Why Eco-Friendly Clothing?
When you think of pollution, who do you think first? let me guess: big oil companies and coal mines. You´re not totally wrong, but the truth is, the fast fashion industry is one of the central polluting industries in the world.
Fortunately, brands are becoming increasingly mindful and are using more eco-friendly fabrics and production methods. Fabrics made from natural fibres are known as less toxic and polluting: either during the production process, duration of use (better skin tolerance) or even disposal (they can be broken down by bacteria once they are no longer in use). Improved production methods such as low-impact dying and upcycling of other natural fibres (regenerated fibres) and plastic waste are gaining worldwide brands attention. Hooray!
The earliest evidence of humans using fibers is the discovery of wool and dyed flax fibers found in a prehistoric cave in the Republic of Georgia that date back to 36,000 BP. Since then, other natural fibres were found useful as resources for clothing and other applications; these can be made from:
- plants (leaf fibres as from pineapple, nettles and banana, bast fibre as from hemp, flax, fruit fibre from coconut, stem fibres from bamboo and rice, etc)
- animal (wool, goats hair for cashmere and mohair, silk, etc)
- mineral sources (eg. collagen, keratin and amber for jewelry, etc)
Fibres made from plants have an additional interest my eco friend: let´s take the example from bamboo, that, on average, can absorb 5x more CO2 than an equal number of most trees; and if you asborb more CO2 from the air you get a greener environment and breathable air!
If you are out shopping already, check the labels and see if you can detect any of fibres above; you might read X % silk, cotton, virgin wool, bamboo viscose, linen, etc or even see some regenerated fibres as lyocel, tencel, modal, etc.
Plus, if you´re looking for certified eco-friendly brands check the following on the labels or on the brand´s website:
The eco fashion industry is growing fast and we must follow tendencies as smart consumers: buying new pieces of clothes in excess and then discarding it in the rubbish bin after a few uses does not go together with the ideological message of sustainability.
‘Sustainable Fashion’ can be defined as a system in which supply, production, and consumption of fashion products have been designed in a way that ensures environmental, social and economic sustainability – environmentally responsible design should ensure that fabric materials are produced in an eco friendly manner through sustainable farming methods and production processes which do not involve the exploitative of labor, especially in less developing countries.
Watch the following video on the fast fashion effect and new approaches to a more eco and ethical fashion:
I guess that answers Why…
Eco-fiendly clothing is the best choice when you must buy new clothes. If you´re here because you share the same environmental concerns as me, you understand why is so important to make smart decisions as consumers. Buy less, buy better!
Gladly, not all eco friendly clothes are expensive; we have been used to fast-fashion prices and changing paradigm can be difficult. However don´t give up just yet – check this link to know more on eco-labels with a reasonable price; browse online for brands working with natural fibres – you might find it closer to you than you think! Give it a go to new fabrics: i bought a couple of hemp t-shirts and bamboo socks a couple of years ago in a store 10 minutes away from my house – still have them, still love them!
Alernatively, some companies and small local businesses are encouraging consumers to purchase as second hand or through rental systems for leasing clothes and accessories (go for a stroll in your town and you will find a second hand shop or swipe the internet to find where you can borrow your clothes or accessories)
My humble advices are: buy less, more quality when you need to buy, educate yourself and your family and friends on how to make #smarteedecisions (smart eco & ethical decisions), research the brands (eg. use the Good on You App), donate clothes you no longer wear (check local and brands initiatives to upcycle clothes) and be mindful on how you care for your clothes (storage, laundering, ironing, basic repairs, etc – more detailed info here)
If you want to be more committed with your “green fight”, learn handweaving for example and how to upcycle old rags into fashionable garments.
We must take responsibility of our choices – we can decide how we spend our money, how our decisions should shape other´s life conditions and how we coddle what we already own. #smarteedecisions