1. Who Made My Clothes?
Fashion Revolution is a non-profit organization dedicated to achieving greater transparency, sustainability, and ethics in the fashion industry in the hopes of radically changing the way clothes are made. They challenge everyone to ask "who made my clothes" and demand that brands answer.
2. How Are My Clothes Made?
Look inside the garment to find out where and from what your clothes are made. Companies are required to list the fabric composition and the country of origin somewhere on the garment. Natural cotton is better than petroleum-based polyester, and organic cotton is better than conventional cotton, especially GOTS-certified organic cotton, which ensures fair labor practices in addition to sustainable farming and production.
3. Why does this cost what it costs?
Does your lunch cost more than a shirt you're considering? Time to think about how that's possible. If a company has $12 to pay for materials to make it, people to sew it, transportation to ship it, and stores and more people to sell it, not to mention profit to make from it, there's not much to go around. Be aware of what it costs to make something for you and make sure you feel good about what the people who are making it are getting in return.
4. Is this a conscientious company?
Do your research about your favorite brands. Are they clear about their values, design philosophy, and manufacturing practices? Do they share where they make their clothes (not just countries, but factories too!), what they make their clothes from, and why they make their clothes? Clothes are among the most visible manifestations of our values; make sure the clothing companies you support share them.
5. Do I want this or do I need this?
Both are ok, but its important to ask the question and adopt sustainable shopping practices in addition to supporting sustainbly-minded brands. Americans throw away over 68 pounds of clothing every single year, driven by fast fashion and disposable clothing. Clothing should last for years, not days, whether its in your closet or someone else's. Think about the "one in one out" rule - when you buy something new, donate something old through Give Back Box or any other recycling/upcycling method (stay tuned for a future post about different options)!
Thanks to Sophie Benson and The Good Trade for inspiring this post!