sustainability question.
- Teeki. Teeki produces athletic wear made from recycled plastic water bottles, recycled polyester, and organic cotton. All of their garments are made in the USA. Every pound of clothing produced conserves the equivalent of half a gallon of gasoline.
- Patagonia. Patagonia is an outdoor clothing company that places sustainability at the forefront. Many of their products are produced using materials that require many less resources, including hemp, organic cotton,recycled nylon, and 100% recycled down. Their worn wear program aims to increase the life of all of their products by reselling them. Consumers sell back their used clothing, and Patagonia fixes it up and resells it at a reduced price. They also heavily invest in grassroots environmental activism, and some of their products are fair trade certified.
- Indigenous. Indigenous is a men’s and women’s clothing company that emphasizes organic materials. They use all organic cotton, and in doing so they save 400 pounds of pesticides of the land every year. They also use low impact dyes free from chemicals. Due to their production process, every year, they save 13 million gallons of water and 45,600 lbs of CO2. They also focus on using natural materials like cotton and tencel (wood pulp) instead of synthetic materials like microfibers.