Challenge #36 ~ Wear Your Values

Read the blog post on the November Theme – FASHION

Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

While the fashion industry as a whole is relatively new to realize value in sustainability, a number of fashion designers have long been committed to sustainability. A number of designers have long expressed and interwoven personal philosophies in their brands and created products, processes, and brand cultures processes that reflect these viewpoints.

As discussed in our monthly blog Fashioning a Greener Future, change has to start with us by accepting responsibility for how and what we buy and communicating our beliefs and values to our favorite brands.

This week’s challenge is all about wearing our values – from environmental rights to human rights to animal rights by learning about the industry trends to make better decisions and vote with our hard-earned money for the clothes in our wardrobes. We will introduce designers and brands that offer conscious consumers and an increasing number of choices of extraordinarily beautiful options from sustainable underwear to suits to accessories, including jewelry and eyeglasses, that reduce toxins in our bodies and environment.

“ … the industry is not as healthy as it should be. There are still dark sides to both [fashion and beauty] industries: dangerous chemicals in everyday personal care products, deadly pesticides used to grow cotton, child labor in gold mining and stone cutting, deforestation to make fashion, and toxic leather facilities. Consumers have the power to change these situations, if only they knew. Many of those issues could be easily avoided and then eradicated. … Until consumers — you — know more about the dirty secrets of each of these sectors, and can start shifting your dollars towards brands and designers doing things differently, nothing will change.”

Kate Black, Magnifeco

Among the top 10 Sustainable fashion designers and brands that stand out in making a difference in 2019 are: 

  • Patagonia: applies regenerative principles from agriculture to cotton supply chain and pledged to be fossil-fuel free by 2025. 
  • Eileen Fisher: on the forefront of sourcing innovative new materials, dying without hazardous chemicals, and minimalist basic wear to allow flexibility and fun in creating many combinations to reduce mindless consumption. In addition, Eileen Fisher is taking back all worn garments to optimize fabric and fibers in the supply chain in a circular fashion economy. The company plans to become carbon positive, applying a regenerative business model. 
  • Stella McCartney: known for her ethical luxury fashion and cruelty-free no fur or leather. 
  • Vivienne Westwood’s advice for her audience of modern punk collections entitled “Climate Revolution” is to change spending behavior: “Buy less. Choose well. And make it last.”
  • Rag and Bone: redefines casual wear and urban style with sustainable T-shirts and jeans and the ‘Blue-Jeans-Go-Green’ program on a buy-back model. Customers are encouraged to return old jeans and are given a 20% discount for new ones. 
  • Mara Hoffman: focuses on sustainable fabrics and fibers, offers swimwear made from pre- and post consumer waste, the brand advocates for supply chain transparency and encourages consumers to re-evaluate their relationships with their clothing to reduce waste and mindless consumption and ships in plastic-free packaging. 

Recognized for their sustainability efforts, two brands make the list of Fashion’s Hottest Brands in the 2019 3rd Quarter, as reported by Lyst Insights: 

NIKE

“Nike’s revenue rose 7% to almost $11 billion. The brand launched a sneaker subscription service for kids and pledged to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. A rare pair of Nike sneakers sold at Sotheby’s for $437,500.”

PRADA

“Prada’s profits jumped nearly 50% in the first half of 2019. The brand debuted a recycled ‘Re-nylon’ bag, and announced it would be holding another ‘Shaping the Future’ conference on ethics in the workplace.”

Get started with these tips

  • Check labels for material and chose natural healthy fibers: organic cotton, linen, hemp, silk or alternative sustainable fabrics like Tencel, Repreve or Econyle. Avoid synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon as these clothes and fabrics, when washed, shed microplastics that are washed directly into the oceans. 
  • Read our monthly blog to re-evaluate bamboo clothes. Bamboo clothes expose workers to great health risks.
  • Signal your knowledge and interest by asking questions about clothes before buying and demand information about materials, making, processes. Shop attendants will report back to companies that there is consumer pressure to provide this information. 
  • Pick among the many brands that make a difference and allow us to wear our values, from luxury to mainstream and affordable. 

The list of sustainable sources for clothes, accessories, furniture and home décor brands goes on and on and increases continuously.

This challenge addresses SDGs #3 Good Health and Wellbeing, #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, #9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, #12 Responsible Consumption and Production and #13 Climate Action

Yes, you, too, can make a difference in the world, one person at a time.

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