Today in the Netherlands it’s ‘Dag van de Duurzaamheid’ – Day of Sustainability. Here are six top tips from Fair Wear Foundation to help you shop more sustainably for your clothes.
Things move fast in the fashion world, it can be hard to keep up. There are many fashion blogs you can read (such as True Fashion Collective website or Inhabitat) and documentaries you can watch to learn more about sustainability. True cost is a must-see documentary, shedding light on the people who make our clothes and the impact the fashion industry is having on our world.
Check the working conditions
Have a look on the website of your favourite brand to check what they are doing to improve labour conditions for the garment workers who made their clothes. Usually you can find the information under the ‘About’ or ‘Sustainability’ pages. Fair Wear Foundation member brands are open about how their clothes are made and take substantial steps towards making a positive impact in the garment industry. We report about the brands efforts on each brand page on our website. If your favourite brand is not mentioning anything about working conditions (and is not a FWF member), ask them about it! Tweet, email, or call them up!
Choose eco-friendly materials
The environmental impact of the clothing industry is largely determined by the production of chemicals. Choose natural (and therefore biodegradable) materials such as organic cotton, linen, hemp, Tencel, bamboo and wool. For material information, always check the clothing label, or the information on the product page of the brand’s website.
Use the FWF Shopping List
While thrift stores and clothing swaps are brilliant ways to expand your wardrobe sustainably, it might be challenging to fill your entire wardrobe in this way. That’s where sustainable brands like FWF member brands come in. They are dedicated to supporting garment workers’ rights to safe, dignified and properly paid employment, and making fashion fair for everyone. Use them to fill the gaps in your wardrobe without sacrificing your principles! View the FWF shopping list here.
Aim for quality over quantity
It’s much more satisfying to buy one beautiful 150 euro dress you can wear often for years, rather than five cheap dresses that fall apart by the end of the first day. Do as the French do: build a wardrobe of classic staples that will last for years!
If you’re both eco-conscious and budget conscious, used clothes are the best option. Second-hand clothes require no new materials to produce: no extra energy, water, or toxic chemicals are added when they change hands from their previous owner. Also, keeping used clothing out of the waste stream means there’s less need for new landfills. And best of all, used clothes are generally cheaper than new (quality) clothes.