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A Guide to Ethical and Sustainable Fashion

Some of the problems facing the mass production of fast fashion are the use of materials and dyes that are harmful to the planet and the unethical treatment of workers. Sustainable fashion seeks to combat this industry with clothing that fulfills more compassionate missions.

 

On the bright side, finding places to buy eco-friendly and ethically-made clothing is not too difficult with the popularity of online stores. Though not a direct source for sustainable clothing, thredUP is an online consignment store full of various brands and designers for bargain prices. Though you might have to do some digging in the search bar to find specific sustainable companies, keeping recyclable clothes out of landfills has its benefits. If you would rather see the clothes in person or try them on before you buy them, check out your local consignment stores.

 

On top of helping the environment, visiting small-scale consignment shops is a great way to support small businesses and the local community. For new clothes, the key is quality. Sustainable clothing is all about improving the quality of fashion in all areas from how well the fabric is made to how well the company and its contributors support their workers. The Good Trade, an online resource for all things sustainable living, provides a list of eco-friendly and sustainable clothing companies around the world.

 

Rethinking what you find valuable in clothing is not without its challenges though. When I first started looking at second-hand clothing, I was concerned about not being able to find clothing that didn’t show the signs of regular wear-and-tear. In actuality, most stores, including thredUp, do not accept clothing that is damaged or visibly distressed by time.

 

You can make your own contributions to this business by donating your old and gently-used clothing. The downside to buying new sustainable clothing, with all the care that goes into selecting an eco-friendly manufacturing process and making sure people are paid fairly, is that it isn’t afforded the cheap production costs like fast fashion. Sustainable clothing isn’t cheap and it shows in the price tags. However, quality clothing lasts and is well worth the investment. Participating as a buyer of sustainable clothing allows you to value your clothing more than just at face value.

 

You know, depending on the company, how much your clothes are helping to oppose unhealthy and unsustainable practices in the clothing industry. Also, look for businesses that support external charities and organizations. Wholesome Culture is a brand that, on top of making eco-friendly products, dedicates 10% of profits to organizations such as animal rescues and sanctuaries.

 

Supporting sustainable fashion not only revives the former value of clothing-making as a practice of quality but also demonstrates an awareness of the factors that go into making a product. There are things to look out for though. It’s good to look at the entirety of a company’s production line.

 

A company that shows eco-friendly assembly in the USA might be importing fabrics made under poor conditions in another country. There are many companies with a mission for ethical and sustainable clothing and their support ranges across a multitude of organizations. Next time you’re looking for clothes, give a sustainab

Bailee Jetton

GA Tech '22

Bailee Jetton is currently a 3rd year Literature, Media, & Communication major at Georgia Tech with a major focus in Media and Communications. She developed a passion for writing when she wrote competitively for a school creative writing team before beginning to focus on journalistic writing in her junior year of high school.
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