Updated: Jul 5, 2021
We all love looking good- but isn't it vital to keep our planet, and each other, feeling good too? If you care about sustainability and responsibility in fashion like we do, here’s 4 Things to Look for in a Sustainable Clothing Brand.
1. Garment Sourcing
Where do your clothes come from?
A growing number of consumers and clothing brands are going the extra mile to find manufacturers that care about their people as well as the environment.
In this growing global economy, transparency is key to finding a responsible manufacturer.
Okay, but how will I know?
Do some research. Many reputable manufacturers have their company culture listed on their website. Are their employees taken care of? Are there laws against child labor and unfair wage practices? What are their work conditions like? Do they have sustainable textile and garment dying processes? These are all vital clues to determine if a manufacturer is top notch.
Where the product is made can give a big clue as to the labor practices. America, for example, has strict labor laws that ensure the fair treatment and fair pay for employees. That ‘Made in America’ tag, or one from another responsible country, almost guarantees your item was sourced from a company that is ethically and socially responsible- no sweat shops or child labor here.
Still have sticker shock?
Sure, you may find some fast fashion for small change at big retailers, but at what cost? Paying a little extra for ethically sourced products can make sure your money goes into the hands of the workers and small businesses, and you can bet the quality will be exceptional! Now that’s something we can all feel good about.
One of our main garment suppliers at Westwind Apparel Co. is Bella & Canvas. This American manufacturing company is committed to water use reduction, energy use reduction, non-toxic dyes, and creating virtually zero waste in their manufacturing processes. They care deeply about social responsibility in the workplace, offering fair wages and treatment for all people.
Check out more about Bella & Canvas and Westwind’s commitment to sustainable and ethical fashion here.
2. Printing Practices
Ok, so you’ve found the perfect garment. Good quality, ethically manufactured. Now how do we get that fab graphic that will really pop?
But not all printing is created equal.
Some larger retailers and overseas manufacturers print mass quantities of garments for the season’s trends. Once the trend or season is over, any leftover unsold garments go to waste- ending up in landfills. If the retailer is not eco-conscious, they often use dyes that contain plastics like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which contain dangerous chemical additives considered to be toxic, and which can evaporate into the air over time.
The Copenhagen Fashion Summit reported that around 92 million tons of waste related to fashion is being dumped in landfills each year.
The fashion and apparel industry is also the second largest consumer of water as it produces 20% of wastewater. The UN ECE says they also produce more greenhouse gas emissions than aerial and maritime transport combined.
You can see this has already become major problem in the fast fashion industry.
At Westwind, we want to be part of the solution.
We print each garment on-demand. When you order a tee or hoodie, our printing partner using Direct-To-Garment (DTG) printing to create a piece just for you. No extras, no waste, no landfills.
This DTG Printing method is truly the future of sustainable fashion. It uses less water in the process, uses water-based inks that are biodegradable and planet-friendly, and produces consistent quality prints.
You may have a wait a few extra days to receive your fave new tee, but believe us- the planet will thank you for it.
Click here to see more about our printing partner - Printful – and their commitment to sustainability!
3. Eco Friendly Products
The good news is that lots of manufacturers are offering eco-friendly products!
What makes a garment eco friendly, you ask?
Does the garment contain natural fibers such as cotton, linen, hemp, or wool? These fibers biodegrade much more easily than synthetic fibers that often contain plastics- which shed microfibers that end up in our oceans.
Eco-Friendly Dyes –
Are the garment dyes and inks that are used non-toxic? Wastewater from garment dying can be significantly less harmful when eco-friendly, water-based, or biodegradable dyes are used instead of ones that contain harmful toxic chemicals. Plus, these harsh chemicals from synthetic dyes can end up being absorbed into our skin!
In short : Better Dyes = Healthy Planet and Healthy Consumers
Good Quality –
Is the garment made well, carefully stitched and crafted? If so, it will hold up better in the wash, giving you a longer life of wear and fewer shed fibers. Often, more expensive garments have been made by someone who has taken the time to carefully craft the piece. Longer wear, less waste.
*Hot Tip: Check out our new Eco-Friendly product line!
Our Eco Tees are made with 60% Organic Cotton and 40% rPET (Recycled Plastic), use Eco-Friendly dyes and inks, and are super soft but ultra durable. That’s a big win!
We hope to add more and more eco-friendly products to our store.
Check back often @ westwindapparel.com/eco
4. Efficient Shipping
So you’ve found the perfect ethical, sustainable, eco-friendly garment at your fave online clothing store. Way to go!
But how are you going to get it home *and* stay green?
Does the clothing company use efficient shipping practices?
Carbon Emissions and Greenhouse gases caused by planes, trains, automobiles, and boats used for shipping are on the rise. Long distance shipping routes have us choking on pollution, cost, and waste.
One solution is having strategic fulfillment centers close to customers. This cuts down on the carbon footprint, reduce CO2 emissions and getting you your garment as quickly as possible. Now that’s smart!
Click here to read about how our fulfillment partner uses strategic fulfillment to go green and cut costs.
Well, you did it. You’re officially part of the Sustainable Fashion Movement!
Now go reward yourself with some sustainable gear from Westwind Apparel Co. ;)
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