green living tips

How to Check if your Clothing Was Ethically Made

Guest Post by Amaesha*

Fast fashion is a recent phenomenon. To drive up sales, companies have fast-tracked the production processes to get designs to the stores from the catwalk quickly and at very affordable prices. Traditionally there were two fashion seasons but now, stores like Zara, H&M, and Forever21 deliver new collections to the stores twice a week. Shopping for clothes has become like shopping for groceries; a weekly habit.

Unfortunately most of the costs are not factored into the price of fast fashion. Sweat shops mean workers face unsafe conditions, low wages and child labor and there is the staggering ecological cost to consider too. The average American throws away 60 kg of textile each year.

One of the main issue is that the supply chain is non-transparent. Most fast fashion companies refuse to disclose information on where and how their products were made.

So what can you do about it?

  • Educate yourself: Be interested in how and where your clothes were made and become an ethical shopper. Ask questions from the manufacturers. Know the materials and their impact on the planet and opt for natural, sustainable fashion where you can.
  • Choose quality over quantity: Buy less and get the best quality you can afford. Choose organic cottons and natural fibers. Choose ethical manufacturers.
  • Respect the items you own: care, alter and repair.
  • Buy local: Buying clothing made in your country will reduce it’s travel carbon footprint.
  • Only buy the items on sale that you would also consider at full price.
  • Swap with your friends.
  • Consider buying second hand.

Tools to Check that Your Clothing is Ethical

Goodguide: With a list of over 250,000 products, you can find ethical and eco-friendly manufacturers in every sector.

The Higg Index: This is a “tool for measuring the environmental and social performance of apparel products.”

Free2Work: A consumer information platform that shows the working conditions and ethical stance of companies.

ShopEthical! An app that helps you to track a company’s ethical and ecological records.

aVOID: A downloadble browser plugin to tell you if products are associated with child labor while you shop online

*Amaesha is a marketing professional who is passionate about style and clothing as well as doing good. She created the website www.amaesha.com for those who wish to live a chic and ethical lifestyle starting with fashion.

About

Nikki is an author and writer specializing in green living ideas and tips, adventure travel, upcycling, and all things eco-friendly. She's traveled the globe, swum with sharks and been bitten by a lion (fact). She lives with her husband and a very bad dog.

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