At Atlys, we like to give actionable tips for making all areas of your lifestyle more sustainable. But sometimes it’s easier to start with one area at a time. If you’re looking to start making your clothing more sustainable going forward, you’re in the right place. Read on for a simple list of things to keep in mind the next time you’re shopping for clothes.
1. Look for clothing with fabric made from natural materials over synthetics.
Fabrics from natural sources, such as cotton, silk, linen, hemp, or wool (ethically-sourced) are biodegradable, so when you’re done with your clothes they won’t damage the earth. This is the opposite of synthetic fabrics such as polyester, rayon, or nylon.
But wait! There are other elements to consider as well. Natural fabrics have their own issues with how they’re produced, such as how the raw materials are sourced, or how the fabrics are dyed. In addition, a fabric like polyester might be made from recycled plastic, which would make it a better option than traditional polyester!
Click here to read more about various fabrics and their sustainability.
2. Think about your wardrobe overall, and choose pieces that will go with many others and last a long time.
Think about the clothes you’re buying, and ask yourself a few questions. Is it a trendy piece, or is it more timeless, able to be worn for a long time? It’s completely fine to purchase a few trendy items once in a while, but having the bulk of your wardrobe be of a more classic style allows you to get far more use out of your clothes.
Regardless of the style of the clothes themselves, take a look at their quality before buying. Does the item seem like it will shrink or pill right away? Or will it be able to outlive many washes, particularly if it becomes a favorite of yours? Product lifetime is one of many elements that make up our rating system for sustainable and ethical brands. Click here to read more about what product lifetime means to us.
3. Do your homework – research brands to determine how sustainable they really are.
We know, homework isn’t something any of us really like to do. But until sustainable brands become the norm (we’re working on it), it takes a little extra research to determine whether a clothing brand is operating sustainably, or using fabrics that won’t harm the earth. This blog post mentions a few questions to look into for brands you might shop from:
Are they practicing sustainability? From where are the materials sourced? Is the processing environmentally-friendly? Do they use recycled packaging? What delivery methods do they use?Green Living Archives, Everything Bags Inc.
4. Look for brands with certifications.
Although tons of certifications for brands exist, some of the ones that you’ll see most with clothing brands include USDA Organic (for the fabrics themselves), the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), and Fair Trade Certified (which focuses on the ethics of the products as well). There are certainly clothing brands that are doing great things for sustainability and don’t have any of these certifications. However, if a brand is certified, you know for sure that they’re doing something right.
Hopefully, these tips will make it easier for you to begin or continue shopping for sustainable clothing!