Green Fashion

Guest post by Mrs Green, who lives with her husband and their daughter in semi-rural England. You can follow her family’s adventures towards achieving zero waste or read about green tech, parenting and natural health over on Little Green Blog

Many of us love to indulge in a little clothes shopping, but how do you balance your desires with your ethics?

‘Disposable’ fashion items can have devastating effects on the planet and the people who make them.

If you love clothes shopping and want to keep up with the latest trends, here’s how to keep your conscience intact whilst flexing the plastic.

Green Consumerism

‘Green’ consumerism is a bit of an oxymoron. The most ethical form of consumerism in my book is none at all, so here’s where you have to learn to separate your wants from your needs; not easy in a consumer-driven society. Don’t fall for the latest fashion that will be outdated in a week and don’t choose cheap fabrics that never flatter you.

So many people shop for an emotional ‘fix’; when they’ve had a stressful day at work, an argument with their partner or are feeling unattractive. Buying a new item will give you an emotional boost for an hour or so, but then you’ll be back to square one.

Take an honest look at your shopping pattern; are you buying through want or need?

Less is More

When you make a purchase, buy fewer clothes of better quality and don’t be lured by disposable fashion or the latest trend.

Better quality, classic cut clothes lasts for years and you’ll feel great wearing them. There are many designer brands that use organic or recycled materials and you can also support UK trade rather than mass-produced clothes in sweatshops.

Fibres

Cotton is one of the most widely sprayed crops on the planet, accounting for around 25% of all insecticides used globally each year. However man-made fibres are often derived from oil, a non renewable resource.

It makes sense then to choose natural, organic fibres such as organically grown cotton or other materials like hemp and bamboo. Bamboo is a fast-growing, renewable crop, with the farmer getting up to four harvests per year.

Hemp needs virtually no pesticides at all and is a very resilient plant. Moreover hemp is grown in the UK so its carbon footprint from transportation is minimal.

Labour

Cheap fashion can mean difficult and dangerous working conditions for people across the globe. Labour Behind the Label is an anti-sweatshop group campaign that supports garment workers’ efforts worldwide to improve their working conditions.

They raise awareness about which brands are using sweatshops in order to enable consumers make an empowered decision.

According to the latest ‘Good shopping guide’ the top 3 high street brands for ethics are New Look, Seasalt and Zara with French Connection, Gap and Primark at the bottom. For jeans they suggest Calvin Klein, Easy and Falmer whilst we should leave Lee, Levi and Wrangler on the shelf.

Vintage Fashion

If you think charity shops are full of granny’s cardigans; think again. Some charity shops are fortune enough to be donated end-of-line designer consignments or even high quality lost property!

If you find the right area, wealthy locals often pack their designer donations off to a good cause.

British Red Cross have some vintage clothing and designer shops, while TRAID is a charity shop who hand pick vintage and designer clothing for their stores.

 

End of Life

Over 1 million tonnes of textiles are thrown away every year, often because people simply get tired of things, outgrow them or change their mind.

If you have clothes in need of a new home, consider donating them to your local charity shop or at least put them in a textiles bank. If they’re still wearable, one of the latest trends is ‘swishing’.

SWISHING involves getting your friends together with their unwanted clothes, and having a clothes swapping party! They are great fun and you can update your wardrobe with no cost to you or the environment.

These ideas have just scratched the surface of looking stylish while being ethical.

What are your tips?

Guest post by Mrs Green, who lives with her husband and their daughter in semi-rural England. You can follow her family’s adventures towards achieving zero waste or read about green tech, parenting and natural health over on Little Green Blog

Photo by Art Comments, via Flickr

Comments

  1. Gareth Richards says:

    But Organic cotton is almost certainly worse for the world than normal cotton:
    http://www.marklynas.org/2012/07/how-land-inefficient-is-organic-agriculture/

    If you really care about pesticide and land use we should promote Genetically modified cotton which reduces both, ethicial and good business?

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