Friday 1 April 2016

sustainable shopping in the 21st century

I recently wrote a blog post for the Sydney Environment Institute about two of the best online platforms for finding sustainable fashion brands - the Good On You shopping app and the Project JUST website.

Here's a sneak peek, and a link to the full article - enjoy! And happy (sustainable fashion) shopping!

A new look from Kowtow - sustainable fashion gurus.

Demand for sustainably produced clothing is on the rise as more people become aware of fashion’s impact on the planet and the people who make our clothes. And the question on the lips of these conscious fashion consumers is, “So what brands can I buy?”

It’s a valid question, of course, but given the complexity of the fashion supply chain and the multiple steps from raw materials to finished garments, it can be hard to provide a straightforward answer.
On the one hand, it is easier than ever to buy sustainable fashion. There are a number of sustainable fashion labels creating clothing with care of the planet and its inhabitants built into their business plans from day one. There are also many well-established fashion labels adjusting their practices to lighten their environmental footprint and ensure safe and fair working conditions for garment labourers.

On the other hand, information about these labels can be hard to find, and even harder to decipher for the average fashion shopper. At this time there is no widely accepted certification system that ‘approves’ brands as being completely environmentally and socially sustainable, though there are systems for approving ethical labour, Fairtrade practices and organic cotton, among others. In addition, many brands privilege one ethical characteristic over the other – for example, focusing on environmental standards by switching to organic cotton and toxin-free dyes or prioritising labour conditions by committing to paying a living wage to overseas garment workers. This is particularly true for large brands transitioning to sustainable practices.

In this complex and ever-changing fashion industry, the answer to “So, what brands can I buy?” often boils down to the shopper’s personal values.

Thanks to improved technologies (and some dedicated sustainable fashion advocates) there are now multiple online tools to help the conscious fashion consumer decide what brands to buy.

Keep reading the full article on the SEI website.

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