Socially Responsible Clothing

From: Jack Hollingsworth
December 19th, 2013 | 0 Comments

Trying to find more ways you can improve your personal sustainability?

Have you tried looking in a mirror?

The clothes you wear have a big impact on your personal environmental footprint. Plus, by being more socially responsible in your fashion choices, you’ll save a lot of money (while still looking great). Here’s how that works.

Socially responsible clothing? Does it really matter?

It sounds silly depending on how you look at it: changing your clothing purchases has a significant impact on the environment? Really?

Yes, really. The textile industry has a major global environmental impact, and how you purchase your clothes contributes to a number of factors. For example:

  • Buying the cheapest clothes possible means contributing (albeit indirectly) to near-slave labor, dangerous working conditions
  • Buying cheap clothing also means it won’t last as long, increasing your personal consumption
  • Buying poorly-constructed clothing contributes to shorter and shorter fashion seasons, increasing demand for cheap clothes and encouraging unsustainable business practices

Notice a trend? Cheap clothes are generally bad for business and the environment. The cheap fashion cycle simply isn’t a sustainable way of living.

We’re not saying you have to spend a fortune on fashion to be socially conscious. We’re simply encouraging you away from clothes produced in less-than-ideal working conditions that are designed to wear out quickly. (We’re looking at you, H&M.)

Being More Socially Responsible Without Breaking The Bank

Here are 4 tips that will make your clothing decisions much more socially responsible.

  1. Developing a Timeless Style
    It’s easy to shop at your local fashion store and buy whatever’s on the rack this season. However, it’s more sustainable and affordable to develop your own style and shop for it yourself. This means the clothes in your closet will look good for more than one season, and you’ll have a much easier time shopping at thrift stores. You can even take it to the next level and design your own t-shirt.
    Having a hard time developing your style? Find a few eco-friendly fashion brands, and then look through their catalogs. You’ll get a lot of ideas on how you can wear environmentally sustainable fashion while looking great.
  2. Shop at thrift or second hand stores
    This may seem obvious, but it works: shopping at second hand or thrift stores provides you with unique fashion deals while saving you money (just ask Macklemore).
  3. Research socially responsible companies and buy from them exclusively
    The brands you buy make a big difference. Taking a little bit of time to research socially responsible brands helps you know where to shop when you need to buy new clothes.
  4. Don’t think you have to sacrifice fashion for function
    The last tip is the most important because it’ll drive you decision to stick with the other tips on this list. Sometimes, an individual will decide to be more environmentally conscious in their fashion decisions but then give up when new fashion trends pop up. This doesn’t have to happen to you – not unless you choose to. You can be both highly fashionable and still minimize your environmental impact through your clothing. (And by fashion, we don’t mean you have to look like a hippy – although if that’s your style, more power to you.)

Sure, it takes a little bit of extra work at first to be socially responsible. You need to do your research and become aware of how the clothes you buy affect the environment and working conditions in the areas where they are produced.

Once you get started, though, it’s an easily self-perpetuating habit that’ll make a positive contribution to your pocketbook and global textile production practices. Make the extra effort to become aware of how your fashion choices affect the world, and use that knew awareness to style smarter.