Have you ever wondered how your clothing is made or how many gallons of water it takes to create a single shirt?
Neither had I. Until I was perusing the green corners of the internet (get it, green because the environment lolz) and saw that the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world behind oil. This struck me as a surprise, but the more I thought about it the more it made sense.
With fashion trends constantly changing, companies are forced to constantly produce more clothing to satisfy consumer demand. This production obviously comes at a price – it takes around 700 gallons of water to produce ONE basic shirt. Multiply that by the millions of shirts being produced yearly and you have yourself a very large number.
And thats only the tip of the iceberg. All the chemicals, synthetic fibers, and toxic dyes and bleaches are taking their toll on the environment too.
So what can we do as consumers? Become educated about the problem and make the best decision possible based on our available resources. I’ve done some of the dirty work in researching environmentally sustainable clothing brands and have found 6 that offer cute clothing at relatively reasonable prices. The reason I say “relatively reasonable” is that these clothes are not cheap but should be purchased with the mindset that you are choosing quality over quantity.
1. Aeon Row
From the 6 companies I chose, this is my favorite! Aeon Row takes recycled clothing and recreates them into their simple but super cute designs. By using revived fabrics, they break down the recycled clothing and bind those fabrics with polyester so it is able to be spun into yarn to make new clothing! An added bonus: for each item you buy, you can send back one piece of your clothing and Aeon Row will revive it to create new apparel and give you 15% off for your next purchase.
2. Amour Vert
The second company I found is the nautical-inspired Amour Vert. These American manufactured clothes are made with sustainable fabrics (organic cotton, Tencel, and Modal), feature non-toxic dyes, and are created in a way that aligns with the company’s zero-waste philosophy. Creating clothes with such a strong commitment to sustainability leads to higher prices, but most of the “Tees & Tanks” are under $100.
The company also has partnered with American Forest for a Tees=Trees program and has planted over 135,000 trees so far!
The more socially responsible cousin of American Apparel, Alternative Apparel has all your basics made from eco and organic fabrics without toxic dyes. They also use G2 eco-washing that takes oxygen and ozone to create a plasma that washes the clothing (I don’t really understand how it works but it sounds cool).
Alternative Apparel is committed to respecting the rights of their workers worldwide and work with factories that operate in accordance with the Fair Labor Association Workplace Code of Conduct and are certified by the nonprofit Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production.
Bonus: students can get 20% off!!
Based in Santa Cruz, California, Synergy Organic Clothing is ethically made in Nepal and India with organic cotton and non-toxic dyes. Synergy focuses on creating fair labor practices for their factory employees, pays them a living wage, and wants to provide financial empowerment for woman and children in India and Nepal. Their commitment to operating such an ethical business has driven up the prices of their products, but like I said earlier, you’re choosing quality over quantity – and they have some really cute stuff!!
5. Azura Bay
Now that we’ve got eco-friendly clothes covered, I’ll move on to swimwear, undergarments, and jewelry. Azura Bay has THE cutest products I’ve ever seen and they’re ethically made and environmentally friendly. While they don’t make their own products, the founder, has created a collection of eco-friendly, ethically made, woman owned companies that are changing the way fashion is produced. This site is definitely worth a look.
Last but definitely not least is Pact, whose undergarments and wardrobe basics are all made from organic cotton. This Boulder based company partners with Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) to ensure that their entire supply chain (from the farmers growing the cotton to the packaging used to deliver products) complies with a strict set of environmental and ethically responsible manufacturing standards.
I researched a bunch of companies but picked the 6 that I thought were the most environmentally responsible AND budget friendly. These last 2 companies go really in-depth on their websites about their commitment to sustainability and have amazing products, however most of their products are pretty expensive. I won’t go into detail about them but you should definitely check them out!