When starting the hunt for new clothes, we rarely think about their origins. Instead, we’re drawn to them fully made and styled in gorgeously lit shop windows. Or, they come to life in our browser windows, modeled by the loveliest looking people you could ever wish to meet.
What we miss when we only see the well-lit photoshoot or the fabulously styled window is the truth of how this clothing came to be. Clothes are crafted out of multiple component parts, and varying materials, and travel long distances before they wind up before us begging to be bought. Before we dive in and buy, it’s important that we carefully consider the industrial and manufacturing process and just how large their carbon footprint actually is.
Fashion’s Pointy-toed Carbon Footprint
So, just what is a carbon footprint and what does it have to do with that killer outfit you’ve been eyeing? We’re so glad you asked! TimeforChange.com defines a carbon footprint as, “The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to, directly and indirectly, support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).” We each have a carbon footprint that’s made larger or smaller by our actions. You can calculate your own carbon footprint here. So, what does that have to do with the fashion industry? Quite a lot actually.
The clothing industry has one of the largest carbon footprints on the planet. From the massive amount of water that’s required to grow and/or produce raw materials (such as conventionally grown cotton), dye clothing, and heat fixing fabrics, to manufacturing -- mainstream fashion is most definitely on the back foot when it comes to being a force for good on the planet. Through conscious consumerism, sourcing sustainable materials, and cleaning up the supply line, things are starting to change for many new independent and sustainable brands.
What is Sustainable Fashion?
Sustainable fashion focuses on pieces that will last using material that’s better for the environment. Brands in this space choose eco-friendly materials like organic cotton, recycled fabrics, hemp, and bamboo. These companies use fair trade labor practices and develop relationships with the countries they’re in and the people they hire. Sustainable fashion is a way of holistically taking in the world and trying to make it a better place through better business choices and practices. It’s the future of fashion.
How to Lower Your Closet’s Carbon Footprint
In addition to supporting sustainable fashion brands, there are additional steps we can all take in cleaning up our carbon footprints. From keeping our wardrobes small to buying vintage and thrift shop clothing to investing in our clothes, it all makes a difference. Moving away from fast fashion pieces and purchasing clothes that may be more expensive, but that you’ll wear over
and over again is one of the best ways to make a difference if you still want to buy new. Want to go even further? Check out Ecotricity’s Eco-Friendly Buying Guide.
The Truth Alone Difference
So, what are we doing to lower our own carbon footprint? We’re happy you asked! We start with Peruvian Organic Cotton which uses upwards of 90% less water, than its conventional cousin, and does not use heavy machinery in field management and/or harvesting. Our organic cotton is hand harvested. We’ve eliminated garment washing to spare yet more water and heat, allowing our garments to be in their most natural intimately knitted state.
All of the component materials used for trimming and packaging are sourced locally in Peru, contributing to small local businesses, and reducing our carbon footprint. And we work hard to not over consume—we buy our product with our customer base in mind, and we’re still collecting feedback from all of you on what you all want next from us. Sustainability and good stewardship of the planet and caring for its inhabitants is a joint effort, and we’re conscious of doing our part. How about you?
We love being a part of the fashion movement because we believe in transparency, treating everyone with dignity and that every single one of us needs to pitch in to help make the world a better place. What have your experiences with sustainable fashion been? Tell us about it on Instagram.