By Lori Melton
As crisp fall weather ushers in a new season, it’s time to trade in shorts, tees, and sandals for comfy sweaters, jeans, scarves, and boots. When taking stock of your warmer clothing, some items will inevitably need replacing – or maybe you’re just in need of a wardrobe refresh.
When picking up some new items, be mindful of making some sustainable selections that are good for the planet. In case you’re wondering what to look for in “ethical” clothing, consider companies and designs that use eco-friendly practices in as many aspects of the sourcing and production of individual items as possible.
For instance, fabrics made with organic fibers use less water and harmful chemicals. Some brands use recycled fabrics or produce clothing in an ethical and fair trade environment, donate to a green charity or support a social mission, or swap and sell clothing sites like Poshmark help ensure clothes are reused and thus, help reduce waste.
And don’t worry, being eco-conscious doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. Check out these sustainable clothing lines that will help you feel fashionable and eco-friendly this fall.
Everlane focuses on three core ideas with the clothing pieces it sells: Exceptional quality, ethical factories, and radical transparency. They search the globe to find factories that pass a strict compliance audit for fair wages, reasonable hours, and the environment.
Plus, the California-based company wants the clothing you buy to last for years. This means garments are well-made from the finest materials and longevity in your wardrobe helps reduce waste.
Everlane sells all kinds of pieces from tops and bottoms to outerwear to underwear and shoes for men and women. The company’s radical transparency policy means Everlane shares how the factories are found and even discloses the true cost of its products to customers.
Reformation creates its stylish fashion pieces only from upcycled, sustainable materials. As such, it follows a set of fiber standards at the raw materials stage of producing its clothing items. Considerations include water and energy usage, eco-toxicity, greenhouse gas emissions, land use, human toxicity, and more.
Plus, the company uses TENCEL, which is made from Eucalyptus trees. Therefore, it uses much less land to grow than cotton and it’s not produced with harmful pesticides and insecticides.
Reformation offers a full line of women’s fashions and each item discloses its environmental footprint.
Pact offers sustainable clothing for the entire family – men, women, kids, and babies. The Colorado-based company posts a fun slogan on its website: “Style & sustainability are now an item.” Pact is Fair Trade Certified, uses organic cotton, and is a certified B corporation. The latter designation means that the company meets “the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.”
In other words, when it comes to sustainable practices, Pact rocks.
Levi Strauss & Co. has been a family name in comfy clothing (namely, the famous Levi brand jeans) since 1853. Through the years, the company evolved and increased its product offers to include many different clothing pieces for all ages.
Levi’s is committed to multiple sustainable practices including sourcing sustainable forest fabrics that don’t source from ancient and endangered forests. The company is also an advocate against forced child labor in cotton harvesting, offers a detailed sustainability guidebook, and more.
Buying used clothing is more sustainable than buying new pieces. Therefore, ThredUP earns a place on our list because the website buys and sells women’s and kids’ clothing that’s in like-new condition. Extending a garment’s life by passing it on to a new person is not only eco-friendly, but it’s also budget-friendly.
The retailer carefully inspects all items to make sure buyers are getting quality, nearly-new pieces. Plus, ThredUP helps its customers reduce waste by taking in used items in top fashion brands on consignment or they will buy it. Any items that are not accepted for sale will get recycled or repurposed.