You’ve got your fair trade coffee, your organic collard greens, maybe even an electric or hybrid car. You’re totally rocking it for the planet, and kudos to you for that! We’re with you. But what about your clothes? Sure, you can donate to the local Goodwill or Salvation Army and give your clothes a second chance in a new home after you’ve moved on to newer and better outfits, but how do you make sure your newer better outfits are as eco-conscious as you are? Thankfully sustainable fashion is a thing and it doesn’t look like it’s falling out of vogue any time soon.
In the 90’s, conscious clothing meant designers giving some of their profits to charities. Today it means companies actually using their clothing lines to both reuse old materials or vote with their money for sustainable raw materials like organic cotton and reclaimed wood and metals.
Begood Clothing is one of the most prominent eco-friendly clothing brands out there. They’ve adopted a vertical integration strategy, which they call “seed to stitch.” Vertical integration means they control every part of their production line; outsourcing nothing means you can have faith in everything. If you haven’t thought of organic cotton before just think that cotton production worldwide accounts for 16% of pesticide use, more than any other single crop. By going organic you’re helping keep pesticides out of the water, air, and yes, off of your skin.
Another proponent of vertical integration is Seamly. This company based in Denver, Colorado makes sure all their fabrics are knitted right here in the USA. That might not seem like it does a lot for the environment, but when you consider the carbon footprint of shipping from mills overseas, it starts to add up. The USA also has more stringent environmental regulations than most of the developing nations where other fabrics are developed. This makes American mills more eco-friendly by default. And Seamly goes above and beyond to verify that their manufacturing lines actually meet their high standards by having close relationships with the companies. Every piece of clothing they make is sewn by hand in Denver, and all their employees are guaranteed a living wage and benefits.
Born Again Design has taken the recycling, or as we like to call it, the “upcycling” path. Sourcing sustainable materials is a great way to help, but so is turning no longer wanted clothes into something new. Born Again works with families in India to trade unwanted silk saris for household goods. The families get to improve their livelihood, and Born Again gets to provide silk accessories without the high environmental cost of keeping silk worms. Their scarves, wraps, and bracelets all retain the fiery colors of real Indian silk without taking anything away from the planet. Oh, and did we mention that thanks to a partnership with Trees For The Future, Born Again plants a tree with every purchase?
As some of you know, at Northwood Rings, our small team works with reclaimed wood to make wooden rings. Wooden accessories have become popular lately thanks in part to manufacturing improvements and the natural elegance of wood. We’ve taken time to really get our crafting process down right. Rather than simply cutting rings out of wood boards, we heat, steam, and bend tiny strips of wood into rings that will last forever. This process allows us to use rare woods that have been cast aside by other manufactures, saving them from becoming waste. Northwood offers rare species of tree like bird’s eye birch, Hawaiian koa, and Indian rosewood without contributing to deforestation.
There’s lots of ways to get a little more green into your wardrobe. These are just a few of our favorites, what are a few of yours? We’d love to hear from you!