Tag Archives: Organic Cotton Clothing

Call to Action


“Because normal human activity is worse for nature than the greatest nuclear accident in history.” ― Martin Cruz Smith  


The clothing and textile industry offers style and functionality. It sells dreams and provides a stage for self-expression. But the industry produces an environmental impact which is far from sustainable. Looking at the environmental challenges in this sector, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is asking: How will fashion brands fulfil customers’ dreams in the future while contributing to the well-being of society and the environment at large?

[About WWF – For nearly 60 years, WWF has been protecting the future of nature. The world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by more than one million members in the United States and close to five million globally. WWF’s unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature]

Doing ‘business as usual’ will not be an option for the industry nor for the planet in the long run. To stay financially successful, companies will find it necessary to reduce their environmental impact and to respect the ecological boundaries of our planet. WWF’s vision is that the clothing and textile industry contributes to a world in which humans live in harmony with nature. There is a long way to go to make this vision come true, but WWF believes it to be possible, if the industry takes bold action and leadership for transformation.

The clothing and textile industry has an ecological footprint which is far from sustainable. The industry emits 1.7 billion tons of CO2 annually, is responsible for extensive water use and pollution, and produces 2.1 billion tons of waste annually, to name just a few aspects.

Global consumption of clothes doubled between 2000 and 2014. Today, on a global average, every person buys 5kg of clothes per year, but in Europe and the USA the figure is as high as 16kg. Overall apparel consumption is projected to rise even further, from 62 million tons in 2015 to 102 million tons in 2030. This projected increase in global fashion consumption will create further environmental stress and risks.4

Environmental impacts should furthermore be of financial concern to brands. A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group indicates that brands’ profit margins could fall by at least 3 percentage points by 2030 due to rising costs for labor, raw materials and energy, if companies continue with business as usual. This would add up to approximately €45 billion per year of lost profits for the

The clothing and textile sector faces many sustainability issues along the supply chain. The four most pressing environmental impacts energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, water use, pollution through chemicals and micro plastics, and waste are described in more detail below.

Energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. According to estimates, the clothing and textile industry emits 1.7 billion tons of CO2 annually and is therefore a significant contributor to global warming. This contribution to global GHG emissions is alarming, particularly when taking into account that the level of atmospheric CO2 already today exceeds the safe human operating space by 20 per cent.

Water use, water quality and water basin risks. The clothing and textile industry uses high volumes of water, particularly in raw material production like cotton growing, in dyeing and wet processing stages, and during the use phase by consumers. It is estimated that growing one kilogram of cotton needs up to 20,000 liters of water, depending where and how it is grown. The World Bank estimates that 20 per cent of industrial water pollution comes from textile dying and treatment. Water use and pollution lead to increased environmental stress at the water basin level, particularly in apparel producer countries.

Use of chemicals and micro plastics. The production of fabrics requires different kinds of harmful chemicals, which can be toxic and cause damage to the environment as well as the workforce. Chemicals are used throughout the apparel supply chain both in natural fiber production (pesticides) and in the production of final garments (e.g. dyes and colorants, detergents, water or stain repellents, performance enhancing coatings, fire retardants). Conventional cotton accounts for 24 per cent of global sales of insecticides and 11 per cent of all pesticides. Clothing made from polyester poses an as yet unknown threat to the oceans and eventually to the planet. When washing these clothes, micro plastic fibers are released, which find their way to the oceans.

Waste. Currently 80 per cent of all clothing produced ends up in incinerators or landfill, and only 20 per cent is recycled. The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that textile waste occupies nearly 5 per cent of all landfill space. However, one challenge is that, globally, collection rates for clothes are very low. Germany outperforms most countries in recycling by collecting almost 75 per cent of all used clothing. But elsewhere the collection rates are far lower: 15 per cent in the United States, 12 per cent in Japan and 10 per cent in China.

What can consumer do? Call to Action:-

Buy organic and green. There are several standards and labels in the clothing and textile industry. WWF particularly recommends buying sustainable cotton, including organic cotton, Fairtrade cotton, Cotton made in Africa and Better Cotton. You can check WWF’s sustainable cotton ranking or siegelklarheit.de for more information on sustainable labels and standards. Swiss and international brands and retailers such as Coop, Migros and H&M, but also smaller companies, offer their own branded ecological collections, and there are other companies that make being green a central part of their business. The website Getchanged.net reveals a large collection of fashion brands that produce according to high ecological standards.

Buy wisely. If you buy new clothes, prefer high-quality basics made by responsible brands. You can mix these basics with your swapped, rented or second-hand accessories and fashion items. Consider that trends usually do not last that long, and question whether you must follow all trends.

Address the topic with your friends and colleagues. Inform your colleagues about the negative impact of clothing and textile companies on the environment and discuss potential solutions and actions you can take.

Contact your preferred fashion brand. Send companies your positive or negative feedback on their sustainability performance. If your preferred label does not provide green collections, or does not transparently communicate their environmental and social performance, voice your concern to the company.

Vote for a sustainable transformation of the economy. Particularly in a direct democracy such as Switzerland your vote for a sustainable transformation of the economy counts. WWF Switzerland regularly publishes recommendations on how to vote on certain topics, including issues such as green economy.

Support non-governmental organizations. Consider supporting the work of WWF or other NGOs engaged in the fashion industry. WWF strategically approaches the textile and other industries with the aim to move companies’ performances towards sustainability. You can support the work of WWF as a volunteer, with a donation and much more.

Read full report here

Be Kind to Planet!


“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” – Robert Swan, Author


“Millennials more likely than older adults to donate clothing rather than trash it”

In 2012, Americans sent more than 14 million tons of textile waste to trash dumps around the country, despite many options for consumers to repurpose or recycle textile waste, including donating old clothes to charities and recycling the materials to be remade into other products.

There are about 1,200 municipal solid waste landfills in the United States, Jon Powell, a doctoral student in chemical and environmental engineering at Yale University and an expert on landfills informs. About 900 of these have vacuum systems that collect landfill gas for burning or to produce electricity.

But a lot of landfill gas is simply vented into the atmosphere. In fact, landfills are the third-largest source of methane emissions in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Methane is known to be 28 times more efficient than carbon dioxide at trapping heat, Powell said. That means it poses a huge global warming problem.

Pamela Norum, professor and interim department chair of textile and apparel management at the University of Missouri, found that younger adults from ages 18-34 are much less likely to throw old clothes and other textile waste into the garbage than older adults. She also found that millennials were more likely to donate clothing to secondhand stores such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army

“It was surprising to see that older adults were less likely to donate to secondhand stores and more likely to use the trash than younger adults,” Norum said. “Baby Boomers grew up when the recycling culture was coming of age, so we thought they would be more willing to recycle their used clothes rather than throwing them in the trash. However, it was gratifying to see that younger Americans are more likely to recycle textiles; hopefully they will carry on that behavior into the future.”

For her study, Norum examined data from a 2012 survey of more than 500 U.S. consumers. Overall, she found:

  • 65 percent donated at least some clothing to charity
  • 50 percent donated to non-profit secondhand stores
  • 40 percent of Americans threw away at least some clothing
  • Consumers 55 years and older were more likely to donate to charities than millennials

Norum also found consumers dispose of their clothes for various reasons including clothing that was out of style or the wrong size; they were running out of storage space; and clothes were old or damaged. Norum says it is important for consumers to be educated about all the possibilities for recycling and re-using old clothes, so waste can be reduced.

“Nearly all textiles can be recycled or re-used in some way, even underwear,” Norum said. “Lightly worn clothing can always be donated to charities and secondhand stores; more degraded fabrics can be cut up and made into rags or given to textile recyclers who can break down the materials and use them to manufacture new fabrics or other textile products. With all of these easy and free options for recycling, little excuse exists for throwing away clothing, especially if it is simply out of style or the wrong size. Educating Americans about these options is important to reduce waste and to prevent the needless manufacturing of additional textiles to replace materials thrown away needlessly.”

This study was published in the Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal. The MU Department of Textile and Apparel Management is housed in the College of Human and Environmental Sciences.

References:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160308134923.htm

Did you do your mandatory investment? (part 2)


Take care of your body. This is the only place you have to live – Jim Rohn


7. Preventive Care: Prevention is better than cure. Prevention in this case comes with  a health routine like exercise, nutritious diet, good sleep, lower stress levels, and regular health check-ups. Leading a healthy lifestyle has many potential long term benefits like higher motivation levels, positivity, quick thinking, endurance as well as improved performance at  work.

8. Invest in mental and spiritual health: Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.

Spiritual health and wellness involves values and beliefs that provide a purpose in our lives. Leading one to strive for a state of harmony with oneself and others while working to balance inner needs with the rest of the world.

The National Wellness Institute says spiritual wellness follows the following tenets: (a) It is better to ponder the meaning of life for ourselves and to be tolerant of the beliefs of others than to close our minds and become intolerant. (b) It is better to live each day in a way that is consistent with our values and beliefs than to do otherwise and feel untrue to ourselves.

Positive mental health allows people to: Realize their full potential, cope with the stresses of life, work productively, make meaningful contributions to their communities. Ways to maintain positive mental health include: Connecting with others, staying positive, getting physically active, helping others, getting enough sleep, developing coping skills

Read here how a mental health diagnosis can be empowering 

9. Good friends are good for your health: Invest time with good friends. Good friends are good for your health. Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. Friends prevent loneliness and give you a chance to offer needed companionship, too. Friends can also:

  • Increase your sense of belonging and purpose
  • Boost your happiness and reduce your stress
  • Improve your self-confidence and self-worth
  • Help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one
  • Encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise

Friends also play a significant role in promoting your overall health. Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). Studies have even found that older adults with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.

10. Manage Your Stress: Invest in stress management. Stress is become a part of life today. Excess stress is harmful. Stress occurs when you perceive that demands placed on you — such as work, school or relationships — exceed your ability to cope. Some stress can be beneficial at times, producing a boost that provides the drive and energy to help people get through situations like exams or work deadlines. However, an extreme amount of stress can have health consequences, affecting the immune, cardiovascular and neuroendocrine and central nervous systems, and take a severe emotional toll.

Here are five healthy techniques that psychological research has shown to help reduce stress in the short- and long-term.

Take a break from the stressor.  When you give yourself permission to step away from stress, you let yourself have time to do something else, which can help you have a new perspective or practice techniques to feel less overwhelmed.

Exercise. The research keeps growing — exercise benefits your mind just as well as your body. We keep hearing about the long-term benefits of a regular exercise routine. But even a 20-minute walk, run, swim or dance session in the midst of a stressful time can give an immediate effect that can last for several hours.

Smile and laugh. Our brains are interconnected with our emotions and facial expressions. When people are stressed, they often hold a lot of the stress in their face. So laughs or smiles can help relieve some of that tension and improve the situation.

Get social support. Call a friend, send an email. When you share your concerns or feelings with another person, it does help relieve stress. But it’s important that the person whom you talk to is someone whom you trust and whom you feel can understand and validate you. If your family is a stressor, for example, it may not alleviate your stress if you share your works woes with one of them.

Meditate. Meditation and mindful prayer help the mind and body to relax and focus. Mindfulness can help people see new perspectives, develop self-compassion and forgiveness. When practicing a form of mindfulness, people can release emotions that may have been causing the body physical stress. Much like exercise, research has shown that even meditating briefly can reap immediate benefits.

11. Be kind and do random acts of kindness: Kindness increase love hormone, energy, happiness, life span, pleasure and serotonin. Kindness decreases pain, stress, anxiety, depression and  blood pressure. Read Further here

It pays to be kind: Those who are compassionate and better in-tune with other people’s emotions may be more successful at work. “People trust you more, they have better interactions with you, you even get paid better,” said Dacher Keltner, a professor at the University of California-Berkeley and co-director of the Greater Good Science Center.

“We often are pursuing our own interests most effectively by laying them aside and serving others,” says Stefan Klein in Survival of the Nicest.

Read here How to make yourself nicer

Kindness strengthens our immune system, reduces aches and pains, improves our cardiovascular profile, and boosts energy and strength in elderly people. In a 2006 study, the most loving and kind couples were shown to have the lowest levels of atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries).

Various studies in the past 15 years have shown that regular volunteers have better health and (among the elderly and those with HIV/AIDS) a lower mortality rate.

So how often should we be out volunteering? A study by Allan Luks, famous for researching the “helpers’ high,” found that weekly volunteering makes you 10x more likely to experience health benefits than annual volunteering. Among older people ages 64-68, an Australian National University study found that we get the greatest health benefits from volunteering about 2-4 hours a week and little benefit from any time beyond that.

Even witnessing kindness might be good for us: a 1988 Harvard study found that participants who watched a 50-minute video about Mother Teresa had elevated levels of salivary immunoglobulin-A, which protects us from pathogens in food.

Invest in your health and watch it grow:

Ageing Well Chart

 

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/friendships/art-200

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/what-is-mental-health/

https://www.jenreviews.com/mental-health-diagnosis/

Invest in your Health

 

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/manage-stress.aspx

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/10/facts-about-being-nice_n_5791778.html

Main Image: http://www.scottwagnerchiropractic.com/invest-in-your-health-with-scott-wagner/

The benefits of kindness

Did you do your mandatory investment? (part 1)


There is no better investment than in your health – Jitin Anand


Have you made the best investment of your life yet? No? Its not too late, whatever age you might be at and whatever situation you might be in. Returns are guaranteed, 100%.

Do not just let the banks, mutual funds, bonds, stocks and real estate keep using your money. Keep some aside for the best thing in your life.  If you have this thing, you can enjoy your life with or without money. If you don’t have this thing you cannot enjoy your life, what ever money you got. The thing is your HEALTH.

Whenever you are working on the various investment options, let health be your top priority. There are lots of ways you can invest in your health. Investment is low and results are real high. No broker can do this for you, you have to plan it yourself and implement it yourself.

Good Health is the greatest blessing of life. Life is a weary burden to a person of broken health. The richest man with bad health always suffers and groans. He is unhappy despite his great wealth.

Unfortunately, today we don’t protect our health well. Not as enough as we protect our other precious things. We let thieves steal it from us, and in many cases, almost every day. Those thieves are bad lifestyle habits.

We might have good intentions to protect our health but food and chemical industry has accumulated  so much toxic around us that we keep damaging our health without even knowing.

What we can do in this scenario? I would say: Don’t be ignorant.

Everything revolves around what you eat and what is your lifestyle.

The true cost of an unhealthy lifestyle or little exercise, poor diet and smoking has been quantified by scientists who found that it can reduce lifespan by 23 years. People who develop largely preventable conditions like heart disease, stroke and type two diabetes are cutting their life short by decades, a 50 year study has shown.
It is estimated that around 80 per cent of cases could be prevented by keeping weight under control, exercising more, eating a healthy diet, and not smoking or drinking too much.
For a man in his 40s, suffering from all three conditions reduces life by 23 years. It means that a 40-year-old’s life expectancy would drop from 78 to just 55. Likewise someone in their 60s could lose 15 years, meaning a 60-year-old man might have just three years of life left.

One of our most important assets is our health. If we don’t feel well, we can’t do well. How can you expect to get the absolute most out of life if your energy levels are below average, carrying around excess fat, and feeling like complete crap? You can’t! Looking good is just a benefit. It is so much deeper than simply reaping the exterior rewards. The true benefit is what happens within us when we give our bodies the attention they need.

11 Ways to invest in your health:

  1. Invest in good food: Food is fuel for your body. It has a direct impact on how you feel as well as on your overall health. Fast food isn’t necessarily bad, but in many cases, it’s highly processed and contains large amounts of carbohydrates, added sugar, unhealthy fats, and salt (sodium).In today’s time, list of bad foods is longer than good foods. Bad food is invented every day, and quietly keep adding to the menus in restaurants and keep enticing us with flashy commercials, while we sit and relax in our living rooms.Bad food is everywhere and it is almost impossible to ignore it unless we are highly disciplined. Bad foods come with a huge advantage. Fast food industry knows it well exploit it to the fullest. Advantage: Tastes good and cheap.Well, be Confident. Don’t believe the hype. Quitting junk food is easy. Your body doesn’t need it. If it could choose, it’d go for clean foods. If you’re giving your body what it needs, you’ll be ok. If not: it’s in your head. Act. Don’t sit there waiting. If you want to change your eating habits do something about it. Go to the grocery store. Go organic. Cook your food. Prepare meals for work. Quit smoking and alcohol abuse. Your health depends on what you eat. Invest in good organic food. Eat 7 colors of different fruits and veggies everyday.
  2. Get yourself tested: Get all your tests done. Cholesterol, Sugar levels, vitamin D, vitamin B12, protein etc. Find out what is insufficient and deficient in your body and build a custom plan for what your body needs.
  3. Get educated: Once you know where your health stands only then you can start investing in your health. So invest time in educating your self about various foods and exercise programs that can help your body. Know vitamins and minerals you need. Take it from natural sources and not synthetic. Educate your self about various foods having vitamins and minerals you need.
  4. Sleep Right: Simply put, people sleep best when they sleep and rise at around the same times, whereas those with more irregular sleeping patterns can end up suffering from insomnia and other problems along those lines. Keep your room dark and cool and learn how your body can sleep best. Remember, if we live 75 years, we sleep 25 years. Magic happens when we sleep right. Body builds new cells and cures itself. Let the natural magic happen to your every night and let your body cure you.
  5. Invest in fitness: Physical inactivity has been consistently associated with an increased risk of early death, as well as being associated with a greater risk of diseases such as heart disease and cancer. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines:
    Aerobic activity. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week.
    Strength training. Do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. Aim to do a single set of each exercise, using a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions.

Sitting is new smoking. Don’t just keep sitting, even if your job is   such like. Our bodies are made to move. Keep moving.

6. Limit chemicals use and chemical abuse

  • Plastic and other Chemicals
  • The low-fat food movement and other processed, sugar-filled foods
  • Toxic mold
  • The overuse of pills
  • GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)
  • EMFs (Electric and Magnetic fields) and Cell Phones

Our body is not a chemistry lab. Protect it from chemical filled foods and chemical abuse. Get help if you need. There is plenty available, we just have to ask for it.

References: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/exercise/faq-2

Fast food damage image- http://www.dailystar.co.uk/diet-fitness/531115/Fast-food-does-to-body-brain-health-effects

“Tox-Sick”, Author Suzanne Somers

Main Image: https://saltuary.com.au/invest-in-your-health/

Who decides what is Organic?


Every time you buy organic, you are persuading more farmers to grow organic- Mother Earth News


If you are buying any organic product, make sure its certified organic. Worldwide, there are different agencies certifying a product to be made organically.

Like in  USA, it not legal to sell organic food without USDA certification on it. Organic Certification allows a farm or processing facility to sell, label, and represent their products as organic. The organic brand provides consumers with more choices in the marketplace. The USDA protects consumer options by protecting the organic seal.

Any organic operation violating the USDA organic regulations faces enforcement actions, which can include financial penalties or suspension/revocation of their organic certificate.

Look for USDA mark on any organic food product you buy.

An earlier certifier was CCOF in California. The California Certified Organic Farmers group was founded in 1973 by local organic growers. CCOF continues to advocate for organic farming, and is the leading official organic certifier for the USDA. Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply has been certified by CCOF as an organic seed handler.

Oregon Tilth is another regional group that acts as a certifier for the USDA NOP.

Demeter certifies organic growers for the USDA—with an interesting addition. Demeter also certifies for biodynamic farming.

OMRI certifies farming materials

What do organic farmers use in their fields? Organic seeds, from companies like Peaceful Valley, plus farming supplies that are certified by OMRI [Organic Materials Review Institute]. Created in the late 1980s by CCOF and Oregon Tilth as a materials and testing program, OMRI is now the primary organic materials review clearinghouse in the country.

There is no doubt that by buying organic cotton clothing you are not only saving your skin from toxic chemicals present in the conventional cotton production, textiles and clothing manufacture, but also contributing in a significant way to save planet earth from the impact of widely used toxic fertilizers, pesticides, harmful dyes and chemicals for finishing fabric for making clothes.

It is important though to looks for certification marks and symbols on the clothing tags and packaging to make sure organic cotton is certified and genuinely produced. Third party certification gives us unbiased and substantive information about the environmental performance of a fabric. Each certification has a different meaning. Look for individual certification text to identify what it means.

If a garment you buy says it is made with organic cotton it means the fiber used is organic but chances are that the chemicals used in processing may contain some of the highly toxic chemicals usually found in solvents, dyestuffs, and finishes. Further while processing the product, excess chemicals were released in the effluent and are now circulating in our groundwater. It can be still made in a sweat shop where there are no fair wages and safe working conditions. So in addition to organic cotton, look for other certification which certifies that product is made with low impact dyes and chemicals.

There are various well known organizations around the world involved in organic fiber and safer textiles certifications. Look out for below symbols (remember each symbol has unique meaning):

United States Department of Agriculture, National Organic Programs a regulatory program housed within the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. They are responsible for developing national standards for organically-produced agricultural products. These standards assure consumers that products with the USDA organic seal meet consistent, uniform standards. This means only fiber is organic. Look for below symbols for post fiber certifications. Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) may be sold as ‘organic’ in the U.S. though they may not refer to NOP certification or carry the USDA organic seal.

GOTS symbol: Product grown and processed to organic standards. Products carrying the GOTS symbol are made from organic fibers, have met strict environmental and social criteria during processing and have been certified by an independent, third party along the whole supply chain.

Standards apply to fiber products, yarns, fabrics and clothes and cover the production, processing, manufacturing, packaging, labeling, exportation, importation and distribution of all natural fiber products, GOTS provides a continuous quality control and certification system from field to shelf.  There are also social responsibility components (i.e., fair wages, no forced or bonded labor, etc.)  All parameters are listed and accessible.

The GOTS parameters for materials include prohibitions or restrictions on Aromatic solvents, Chloro Phenols (TCP, PCP), Complexing agents (APEO), Formaldehyde and short chain aldehydes, Fungicides and biocides, Halogenated solvents, Heavy metals, Ammonia treatment. There are detailed social criteria:  no forced or bonded labor; workers are not required to lodge “deposits” or identity papers with employer; no child labor; workers are free to leave after reasonable notice; working conditions are safe and hygenic. Wastewater treatment includes measurement and monitoring sediment quantities, waste water temperature and waste water pH.  Find out more about GOTS…

Soil Association symbol: Product certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard by Soil Association Certification Ltd.

The Soil Association was a founder member of GOTS and is a quarter owner of Global Standard GmbH which manages the GOTS. Soil Association is the UK’s largest organic certification body. It’s also the only certification body linked to a committed charity, promoting organic food and farming. Find out more about the Soil Association…

OneCert: This organization provides organic certification worldwide with certification and inspection programs including the US National Organic Program (NOP), European Organic Regulations, Quebec Organic Standards (CAQ), Japan Agricultural Standards (JAS), IFOAM, and Bio Suisse.

Services include organic certification, organic inspection, export certificates, transaction certificates, on-line record keeping, answers to certification questions, and presentations of organic topics.

OE100 symbol: Cotton in the product grown to organic standards. Product has been tracked and traced along the supply chain by an independent, third party.

Contains 100% certified organic cotton fiber, but hasn’t necessarily been processed to organic standards.

 Peterson Control Union:  Control Union is a global one-stop-shop for a range of services in all aspects of the logistics chain of many commodities, including certification programs.  It certifies to the standards of The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), and the Organic Exchange.

The Institute for Marketcology (IMO): IMO is one of the first and most renowned international agencies for inspection, certification and quality assurance of eco-friendly products. IMO offers certification for organic production and handling according to the EU Regulation.

  Control Union is a global one-stop-shop for a range of certification programs, including organic fibers.  It certifies to the standards of AB logo, Bio Suisse, Canada Organic Regime, EU organic, Japanese, Agricultural Standards, Naturland inspections, NPOP, Polish EU organic, USDS/NOP.

 Oeko Tex (www.oeko-tex.com):  This is important mark to look for safe textiles production. Founded to provide an objective and reliable product label for consumers and a uniform safety standard for the assessment of harmful substances in fabrics.  Its aim is to ensure products are free of harmful substances. The Oeko-Tex Standard 100 excludes harmful substances or limits their use. The following parameters form part of the Oeko-Tex list of criteria and is specifically banned AZO dyes, carcinogenic and allergy-inducing dyes, formaldehyde, pesticides, chlorinated phenols, chloro-organic benzenes and toluenes, extractable heavy metals, phthalates in baby articles, Organotin compounds (TBT and DBT), emissions of volatile components.

Resources:

http://www.ota.com/sites/default/files/indexed_files/What%20are%20Organic%20Fiber%20Products.pdf
https://oecotextiles.wordpress.com
https://www.onecert.com/
http://www.global-standard.org/

https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/organic-certificate

Main image: https://www.greens-efa.eu/en/article/news/organic-food-and-farming/

 

Would you wear fruits and veggies -2?


If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin


(2/2 – This article is in two parts)

5. Fruitleather

Koen Meerkerk (23) and Hugo de Boon (23) are a Rotterdam based designer duo, recently graduated from the Willem de Kooning academy in Rotterdam. With a passion for creating value to things which have been labelled useless, the duo has placed themselves in todays circular economy. Facing and solving problems from a designer’s point of view.

These graduates of the Willem de Kooning Academie in Holland decided to collect the unsold fruit from their local farmersmarkets. They then de-seed, puree, boil and dry the fruit out into thin leather sheets. From this, they create stylish pumpkin-strawberry handbags and peach lampshades.

Farmers tend to leave up to 40% of their harvest in the fields, because it does not meet the cosmetic standards for the supermarkets. Deforestation occurs frequently so that food can be grown which does meet the needs of this cosmetic standard.
In developed countries there are different reasons why produced food for the consumer is wasted. This is often due to the fact that the consumer has bought to much, or because retailers reject the food because of its appearance. 10% of all greenhouse gasses in rich countries is emitted by producing food that will never be eaten.

Using an eco-friendly process which they developed, the discarded fruit is transformed to sheets of leather-like material. In order to really get the leather look, a final finishing is applied. The Fruitleather can be coated or embedded with a print before being applied to a large variety of products which tend to use traditional leather.
Process which involves mashing, cooking and drying, is a lot cleaner then the process that traditional leather undergoes. Using natural materials, final product is a lot less harmful to both the environment and animals.

6.  Nettles: For Tea and Fabric
Using nettles to make fabric is nothing new. Nettle fibers have been found in burial sites in Denmark that date back to the Bronze Age. In Europe, Camira Fabrics, a textile firm in Yorkshire, is known for bringing those nettle fibers back. Thanks to a partnership with De Montfort University they worked to develop a fabric made partly with the crop that most consider a weed.

nettle fabrics

The resulting fabric is called Sting, made with 25% nettles and 75% wool and is certified 100% biodegradable. Now Camira has expanded that fabric into three different lines. While their fabrics are mainly intended for upholstery, nettle fabric has already been used in the fashion world, most notably by Dutch brand Brennels.

Bio Trimmings copy

The resulting fabric is called Sting, made with 25% nettles and 75% wool and is certified 100% biodegradable. Now Camira has expanded that fabric into three different lines. While their fabrics are mainly intended for upholstery, nettle fabric has already been used in the fashion world, most notably by Dutch brand Brennels.

7.

food and fashion

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk, Wear It!
Around the world, over a billion tons of food gets wasted every year, which is why a lot of individuals and companies have started to take a look at how we can better put food waste to use, instead of just taking it to the landfill. Germany’s QMilk targeted milk, not the drinkable stuff, but the milk that has gone off and gets tossed in the trash instead. In Germany alone, almost 2 million tons of milk is thrown out. Developing a biopolymer from the milk protein casein, QMilk makes both a fabric, which has a silky feel and is 100% biodegradable, as well as a line of natural cosmetics from its bioplastic.

8.  Orange Fiber

Another juicy start-up can be found in Italy. Sicilian-born Adriana Santanocito has created a soft, sustainable textile out of citrus waste. Orange Fiber aims to put the 700,000 tons of waste created by the orange juice industry to good use.

Winner of an Ideas for Change Award from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.  They envision a new life for these materials, transforming them into refined, ethereal fabrics perfectly suited to Italian tradition of high-quality fabrics and high fashion.

As of today, world’s first and only brand to produce a patented material from citrus juice byproducts, repurposing them to create beautiful, sensorial materials that reshape your sartorial experience.

Fabrics are formed from a silk-like cellulose yarn that can blend with other materials. When used in its purest form, the resulting 100% citrus textile features a soft and silky hand-feel, lightweight, and can be opaque or shiny according to production needs

9. Coffee Grounds:

Coffee is not just a beverage – for many of us, it’s a way of life. But the innovative team at Singtex have taken this one step further and learned how to spin coffee into cloth.

Singtex invented the S.Café® eco-friendly coffee yarn in 2008. Made from plastic bottles and coffee grounds, this green, high-tech yarn is environmentally friendly, de-odorizing, and fast drying, UV-resistant and has many different applications. When applied to textile fibers it enhances their functionality without affecting dye performance.

No solvents are used in the production process. Nor does it require the high-temperature carbonizing treatment of conventional carbonized materials. This reduces CO2 emissions by around 2.7 kg. The technology has since been recognized by the top three invention awards in the world. (Gold and Merit Award at INPEX in Pittsburg, USA; Gold medal at iENA Nuremberg; Gold and Special award at the International Exhibitions of Inventions Geneva)

Apart from the development of eco-friendly products they invested into the construction of a precision environmentally friendly dyeing center. Green construction was incorporated into plant construction to meet the requirements of environmentally friendly design from the selection of energy supply to the selection of dyes.

This series of textiles incorporate humidity regulation, odor-control, anti-UV, fast-drying and cool-wear technologies. General applications include sports clothing, outdoor recreation clothing, home clothing, casual clothing, underwear, bed ware and accessories

 

Resources:

The Project

http://orangefiber.it/en/collections/

Main image: pixabay.com

https://bkaccelerator.com/9-cool-projects-where-sustainable-food-and-fashion-come-t

Would you wear Fruits and Veggies?


If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin


(1/2 – This article is in two parts)

What is common between food and fashion? Nothing? Well not anymore.  Keep reading.

Keeping yourself fed and clothed are two basic necessities. If you care where your food comes from, well then start caring from where your clothes come from too because not only food, clothes are loaded with chemicals too, beyond your imagination.

Food waste is being used by designers to develop fabrics and clothes and believe me, its fashionable. Let me peel the layers for you.

  1. Leather Vs Pineapple 🙂
Goods made from leather-alternative Pinatex. Product prototypes: shoe by Camper (gold details), shoe by Puma, brown clutch bag by Ally Capellino, ywo iPhone covers by Carmen Hijosa, Backpack+ iPad cover by Smithmattias. Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian

Every year, the global leather industry slaughters more than a billion animals. Along with cattle, other animals—including sheep, dogs, and cats—are killed for their skin in China. In India, cows are forced to march for days—without food or water—to their own deaths.  Cattle who collapse from exhaustion have their tails broken or chili peppers rubbed into their eyes in order to force them to keep moving.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the incidence of leukemia among residents near a tannery in Kentucky was five times greater than the U.S. average. Turning skin into leather uses dangerous chemicals, including mineral salts, formaldehyde, and coal-tar derivatives.

Massive tracts of the Amazon and other precious rainforest are cleared each year to produce beef and leather products. This has led celebrities such as Sir Richard Branson, and Leonardo DiCaprio to call for a ‘Ban on Beef’.

Click the Peta link in the references below and you will stop wearing leather.

Here is the alternate: Piñatex. Piña is Spanish for pineapple – the new material was created by Carmen Hijosa, who worked as a consultant in the Philippines leather goods industry in the 1990s. She was unimpressed with the standard of goods produced and started to look for alternatives. It was the strength and the fineness of the pineapple leaf fibers used in the Barong Tagalog that first alerted her that there was another option. ( At weddings and formal events in the Philippines, men can often be seen wearing the Barong Tagalog, a thin and transparent embroidered garment worn over a shirt).

Innovative company Ananas Anam has replaced cows with pineapples.  Pineapple leaves are a by-product of the pineapple harvest and are often left to simply decompose. Now they’re being giving a brand new life and the process also creates an extra source of income for farming communities. With a similar appearance to canvas, it can be dyed, printed, and treated to give different types of texture. With treatment, the Piñatex can closely resemble leather while separate thicknesses are also produced, depending on the use of the finished product.

2.  Kambucha

State Library scientist Dr. Peter Musk, who heads Australia’s only kombucha bio-textile research program with the Queensland University of Technology, described it as smelly and unpredictable but sustainable.
“It’s a democratic material which meaks anyone can make it in their kitchen with a minimum amount of fuss,” he said.
Most people drink Kombucha, but the culture can also be combined with yeast to create a curd, which is then stretched and dried, turning into what has been described as “vegan leather”.
The concept was pioneered in 2003 by London-based fashion designer Suzanne Lee, whose work has since been exhibited around the world.
Dr Musk’s Brisbane-based science and design team has been perfecting ways to make hard-wearing items such as kombucha shoes and jackets a reality.

Dean Brough, the head of studies at QUT’s School of Design, said kombucha clothing was already gracing catwalks in the United States and Britain, with designers such as Sacha Laurin leading the way.

Mr Brough said kombucha fabric was the ultimate in sustainable couture. “In principle you could actually make a garment out of kombucha fabric, put it in a blender, reblend it and make another garment because it’s just a cellulose fabric,” he said.

He said there is huge potential for widespread use. “To my surprise it hasn’t been taken up on a commercial scale — I think it could be mass produced commercially relatively quickly,” he said. “The technology is very low scale — it’s really just the volume that would be required.”

Kombucha Goddess dress as seen at Paris Fashion Week 2015 | Kombucha leather and lacing grown by Sacha Laurin | Design and construction by Rebecca Wendlandt

3. Fibershed

A foodshed refers to the geographical area where food is both produced and where it is consumed, similar to a watershed. In other words, the flow from origin to ultimate destination. What if we thought about fibers in the same way? That’s the concept behind Fibershed, regional textile communities that can ensure a “full-loop textile system,” where the fiber is grown, processed, and ultimately created into a wearable within the same geographical area.

backyard hoodie

Rebecca Burgess consulted North Face on sourcing a local supply chain for their “Backyard Hoodie” (Photo by Paige Green Photography)

Rebecca Burgess, founder of the Fibershed organization which aims to build more fibershed communities, it all began by developing and wearing a prototype wardrobe whose natural dyes, fibers, and labor were sourced from a region no larger than 150 miles from the project’s headquarters. Just like we can commit to growing our own food, we can also commit to growing our own fibers, or at least having an intimate relationship with those people nearby.

4.  Permacouture: Plant a Dye Garden
A garden can sustain, but it can also help you create. Located in both London and San Francisco, organization Permacouture helps people to understand the connection between local food movements and textiles, and that plants can be used for food and fashion too. They also run a Seed to Sew project, promoting the use of heirloom seeds. Because if you have a vegetable garden, you can turn it into a dye garden. While there are common non-edible dye plants like indigo, there are many common edible plants that work well to dye with, like onion skins and red cabbage as well as flowers like sunflowers and hollyhocks.

Eat your vegetables and dye with them too? Gardening just got a whole lot more interesting.

nettles

References: https://www.peta.org/features/leather-industry/

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/dec/21/wearable-pineapple-leather-alternative

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-31/kombucha-tea-scientists-designer-work-to-make-clothing-textile/7674892

Main image: Pixabay.com

Food You Can Wear: A Guide to Gourmet Fashion

9 Cool Projects Where Sustainable Food and Fashion Come Together

 

Circular Textiles Economy = Zero Waste Is it Possible?

 


Think Outside the Trash – Recycle


Article published in Huffington Post on October 7, 2016 states that in 2013 alone, Americans discarded 15.1 million tons of clothing and other textiles, and 85 percent of that wound up in landfills.

That’s a bad thing, and not just because your old clothes could have been reused or recycled rather than being stuck in the ground. And not just because there are better uses for the land that landfills occupy ― or because transporting textile waste to landfills is so costly.

You see, all those baggy trousers and stained shirts in landfills don’t just lie there forever. They decompose. As they do, they release landfill gas, a toxic brew of air pollutants that includes the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane.

ON POWELL/NATURE/ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY: Map showing the locations of landfills in the contiguous 48 states. Each blue dot represents a landfill. The dot’s size corresponds to the amount of waste the landfill accepted in 2013.

There are about 1,200 municipal solid waste landfills in the United States, Jon Powell, a doctoral student in chemical and environmental engineering at Yale University and an expert on landfills informs. About 900 of these have vacuum systems that collect landfill gas for burning or to produce electricity.

But a lot of landfill gas is simply vented into the atmosphere. In fact, landfills are the third-largest source of methane emissions in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Methane is known to be 28 times more efficient than carbon dioxide at trapping heat, Powell said. That means it poses a huge global warming problem.

What’s the solution?  Reuse, recycle and never trash your clothes.

What’s the permanent solution? –  Circular Textiles Economy.

Fashion is a vibrant industry that employs hundreds of millions, generates significant revenues, and touches almost everyone, everywhere. Since the 20th century, clothing has increasingly been considered as disposable, and the industry has become highly globalized, with garments often designed in one country, manufactured in another and sold worldwide at an ever-increasing pace. This trend has been further accentuated over the past 15 years by rising demand from a growing middle class across the globe with higher disposable income, and the emergence of the ‘fast fashion’ phenomenon, leading to a doubling in production over the same period.

The time has come to transition to a textile system that delivers better economic, societal, and environmental outcomes. The report A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future outlines a vision and sets out ambitions and actions – based on the principles of a circular economy – to design out negative impacts and capture a USD 500 billion economic opportunity by truly transforming the way clothes are designed, sold, and used.

The current textiles system has major drawbacks

Currently, steady production growth is intrinsically linked to a decline in utilization per item, leading to an incredible amount of waste. It is estimated that more than half of fast fashion production is disposed of in under a year, and one garbage truck full of textiles is landfilled or burnt every second. This factor combined with a very low rate of recycling – less than 1% of material used – leads to an ever-expanding pressure on resources. This ‘take-make-dispose’ system is not only extremely wasteful, but also very polluting. The use of substances of concern in textile production has an important impact on farmers’ and factory workers’ health as well as on the surrounding environment. During use, it has been recently estimated that, half a million tons of plastic microfibers shed during washing ends up in the ocean and ultimately enters the food chain. In other words, we may end up eating our own clothes. If nothing is done, these severe weaknesses are expected to grow exponentially with dramatic environmental, societal, and economic consequences, ultimately putting industry profitability at risk.

Negative impacts of the textiles industry are set to drastically increase by 2050

Negative Impacts

A new textiles economy would lead to better outcomes

Beyond laudable ongoing efforts, a new system for the textiles economy is needed and this report proposes a vision aligned with circular economy principles. In such a model, clothes, fabric, and fibers re-enter the economy after use and never end up as waste. This vision relies on four ambitions that would lead to better economic, environmental, and social outcomes, capturing opportunities missed by the current linear textiles system.

  • Phase out substances of concern and microfiber release, by aligning industry efforts and coordinate innovation to create safe material cycles.
  • Transform the way clothes are designed, sold and used to break free from their increasingly disposable nature, by scaling up closing rental schemes; making durability more attractive; and increasing clothing utilization through brand commitments and policy.
  • Radically improve recycling by transforming clothing design, collection and reprocessing; pursuing innovation to improve the economics and quality of recycling; stimulating demand for recycling materials; and implementing clothing collection at scale.
  • Make effective use of resources and move to renewable inputs.

Creating a new textiles economy

Ambitioins New Textile Economy

So is Circular Textiles Economy possible? I think: YES

A new level of collaboration is required

Efforts are already being employed by brands, retailers, and other organizations to change the industry and although promising progress is being made, it is often too fragmented or only effective at small scale. That is why achieving a new textiles economy will demand unprecedented levels of alignment on the case for change, and collaboration. A system-level change approach is required, including rallying key industry players to set ambitious joint commitments, kick-start cross-value chain demonstrator projects, and orchestrate complementary initiatives.

Resources:

See study done by Ellen Macarthur Foundation here: A NEW TEXTILES ECONOMY: REDESIGNING FASHION’S FUTURE 

https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/programmes/systemic-initiatives/make-fashion-circular/report

Maun Image: www.metabolic.nl

 

Toxic Clothes

 

A $7 trillion/year clothing industry is manufactured using an astounding 8,000 synthetic chemicals. Nowadays clothes also contain toxins like formaldehyde, brominated flame retardants, and perfluorinated chemicals (Teflon) to provide “non-iron” and “non-wrinkle” qualities. Insecticides are even applied in the name of good health.

For half a century, skin and chemicals have been interacting and creating problems like infertility, respiratory diseases, contact dermatitis, and cancer.

The more synthetic clothing you wear, the greater your risk of absorbing toxic chemicals that harm your health. Skin is the largest body organ and when toxins are absorbed through your skin, they bypass your liver, the organ responsible for removing toxins. You also may not realize that your skin keeps you healthy by venting up to a pound of toxins per day.

Petrochemical fibers restrict and suffocate your skin shutting down toxic release. Meanwhile, they contribute to your total toxic burden and may become the “tipping point” for triggering the onset of disease.

Two contributing factors

  • Toxic buildup in your body
  • Multiple chemicals that interact together to create even worse problems than the individual chemicals by themselves.

Skin rashes, nausea, fatigue, burning, itching, headaches, and difficulty breathing are all associated with chemical sensitivity. If you have mysterious health symptoms that you can’t seem to get control over, it’s worth checking out whether your clothes could be the problem.

No parent would want toxic materials in their children’s clothing. Yet according to a new Greenpeace study, a range of hazardous chemicals is being used in the production of kids’ wear from top fashion brands.

A frequent question about producing toxin-free clothing is whether it is economically feasible for textile companies to replace hazardous chemicals with safer alternatives. The answer is resoundingly yes; doing so is essential if companies want to keep their business sustainable

Entire groups of toxic chemicals, previously ubiquitous in the supply chain, have been phased out by such companies within a short period of time – for example, biodegradable biopolymer and fluorocarbon-free water repellent materials are used as safer alternatives. More importantly, these companies have created incentives for “upstream” players in the textile supply chain, those who provide dyes and detergents, to weigh-in and start vying for a share in the market for safer alternatives.

High-end British brand Burberry was listed as the industry leader in the 2016 Down Jones Sustainability index in the ‘Textiles, Apparel & Luxury Goods’ sector; in addition they are also listed in the FTSE4Good Index and the MSCI Global Sustainability Index series, they are members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC). This opens a new chapter in the story of toxic-free fashion and raises the bar for the luxury sector. Brands such as Gucci, Versace and Louis Vuitton now risk getting left behind.

Early birds have an advantage. Across the globe regulations are kicking in that will force the textile industry to shift to toxin-free mode. More stringent regulation will be the reason that brands will eventually have to change to safer alternatives.

In 2013, the textile industry was listed for the first time under China’s national five-year plan for prevention and control of environmental risk of chemicals as a “key industry for regulatory control”. The signal sent by regulators in the worlds largest textile-producing country is very clear: no more toxic clothing in our backyard.

The central government of China is also to release a blacklist of toxic chemicals that will be subject to strict regulatory control. Some of them are major chemicals used by the textile industry.

What about the USA? Here are the requirements for fabrics – mostly applying to children:

  • Section 101(a) of the CPSIA restricts children’s products, including children’s apparel and sleepwear, to a lead content limit of 100 parts per million (ppm). In addition, the use of paint or similar surface coating on children’s apparel and sleepwear must not exceed a lead content limit of 90 ppm. That compares to the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) requirement that the lead content be 2 ppm.
  • Section 108 of CPSIA states that children’s toys and child care articles cannot contain more that 0.1% of six phthalates – DEHP, DBP, BBP limits are applicable to both toys and child care items while DINP, DIDP, and DnOP limits are applicable only to toys that can be placed in the mouth and are intended for children 3 and younger. Although children’s clothing does not need to be certified to this requirement, children’s sleepwear or bibs (child care article) intended for children age 3 years or younger and any children’s textile product that is intended for use in play (toy) must be certified to the phthalates requirements. In comparison to GOTS, all phthalates are prohibited.
  • In July 2011, CPSC approved a federal safety rule for drawstrings in children’s upper outerwear. Children’s upper outerwear in sizes 2T-16 must be in conformance with ASTM F1816-97, Standard Safety Specification for Drawstrings on Children’s Upper Outerwear, approved June 10, 1997, published August 1998 (incorporated by reference in 16 CFR 1120.3 (b), or such outerwear will be considered a substantial product hazard.
  • Textiles used in apparel must meet class 1 or 2 flammability requirements. Children’s sleepwear must be flame resistant and self-extinguish when exposed to a small ignition source. The rules cover all children’s sleepwear between size 9 months and size 14. The fabric, seams, trim, and garments must pass certain flammability tests or the garment must be tight-fitting as defined by specified dimensions. ( See our blog post on flame retardants, published in May, 2013)

What does this mean? It means that the United States has basically no protection for consumers in terms of textiles.

HERE’S WHAT PARENTS CAN DO:

  1. Just say no to sandals, shoes, boots or raingear made entirely or predominantly from rubber- or plastic-like materials. Keep an eye out when shopping for shoes treated with anti-microbial chemicals.
  2. Rid wardrobes of garments screen printed with plastisol, the thick, rubbery material used to create slightly raised designs and logos.
  3. Don’t purchase clothing promising stain-resistant, waterproof, or odor-fighting performance, technologies which utilize toxic chemicals.
  4. Steer clear of polyester, which frequently contains traces of antimony.
  5. Stick to natural fiber clothing, preferably organic.
  6. Select clothing manufactured in the U.S. and Europe where regulations are generally stricter.
  7. Don’t add insult to injury. Wash clothing in plant-based detergent without synthetic fragrance, which can contain hormone disrupting chemicals. And skip the fragrant dryer sheets.

 

The Organic Trade Association estimates that one non-organic cotton T-shirt uses one-third pound of pesticides and fertilizers. Cotton production uses one-fourth of all the world’s fertilizers. It’s another good reason to choose organic cotton to add to the ones above.

25 Tips for healthy wear– click here

References:
http://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2007/06/ask-ewg-why-there-teflon-clothes-it-safe
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/11/your-money/11wrinkle.html?_r=0
https://oecotextiles.wordpress.com/
Killer Clothes” written by Anna Maria Clement, PhD, NMD, LN and Brian R. Clement, PhD, NMD, LN
https://www.cancerdefeated.com/

 

Reduce Your Fashion Footprint


“Fair is more beautiful”


“Shop Ethically” and reduce your fashion footprint.

Fashion is a powerful form of art. It’s movement, design and architecture all in one. It shows the world who we are and who we’d like to be. It is a way to express yourself.

Lot of time is spent almost every day for the desire of looking good. Many iconic celebrities in the fashion and entertainment world have made some powerful statements about style and fashion.

“I like my money right where I can see it…hanging in my closet.” —Carrie Bradshaw

“I don’t design clothes. I design dreams.” —Ralph Lauren

“I know what women want. They want to be beautiful.” —Valentino Garavani

“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.” —Rachel Zoe

“Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness, simply didn’t know where to go shopping.” —Bo Derek

I think, fashion does not mean buying expensive clothes or more clothes, as fast fashion suggests. It does not mean following each and every trend in the market. That’s like letting the market trends own you. Style and fashion should come from inside. What you like and the way you want to look. The statement you want to make with your clothes.  Don’t let fashion own you, rather you decide what your fashion and style is and what you want to express by the way you dress and live.

Fast fashion is a term used by retailers to express that designs move from catwalk quickly in order to capture current fashion trends.

Nothing is more disheartening for a fashion lover than to realize that their passion for clothes might have a negative impact on the rest of the world. Even casual shoppers are contributing to the problem more than they may think. The problem, to be specific, is fast fashion. By now it’s common knowledge that the booming surplus of cheap clothing is causing problems worldwide, from poor conditions for factory workers that lead to tragedies such as the collapsed factory in Bangladesh to an unsustainable toll being taken on the earth’s resources.

There is simply too much clothing being made, often in unethical ways. A century ago it was standard for someone to only own a handful of clothing, made well and repaired over and over again so that each item would last for years. Now the average person buys around 65 items of cheap clothes and discards more than 68 pounds of clothing in landfills every year. It’s not sustainable, so if you care about the earth and the people who live in it then you probably agree that it’s time to look for alternative ways to shop.
It may seem overwhelming at first, but the good news is that it’s actually very easy to make small but impactful changes to the way you shop for clothes. Below are some ways to buy ethically-

Look for the Fair Trade logo. Fair Trade U.S.A. is a non-profit organization that helps identify brands that manufacture their products ethically outside of the U.S. They measure things like working conditions and wages. If a company meets their standards you will find their stamp of approval in the form of a little green, black, and white logo of a person holding a bowl in front of the world.

  • You can also find the Fair Trade logo on food products like tea, coffee, spices, and sugar.
  • You can find the Fair Trade logo on brands like People Tree, Patagonia, and Eileen Fisher.

Look for an organic or recycled certification. The first thing that you should look for on the label is the Fair Trade logo mentioned above. The label should also tell you if the material is made out of organic or recycled material. Keep in mind that just because a product is made from organic or recycled material doesn’t mean that it is ethically made.

Rely on the guidance of websites and apps. Apps like GoodGuide and Free2Work can help you navigate brands while you are on the go. GoodGuide rates products on a scale of two to ten to help guide consumers to healthier choices. Free2Work is a tool that is used to increase transparency and give consumers the power to make informed decisions about their purchases.[6]

  • Keep these apps on your phone for use during your next shopping trip.

Know where your clothing is made. You should check the label to see where your clothing is manufactured. However, it is important to remember that the label doesn’t tell you everything about where the clothing is labeled. Even worse, sometimes the brand is dishonest with the country listed on the label. It is important to do your research instead of relying solely on the label.

  • For example, a brand that lists the country as USA may source some of their materials from China.
  • According to the Fashion Transparency Index, H&M and Levi’s are excellent at reporting this information to customers
  • Learn about clothing. You can’t exactly shop for quality, ethical clothing if you don’t know what to look for. Do a little bit of research, either just about clothing in general or a particular brand that you’re interested in. Where does the clothing comes from, who made it, and what should you look for in terms of quality are just a few questions to ask.

Support local small businesses. Speaking of shopping locally, if you have any small clothing boutiques nearby then they’re a much better bet than your local strip mall. It’s much easier to ask the owner of a small clothing boutique where they source the clothes they sell. Plus you get to feel good about supporting local businesses. Bonus points if that cute little shop on Main Street sells secondhand or handmade clothing.

Make use of fashion transparency indexes. Use The Higg Index, an assessment tool used by the fashion industry to evaluate their environmental and social responsibility, to do research about ethical brands while you are near a computer.[7] You could also refer to the Fashion Transparency Index (FTI), which is an index published yearly to rank the world’s biggest fashion brands according to their level of transparency. You can see the FTI here: http://fashionrevolution.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/FR_FashionTransparencyIndex.pdf

Budget for high quality staples. Let’s talk about budget. When switching to an eco-conscious wardrobe, it’s not impossible to stick with the same clothing budget that you used for fast fashion—but it does require an adjustment to how you shop. Suppose you spend a certain amount of money to purchase 30 to 60 items of cheap fast-fashion clothing per year. Now, you’re more likely to spend the same amount of money purchasing only 10 to 30 new items of clothing per year. However, the quality is almost certainly going to be much better and your clothes will last longer, look better, and be worn more. Take a good look at how many fast fashion purchases you made in the past year and ask yourself if they were worthwhile investments. Wouldn’t you rather have one silk top that lasts for years instead of three polyester tops that fall apart in a year? It might be hard to adjust your shopping habits at first but it will be worth it.

Resources: www.fashionmagazine.com

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/makingwaves/fast-fashion-drowning-world-fashion-revolution/blog/56222/

https://www.wikihow.com/Shop-for-Ethically-Made-Clothes