The clothing industry is one of the largest polluters in the world. Creating a sustainable closet means looking for eco friendly fashion brands, reducing clothing waste and buying mindfully. Learn how to make ethical clothing choices in world obsessed with what we wear.
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Why We Need Eco Friendly Fashion
Every once in a while, my husband comes to me with an idea that he thinks I need to blog about. He is very helpful when it comes to my blogging inspirations! He recently came across an article about fashion designers who are trying to reduce their environmental impact by creating eco friendly fashion styles including shoes, clothes, and accessories.
There are a ton of eco friendly fashion companies on the web but this article really focused on the big name brands going green. I love to see mainstream companies going green!
Designers are coming up with all sorts of ideas, some of which are still in the developmental stage (like the shirt you can tear up and bury in the garden for compost!). I was really staggered by some of the statistics quoted in the article (which you can see HERE).
I am not typically a clothing or shoe addicted kind of girl and had a hard time believing some of these facts! However, I will definitely be keeping my eye out for some eco friendly fashion brands as I fill in my spring wardrobe! Keep reading for a few big names in the industry, as well as a few affiliate links for products you may find useful.
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How can clothes be more sustainable?
Think about this: On average, each person throws away 54 pounds of clothes and shoes each year. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, that adds up to 9 million tons of shoes, jackets, etc. that are sent into the waste stream every single year.
When you think of how many people in this world are going around WITHOUT the proper shoes or clothing, that number is not only depressing from an ecological standpoint but also from a humanitarian one. The number one way to make clothes more
What clothing brands are eco friendly?
It’s nice to see that designers are starting to come out with a few new eco friendly fashion items that are a little easier on the environment than traditionally manufactured clothing items. Here are a few examples of up and coming eco friendly fashion trends …maybe you should put them on your birthday wish list!
- Gucci sunglasses and footwear made with biodegradable plastics (apparently made with castor seed oil). Make sure to keep them clean with natural lens cleaner for longer lasting sunglasses.
- Stella McCartney dress shoes for women with biodegradable rubber soles. (only the sole is biodegradable but it is a start!) Biodegradable shoes are relatively new on the market but several brands are starting to explore this option.
- Puma T-shirts and sneakers that can be ripped up and buried in the ground as fertilizer. (this eco friendly fashion idea is still a work in progress)
- The Dutch footwear company Oat has been making a completely biodegradable sneaker since 2011
- Dizm Eyewear sells sunglasses with biodegradable frames
Which eco friendly clothing materials should you choose?
There is a lot of debate about what clothing materials are the most sustainable. The most affordable eco friendly clothing is actually whatever you already own. So don’t toss out your whole closet to buy hemp and bamboo clothes.
Check out my post about the benefits of hemp clothing or the pros and cons of bamboo fabric. There are a ton of sustainable materials on the market, however, the best thing you can do for the planet is to buy mindfully and minimize the actual size of your wardrobe.
The Sustainable Closet
Think about how many clothes, shoes, hats, mittens, sunglasses and other fashion accessories come through your doors in one year. Kids grow fast, they are hard on jeans and wear holes in the knees, you get bored with that brown purse you bought on sale, etc.
The impact of your shoe addiction goes far beyond the balance on your credit card! If you would like to do your part to reduce your family’s impact on the environment, here are a few eco friendly fashion ideas to keep in mind the next time you shop or clean out your closet:
Buy second hand clothing:
Not only is this a great way to save money but you get to skip all that packaging that comes with new clothes. No more shoe boxes, hangers, plastic wrap or little annoying plastic tags!
Choose eco friendly clothes whenever you can:
Sure, you could have 5 purses from Target all in some hot shade of spring color but do you really need them? Consider buying ONE purse made from eco friendly materials in a neutral shade that will match with most of your wardrobe for the whole season. Sure, that might not SOUND fun but it is a much greener choice than throwing those 5 neon purses in the landfill to NOT biodegrade for 100 years!
Consider a clothing swap
Get your neighborhood together for a clothing swap. Everyone get together with the clothes that don’t fit or aren’t stylish to you anymore. Your neighbor might LOVE that red hat that you think is hideous or maybe they have a daughter who wears the exact size your child can’t fit into anymore!
Donate what you can’t re-home
Organizations like Good Will or the Salvation Army are always happy to take clothes that you don’t need anymore. Help the less fortunate while cleaning out your closet.
Find new uses for old shoes
Programs like Nike’s Reuse a Shoe or the Souls for Souls campaign are great ways to recycle or re-home your shoes when they have outlived their usefulness.
Make those old T-shirts into a dog blanket or turn those old jeans into a purse! Even if you just turn holey socks into puppets for your kids you are doing your part to reduce your carbon footprint.
Some cities actually have textile recycling! Search Earth 911 for a clothing recycling center near you!
There are a lot of ways to reduce your fashion footprint if you stop and think about your purchases (and your discards!) before you act. Do you have any eco friendly fashion ideas to share? Like this post? Check out my Eco Friendly Lifestyle Tips and learn How to Care for Leather Boots Naturally
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.