The Power of Your Dollars: Ethical and Eco Conscious Brands

The primary focus of clothing brands is to take your money. The best way that we can make a call for change in how the fashion industry works is to vote every time we make a purchase by researching and making educated decisions about which companies we support.

But it’s not that easy. Very few companies are honest and open about their supply chains – some companies appear to not even know who made their clothing or what materials are in it! With mounting public pressure (good job, guys!), many large companies now have pages on their websites devoted to “Responsibility”. But reading those pages is like deciphering code and reading between the lines. They gloss over the areas they know are touchy and focus on their small positive efforts. They use terms like “we are using less water” or “buying better cotton” without quantifying that in any way. Some companies use organic cotton and minimal packaging but make poor quality clothing or trendy fashions that cause us to view our clothing as disposable – thus sending us back to buy more of it in a completely unsustainable cycle.

It’s confusing and frustrating.

In this section, we hope to explore and present brands that are making an effort towards environmental and social change – in Canada and abroad.

Each post will identify the brand, list some of the products and discuss the following:

  • Canadian
    • Is it made in Canada or North America?
    • Does it support local labour and small businesses?
  • Ethics
    • Is it Fair Trade?
    • Does it have a transparent supply chain?
    • Is it handmade?
    • Does it source materials from ethically raised and handled animals?
  • Environmentally Friendly
    • Is it made with sustainable materials?
      • Recycled materials
      • Renewable resources
      • Do they choose materials which do not tax the environment (like alpaca wool) over materials which do (like cashmere)?
      • Organic
    • Are they aware of water consumption and moving towards a closed-loop water system? (1)
    • Pollution
      • Do they use minimal packaging? Is it biodegradable?
      • Are factories and stores energy efficient? Do they use solar or wind power?
      • Are toxic chemicals like dyes and fabric treatments released into water sources?
  • Quality & Style
    • Are garments made to last?
    • Are they easily recycled or a desirable re-sale item?
    • Are they made in classic and timeless styles that will last many seasons?

These are only some of the many, varied issues that impact each purchase we make. Majority of companies are working towards bettering themselves in these categories and we support that. Some effort is better than no effort! But let’s use our purchasing decisions to encourage each brand to step up and make more concerted efforts towards acknowledging what they need to work on, and then holding them accountable to take those steps – and supporting them with our money when they prove themselves worthy!

Resources:

(1) Levi’s Recycled Water System

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *