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Let's talk Eco-Fashion

Sustainable fashion isn’t a new thing, but we can’t help but notice that it keeps popping up everywhere. From our social media news feeds, news articles, panel talks and general conversations; Marie Claire US dedicated their August issue to sustainable fashion. They’re more and more sustainable brands being launched; everyone seems to want to have an eco angle. Even celebrities are using their power to help raise the issue. Emma Watson joined forces with the green carpet challenge on the 'beauty and the beast' press tour to highlight sustainable fashion. On a specially set-up Instagram account the actress documented each outfit and gave details of the brands that are sustainable or involved in sustainable practices.

Just like the produce we buy in the supermarket; we want to know more about where, how and who made our clothes. But why now? The rise of eco-fashion in the media has definitely help spread the word and inform more people about the damage the fashion industry is having on the environment. There are more organizations out that giving us the facts and figures. The Fashion Revolution was set up after the 2013 tragic collapse of a clothing factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It was the largest garment-factory accident in history; over 1,000 people were killed and 2,500 people injured.  The social enterprise’s aim is to create a fashion industry where clothing is made in safe, cleaner and fairer way; so that both the environment and human impacts are equally considered during all stages of clothing production.
Here are a few things to consider when incorporating more ‘green fashion’ items or brands into your new wardrobe purchases.
Sustainable, Ethical, organic, fair trade….
It can be mind boggling when brands claim to be eco, fair trade, organic, ethical and sustainable. What do these terms really mean? If an item is labelled as containing organic cotton, it means the cotton has been grown naturally without the use of chemicals. However, for an item to be 100% organic it not only has to be made with organically grown materials, but all production processes must meet specific standards and regulations. For example any dyes used must be biodegradable or any chemicals used should not toxic to animals or the environment. Next we come to fair trade and ethical, this relates to anyone involved in producing the item (from growers to factory workers) are treated fairly. From the working conditions, salary to price for the raw materials, all these factors join together to ensure an item is either fair trade or ethical.
Last but by no means least; sustainable or eco actually covers both environmental and social issues. For an item to be sustainable it should be produced in a way that doesn’t damage the environment, use too many natural resources or create a negative impact on the lives of the people that were involved in the production. Not every brand may be may be able to be fully sustainable, but look out for brands that are a incorporating some sustainable practices into their business. Remember, someone is better than nothing!
Don’t forget bags, shoes and accessories too
Sustainable fashion isn't just about clothing, don’t forget to consider eco options for bags, shoes and accessories. There are lots of brand out there such as Veja, the cool
sneaker brand uses fair trade rubber and organic cotton. Ethical jewellery brand Made; hand make all their unique jewellery in Kenya and support local artisans to help them develop their skills. They have also collaboration with Louis Vuitton, Edun and Tommy Hilfiger in the past.
Look for Transparency
It's ok to ask questions, be curious, and research brands. If a brand can’t give you a
straight answer, you have to ask yourself what are they trying to hiding?
However, this takes time but as the customer we need to challenge brands and start
asking more questions. A great example of a brand that is super transparent is Everlane,
the San Francisco brand produce ethical wardrobe basics and give detail info about who and where each garment is made. You can’t get more open than that!
Lastly, one major thing to consider is do I really need this, can I wear this more than 30 times? Stay tuned for 10 ways to support sustainable fashion.