In today’s mass produced clothing world it’s easy for brands to lose track of their production as jobs are outsourced to private production facilities overseas and often jobbed out from there, leaving a murky supply chain at best.  Brands that truly are eco-friendly have a close personal connection to their production and supply chains.  To test this, look for the following information from your favorite brand:

1. Transparency in production.  Ethical brands know exactly who is producing your fashion, where and how.  Ask for the names of producers, producer stories and current production challenges and success.

 2. Transparency in materials sourcing.  Ethics extend beyond the producer to the textiles themselves.  Ethical companies know where their textiles come from, how they are grown and how farmers are compensated for their production. Ask for this data if you can not find it on their web site.  

 3. Honesty in environmental impact.  Textiles are one of the most toxic industries in the world with many untested chemical fabric treatments and dyes.

4. Minimal energy usage.  Eco-friendly means a careful use of energy resources too.  Ask how your brand manages their dyes, water usage, production and shipping.

5. A sprit of giving back. Is your favorite brand supporting any causes beyond their own production?

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About the Author

Dr. Tamara Stenn Raised in New York and living in Vermont (after a few years living in Washington, DC and Bolivia, South America). Dr. Tamara is a Fulbright scholar, economics professor, writer (The Cultural and Political Intersection of Fair Trade and Justice), researcher, and social entrepreneur. She makes authentic voices heard in order to create public discussion, grow understanding and bring about greater social and economic justice through collaboration and enterprise development. Her main areas of interest are indigenous knowledge, Suma Qamana (bien vivir), social entrepreneurism and sustainable ways of being. She is the founder and directive of KUSIKUY a leading sustainable fashion brand with hand knit alpaca production in Bolivia.   

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