By: Alyssa Pieprzyca
“You don’t care about the environment? That’s kind of f*cked up man.”
- Eric Molson, 21 Jump Street
We couldn’t agree more. Almost everyone around me boycotts the use of plastic straws to help reduce waste and save the sea turtles (DUH)! We use reusable water bottles, reusable grocery bags, and recycle whenever possible. You knew this right? But did you know the majority of the fashion industry are responsible for over 8% of total global greenhouse gas emissions?
You might be asking yourself, how? The film The True Cost reported that 20% of industrial water pollution comes from the treating and dyeing of textiles.
When I found this all out, not only was I shocked, I was so overwhelmed. I was immediately flushed with emotion and questions, “How can I help? What can I do? How have I never heard about this? Where do we even begin?” Don’t worry! I stumbled across this amazing tool in the midst of my miniature panic attack!
Good On You is a lifesaver. This app is dedicated to rating brands by their sustainable and ethical choices. After downloading their app, or visiting them on the web, you can type in any brand to see how Good On You has rated them. There are three criteria for the rating: people, planet, and animals. It rates on a point scale “We Avoid” (1), “Not Good Enough,” “It’s a Start,” “Good,” and lastly “Great” (5), all based on whether the brand is moving forward on those three elements, or they aren’t.
Girlfriend Collective is made out of water bottles. Yes, these comfy, stretchy, non-see through leggings diverts 25 bottles from landfills. If you didn’t think that was cool, wait until you hear how they’ll give you store credit if you send them your old, unwanted Girlfriend leggings. Yup. Just purchase the return label and they’ll take your old merch, and use it to turn it into new merch. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
Outland Denim knew the environmental factors that go into making jeans, so they made the choice to change their approach. With e-flow, which uses 65% less water, 20% less energy, and 80% less chemical use than traditional techniques. Aside from that, Outland Denim has made the commitment to use absolutely zero harmful chemicals. They’ve opted for using certified chemicals, following a strict adherence to the ZDHC Manufacturing Restricted Substance List (MRSL), and by eliminating hazardous chemicals such as heavy metals, alkylphenols and volatile organic compounds, the effect on the environment is significantly reduced.
Dedicated only uses organic cotton that it is toxic chemicals and pesticides free. It uses up to 91% less water, 62% less energy, and emits 46% less Co2 compared to conventional cotton. And it’s fairtrade! Fairtrade works actively for farmers rights in countries with widespread poverty and ensures that they receive a minimum price for their work. On top of that, Dedicated avoids synthetic fibers, because duh, plastic sucks. They work with recycled polyester to bypass oil extraction required to make virgin polyester. By doing so, they use 59% less energy and 32% less Co2 emissions.
Stella McCartney is actually one of the very few luxury brands that makes an effort to be sustainable. Stella McCartney is part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, using only recycled polyester, organic cotton, and reengineered cashmere yarn, instead of virgin cashmere. The brand has also implemented waste and water reduction strategies, including always measuring and reporting their greenhouse gas emissions.
These issues can sometimes feel like they’re bigger than us, but knowing ethical brands as well as the Good On You app exist, can definitely help stay informed. So, where will your next conscious buy be at?