We know that ‘fast fashion’ of cheap man-made fibre is filling landfills, factories pollute the atmosphere, and that our clothes are often produced in unsafe factories in the developing world, by underpaid and poorly treated workers.
Luckily brands are becoming conscious and transparent about their processes, and consumers are paying more attention to where their clothes come from. We also increasingly find clothing made from more sustainable natural resources like bamboo, hemp, and soy.
No one wants to contribute to landfills, poison the air, or threaten natural resources. If these issues have been on your mind, here are some ideas to help you protect the environment and ease your conscience, while still enjoying your fashion and style.
1. Many leading designers are passionate about using sustainable materials in their fashion lines. If this is important to you too, do your research to learn more. Some search terms to use are “sustainable fashion”, “eco-friendly fashion”, and “vegan fashion”.
Many brands, including the big high street retailers, are becoming more eco. H&M launched its ‘Conscious Collection’ made from recycled materials, Stella McCartney does not use leather, and increasingly many designer brands are committing to not using fur or reptile skins.
Consider learning more through places like the Ethical Trading Initiative at www.ethicaltrade.org. Understanding where your fashion comes from will give you more choice to support the companies that value what you value.
2. You can find out more about which brands use toxic chemicals and support the campaign against them at Greenpeace's website.
3. Join the Fashion Revolution and find out #whomademyclothes by asking brands to be more transparent and getting us all to think more about the clothes we wear and where they come from.
4. Before you go shopping for more things, know what you need. Do a wardrobe review to see what you have and what’s missing. A few well-chosen items may be all you need to get the maximum out of your wardrobe. It’s important to buy the best quality you can afford, and buy less. If it’s more expensive, you will think twice before buying, make better choices, and love what you have.
5. Focus on your own style, and don’t go for trends that will come and go. When you’re confident about your style, you’re less tempted to get into a habit of shopping all the time, buying into fast fashion, and spending money on cheap items that you throw away after one season.
6. Check out one of the original fairtrade labels Peopletree, where the profits are fairly shared with those that make the garments. They have more on offer than you may realise, and are usually in great quality natural fibres.
In womens workwear teh UK startup brand Dai is committed to upholding “the highest levels of integrity when it comes to environmental and social standards.”
Other brands I love are Everlane, which is in the US, but worth taking a look at incase you are over there on business or holiday, the fab sneakers brand Veja, and French store Sezane . All are very cool brands with sustainability and ethics at the core of their business strategy.
And of course, working with personal stylist would show you how to work your wardrobe so that it better serves your needs. You’ll make fewer mistakes, and stop the wasteful buying of things you don’t need!
If you’re unclear about your style, we can help you get clarity so you focus your purchases. Buy Less, Buy Best, now that’s being Eco-friendly. You can book a call with me here
Lizzie Edwards is the owner of Lizzie Edwards Style Consultancy, one of London’s leading Personal Stylists and Image Consultants for Women in business and author of 'Look Like The Leader You Are; A 7-Step Style Strategy for Ambitious Women’