How to Find Environmentally Friendly Clothing: 9 Helpful Tips

In the past few years, the rate at which the environment is being destroyed by corporations and big business is alarming. And as consumers, one of the best ways we can help combat this catastrophic issue is by making more eco-conscious choices a part of our daily lives.

Simple things, like switching to environmentally friendly clothing, can have a huge influence on our personal impact on the planet. For example, producing a single cotton shirt uses 2,700 liters of water.

And let’s face it, we all wear and buy new clothes regularly, so why not ensure your love for fashion also shows your love for the earth?

Keep reading to learn how to find clothing that’s friendly for the environment.

1. Choose Sustainable Fabrics

One of the best ways you can cultivate an eco-friendly wardrobe is by buying clothing made of sustainable fabrics. As mentioned above, cotton uses a ton of water and also large amounts of pesticides.

This has a larger impact on the environment than other types of material. Opt for clothing made from linen, hemp, or even bamboo. Linen comes from flax, and besides using far fewer resources to manufacture than traditional cotton, it’s also able to be composted.

Hemp is easy to grow and doesn’t require a lot of pesticides or fertilizer. Hemp is also diverse and can be made into a wide variety of fabrics.

Bamboo is great because it used also no pesticides and is fast growing. However, this type of fabric isn’t as common so it may be harder to find.

2. Say No To Real Leather

Real leather not only is harmful to animals but it’s also not environmentally friendly. To make animal skin into leather it has to go through an extensive process that uses a lot of chemicals and energy.

Not to mention that animal agriculture as an industry has a large carbon footprint. Opt for vegan leather when purchasing items.

3. Repair Well-Loved Items

New fashion is being consumed at a rapid rate. And we all have those favorite clothing items that have holes or excess wear and tear from being worn over and over.

Instead of tossing these textiles out and looking to buying new items, consider repairing you well-loved items and extending their life.

Not only will this help to reduce your clothing waste, but it will also save you money and allow you to hold on to your most beloved pieces of clothing for longer.

4. Embrace Second Hand

In the words of Macklemore, get ready to pop some tags because thrift shopping is one of the best ways to not only save the planet but also save money. Use these secrets to help you pick fashionable second-hand items.

Whether you are going to a vintage store, consignment shops, or places like Goodwill, if you are buying clothing second hand you are reducing fabric waste. Not to mention you will likely find amazing clothing for a fraction of what you would pay in a new-retail setting.

Every year the average American sends over 70 pounds of textile to the landfill. So by choosing to visit the thrift shop you are helping to reduce this waste.

5. Clothing Swaps

Another great way to get your hands on recycled clothing is by hosting a clothing swap. Make a Facebook event and invite all your friends to bring a bag of unwanted clothing.

Most of us tend to have lots of clothing laying around that isn’t being worn, and clothing swaps are an excellent way to get rid of these items without throwing them away. Plus you never know what awesome clothing you’ll get from your friend to add to your wardrobe.

After your clothing swap is over, collect all the remaining items and consider donating them to a local charity.

6. Do Your Homework

If you are looking to buy new but buy only from eco-friendly brands, there are plenty of options out there. But like all things, you want to do your homework on these brands and not just go off advertising.

Because of the boom in popularity of sustainable fashion, many brands are hopping on the bandwagon. This is creating “greenwashing” between brands and consumers.

Where consumers are thinking they are buying sustainable but in reality, they aren’t. 

7. Worker Friendly Brands

Another aspect of buying sustainably is buying from brands that have fair labor practices. Human rights go hand in hand with environmental rights. Look for brands that do their manufacturing in America.

Here in the US, we have much stricter health and safety standards for workers. So you can ensure you are buying clothing that was made by someone who is getting paid a fair wage and has fair working conditions.

8. Buy Homemade Or Local

If you have the option to buy handmade or locally made clothing, jewelry, or shoes this can be a great way to acquire environmentally friendly clothing.

Handmade items not only tend to have a smaller impact on the environment since they aren’t being mass-produced in a factory but by purchasing them you are also supporting a local small business.

9. If You Buy New, But Quality

Some things are necessary to purchase new, and that’s understandable. But if you have to purchase clothing that isn’t necessarily environmentally friendly, make sure you are purchasing high-quality items that are going to last.

By buying high quality you will get more wear out of the items and are still avoiding supporting the fast fashion industry.

You may feel like you are spending more money upfront, but when looking at your cost per-ware with these items they are often cheaper than cheaply manufactured goods.

Buying Environmentally Friendly Clothing

The secret to purchasing environmentally friendly clothing lies within the three R’s. By focusing on reducing the clothing you buy, recycling pre-worn clothing, and reusing (or repairing) what you already have you will greatly reduce your clothing waste.

Shopping sustainable clothing is becoming more and more important, so keep these tips in mind next time you are planning to shop.

To learn more about sustainable fashion, check out the links on our website.

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Allan Brown

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