When it comes to shopping sustainably with clothes.. I like to break it down into three different, but equally important areas to focus on. All of these sections have to do with the sustainability of the product. I think it's easier if you are just starting out to focus on one of these areas and then add on when it won't be too overwhelming for you! So let's get started and start with -- Fair Trade!
Shop Fair Trade
Fair Trade basically means that fair prices have been made to the producers of the product. This isn't new news, but I still think it is important news. Changes have been made in the fashion industry slowly because of recent pulls by brands and consumers to be more aware and to be held accountable. However; we still have a long way to go! We have always said - the humans making our clothes are just as important as the humans buying our clothes, because we can't have one without the other!
The latest Global Estimates indicate that 152 million children — 64 million girls and 88 million boys — are in child labour globally, accounting for almost one in 10 of all children worldwide, according to the International Labour Organization.
This one tugs at your emotions.. there is nothing like the feeling like you are doing good by knowing humans are benefiting from your purchase instead of enabling child labor. Of course, fair trade involves not just children but also adults getting paid lower than minimum wage.
This not only happens overseas but right here in the US as well. Paid by Piece or Piece Rate Pay is very common here in Los Angeles. According to the Garment Worker Center:
"Approximately 85% of garment workers do not earn the minimum wage and are instead paid a piece rate pay between 2-6 cents per piece. Most garment workers work 60-70 hour weeks with a take home pay of about $300 dollars meaning sometimes the garment workers need to work 60-70 hours a week to be able to make minimum wage."
Making sure where you are buying is not supporting piece rate pay or child labor is essential! I hate to say it, but you can not get a sustainable, ethical shirt for $13.00.
Choosing minimally (which I will talk about later on) and wisely can really decrease these stats above. You are voting with your dollar!
Shop Plastic (microplastic) Free
When we started Leisure of NYC.. I knew I wanted to do all natural materials, but I wouldn't have been able to really tell you why. As we produced more and more -- it became aparent to me why I didn't want synthetic materials used in our line.
Most people don't realize what is in the fabric of their clothes. More and more synthetic clothes have become the norm. Athleisure is almost all plastic! Some of these fabrics include : Polyester, Nylon, Acrylic.. list goes on and on. Polyester is plastic in a fiber form. The way they break polyester down into yarn is by using petroleum -- oil -- yuck! That is sitting on our skin (our bodies largest organ.) I have noticed in the recent years there have been different names coming out for Polyester as well so always do your research and see what the fabrics really are. Most all athleisure is made out of polyester or some form of plastic.
It is no surprise that plastic on your body has many harmful effects. This Study states:
"The internal organs that are most commonly affected (from plastic) are the liver, the kidneys, the heart, the nervous system (including the brain) and the reproductive system."
We have stated before how plastic fibers in your clothes have been proven to decrease sperm count and really do havoc on your body's endocrine system. Thankfully we have a choice to choose other fabrics out there! Our Men's Boxer Briefs are made with a bamboo fabric - viscose instead! Viscose creates the same softness as polyester, but better for you and the environment! Win win!
The best thing you can do is simply buy less. According to the True Cost movie:
"The average American now generates 82 pounds of textile waste each year. That adds up to more than 11 million tons of textile waste from the U.S. alone."
Sometimes the most sustainable thing you can do is not in what you buy but how much you buy.
Clothes dumped on landfills take decades to decompose, while they are emitting greenhouse gases. They could be reused or recycled. Even second hand stores are filling up and turn away your clothes. Buying less will eliminate gasses being emitted into the environment and also eliminate all the gases from production as well. 10% of the world’s greenhouse gas emission comes from the fashion industry.
Slim down into a minimal capsule wardrobe and get yourself the basics ;) Like our relaxed tee. This is versatile and you can dress it up or dress it down. Using our natural fabrics - we naturally eliminate green house emissions and theres nothing you can't do with these versatile pieces!