Many fashion brands including Forever 21, Zara, and H&M have changed the fashion game by making trendy looks more affordable. And even though affordability is a priority for many, it is also important to take into account the hidden cost of fashion – the toll it takes on the environment and the impact its production has on factory workers.
At present day, the fashion industry comes as the 2nd largest polluter, right after oil companies. As per the Huffington Post, the average American disposes of 68 pounds of garments every year, most of which will not properly decompose due to the presence of petroleum-based, synthetic fibers. With daily or weekly shipments of new styles, fast fashion brands depend on customers wanting the most current trends that will go out of style in the blink of an eye. These clothes are replaced quickly with other comparatively low-quality, and cheap items, which are typically manufactured by exploited workers.
While this problem is inevitable, there are certain steps that we can take as consumers to promote a healthier environment. The first step is by turning towards brands that encourage slow-fashion and prioritize sustainable materials and ethical manufacturing. More importantly, clothes manufactured by employees who are treated justly, and with materials that have less adverse effects on the environment, are just priceless. Here we will be looking six fast fashion brand alternatives that you can enjoy without guilt in the world!
Launched in 2009, Reformation is living proof that sustainability and trendy fashion can exist side by side. The brand not only sources vintage and sustainable fabrics for their clothes but also invest a ton in the welfare of their workers that manufacture all items in their in-house sewing factory in LA, health benefits, and fair wages. According to Lyst, Reformation clothing is geared towards the eco-conscious with an eye for everything vintage. Don’t forget to check out their “RefScale,” which tracks and breaks down the environmental impact of every textile item for sale on the site.
2. Alternative Apparel
It is extremely rare to find fashion brands that are trendy, sustainable and ethical, all at the same time. However, Alternative Apparel ranks well in all these categories. Alternative values and respects the rights of employees in all countries and firmly believe in the right to have a safe and fair workplace environment.
Their factories function in line with the Fair Labor Association Workplace Code of Conduct, and they manufacture more than 70% of their clothes with sustainable processes and materials. Alternative Apparel is certified as a Green Business in Los Angeles, and their products are loved nationwide by men and women.
Even though seen as a typical “dad brand,” Patagonia is still worth considering if you are all about environmental sustainability. One of the most memorable campaigns led by Patagonia was the “Do not buy this Jacket, ” and that pushed people to think twice about whether or not they needed an article of clothing before buying it on Cyber Monday and Black Friday.
Every year the company also donates 1% of its total sales to organizations that work for the environment and vigorously works towards getting rid of human trafficking in the supply chain. Furthermore, Patagonia also allowed all of its products to be recycled and is constantly taking steps towards being a more socially responsible brand.
Who doesn’t love a good leather jacket? Rocked by everyone from Kurt Cobain to Marilyn Monroe, this classic piece of fashion can ever hardly go out of style. Unfortunately, leather production puts great stress on the environment. In fact, the production of a new leather jacket in today’s standard mass production leads to approximately 440 pounds (200 kilos) of Carbon dioxide emissions!
Therefore, the Swedish fashion label Deadwood has brought to the table an unbeatable substitute that is also green. As part of their Recycled Leather campaign, the brand collects vintage leather textiles and uses them to create their very own designs.
For Siizu, sustainability is not just a promise – it is a driving force behind their every decision, and it all starts with the cloth. The brand is dedicated to exclusively making use of textiles that are 100% eco-friendly and organic, without any toxins or polyester, with cashmere and wool sourced from Suzhou and Magnolia (the packaging is also 100% recyclable). Furthermore, you can count on Siizu for no-fuss, streamlined clothing items that can still be styled to suit your vibe.
Their talented and creative team is dedicated to craftsmanship and quality, and their lean business model means they offer clothes only online. With no physical storefront and recyclable shipping materials, the brand is adamant about minimizing their carbon footprint. Lastly, Siizu also donates liberally to help American Forest reach its objective of planting 2.7 million trees throughout 44 projects nation-wide and protecting and restoring endangered wildlife habitat.
Everlane is a brand that is all about transparency. It spends months and months looking for the best factories around the globe – the same ones that manufacture our favorite designer labels, and then they try building strong relationships with those factory owners to make sure their factory’s integrity and to also retain ethical production practices at each step of the process.
Everlane believes that customers have all the right to know what their products cost to manufacture and where exactly they are made. They unleash their original costs and also share the production and factory stories behind every article of clothing. Their modern and minimal aesthetics make them a nationwide favorite.
In the past decade or so, consumers have become increasingly conscious about their purchases, and the impact their purchasing decisions have on the environment. For this reason, they are also channeling the power of their vocalized objections to make a positive change for the people who are involved in the making of their goods and clothes. If you are one of those people, a good place to start is through supporting brands and products that come through ethical and sustainable means.