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Embracing Eco-Fashion

With spring almost upon us, many of us are looking forward to the change in wardrobes and updating our closets with more vibrant, lively clothing. And for some, that means some fast fashion retail therapy.

A rack of eco-fashion clothing

What is fast fashion? It replicates recent high-end fashion and mass-produces it at a low cost, quickly bringing it to retail stores when demand is still high for it.

While you get to wear a cheaper version of what was on the Paris runway a month or two ago, fast fashion comes with many environmental costs. The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions. In addition, the average person today buys 60% more clothing than in 2000, and in the US, about 85% of clothing goes to landfill. And synthetic fibers, such as polyester and nylon, shed microplastics during washing, which end up in rivers and oceans, posing a threat to marine life and entering the food chain.

Fortunately, you can make the switch to eco-fashion, which comes with several advantages. Clothing with eco-friendly materials has a lower environmental impact, decreasing the water consumption, chemical pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions associated with traditional textile production. High-quality sustainable clothing also tends to be more durable, lasting longer in your wardrobe and reducing the need for frequent replacements.

Here are some eco-friendly materials to target for your clothing:

  • Organic Cotton: Organic cotton is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or genetically modified seeds, making it a more environmentally friendly alternative to conventional cotton. It requires less water and has a lower carbon footprint, promoting sustainable agricultural practices

  • Hemp: Hemp is a versatile and eco-friendly fiber that grows rapidly without the need for chemical inputs. It requires minimal water and land, making it a highly sustainable fabric choice.

  • Tencel (Lyocell): Tencel is made from sustainably sourced wood pulp, primarily from eucalyptus or beech trees. The production process uses a closed-loop system, where solvents are reused, minimizing waste and chemical use.

  • Organic Wool: Organic wool comes from sheep raised on organic pastures, without exposure to harmful chemicals such as pesticides and synthetic hormones. It is a renewable and biodegradable option for cold-weather garments.

  • Recycled Polyester: Recycled polyester is derived from post-consumer plastic bottles and other discarded polyester textiles. By using recycled materials, this fabric reduces the demand for new petroleum-based resources.

Natural, biodegradable materials are the best choice for eco-friendly clothing, since they won’t add to plastic pollution like synthetic materials. However, the recycled polyester is a good secondary option.

Identifying Eco-Friendly Clothing Brands

To determine which clothing brands produce eco-friendly garments, check for recognized eco-friendly certifications, such as Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), OEKO-TEX, or Fair Trade, which validate a brand's commitment to sustainability and ethical practices. Reputable eco-friendly brands often provide transparency about their supply chain and production processes, so look for company sustainability reports and information on their website.

If all else fails, examine clothing labels for eco-friendly materials mentioned above.

Choosing eco-friendly clothing materials and supporting sustainable fashion brands are impactful ways to contribute to a greener and more ethical fashion industry. By embracing eco-fashion, you can work toward a more sustainable wardrobe and planet.


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