It all started about a week ago, when the sustainable brand Reformation made a post on Instagram. This post was in honour of the Black lives matter movement and was made with the aim to promote donations to verified organization.
However this statement seemed a bit bitter after a person, ex-employee of the brand posted the following comment:
‘’Working for Reformation deeply traumatized me. Being overlooked and under valued as a woman of color who worked & managed their flagship store for 3years was the hardest. I cried many times knowing the color of my skin would get me no where in this company. Yael never looked at me. She would walk pass me and never spoke to me. But would tell white associates that they were pretty. I once went to visit the shop after a couple years gone and a new black associate asked me if i honestly thought there was a chance for black people to move up in the company. And i said if you’re asking this 2yrs after I left, than the answer was and will always be no. This story goes deeper and Ive always been afraid to tell it. But no more fear from me.’’
Following this post, other comments from ex-employees came in force to approve her story. She became a real source of inspiration for black employees who were treated bad just for the color of their skin.
Different articles went out accusing this brand of being racism and as a consequence the Reformation management team had to put their Instagram account on private to stop the haters.
Since Saturday 6th June, Diet Prada’s post on Instagram has been traveling all around the platform.
Even though these accusations are serious and we don’t support any racial behavior, Reformation remains a brand who has proven itself in terms of environmental responsibilities. Therefore, our feelings are mixed and we would like to have more information in regards to the topic. Reformation, We are waiting for your answer.
Update: 08:30 CEST Monday, 8th June 2020
Aflalo apologised on Sunday 7th in an Instagram post captioned “I’ve failed,” and announced a diversity and inclusion board, a personal donation of $500,000 and an independent investigation into the company’s workplace culture:
Update: 15:30 CEST Friday, 19th June 2020
Aflalo resigned on Friday 12th of June saying that ‘“Over the past few years it has become clear to me that I am not the right person to lead a business of Reformation’s size and scope. On a personal note, I have long struggled with the public facing nature of my role and with managing our team. It is time for a change.” (BOF)
The good news, however, is that the new chief executive, Hali Borenstein, will include goals on diversity and inclusion in Reformation’s sustainability reports (Sourcing Journal).
Click here to subscribe and keep track about this topic.
Key Points of Carbon Footprint and Sustainable Basics
If you are already part of Renoon, you know by now that the Fashion Industry emits more CO2 than flights and maritime shipping combined (Business Insider).
One thing is sure, we cannot live without our earth. For years now it has been said, seen, and repeated! The planet is dying. We are killing it in many ways. You know the song. The billions of tonnes of CO2 emitted each year are killing us softly.
To live as we currently do today, we would actually need 1.75 earths (Fortune).
The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of the global carbon emissions productions (Forbes).
#Whats does Carbon footprint even mean?
Bare with us just a second with some juicy numbers. Carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases produced by human activities, measured in terms of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted. For example, 4’428km of driving by car is equivalent of 1 tonne of CO2 (Tshared)
Many brands signed the Fashion Pact and promised to reach carbon neutral by 2050 and to use 100% renewable energy throughout their supply chain by 2030 (Le Monde).
How many pieces of clothing have you purchased but never worn? On average, we are not wearing half of our wardrobe (Green Peace).
Why do we at Renoon talk a lot about basics? Because these are the clothes we tend to purchase most often. We all need some fresh pairs of socks every couple months, or a new white T-shirt.
Your impact can be greater if it is focused on items that you will tend to buy several times per year. Therefore, today our focus will be on wardrobe essentials, which are Panties, Socks and of course those white t-shirts we all love. These items are more difficult to rent or to buy secondhand.
What if by switching to sustainable basics you could already have an impact?
PS: Our calculation is made on averages disclaimed by different brands. The aim is not to fill your head with numbers, but to give you some perspective of what your impact could be if you choose to buy sustainable essentials.
Save CO2 emissions by switching to Sustainable Panties
Of course, the most sustainable option is to be naked but we love fashion too much to quit it.
And as panties might not be the item you want to buy secondhand or rent, we have tips for you. How many times do you renew your panties ‘drawer’? Let’s take a look at how this impacts our beloved planet.
#Underwear Carbon Footprint
As you can imagine the carbon footprint of panties is not the most commonly available information out there. Surprisingly, we found a brand who discloses this information. Apparently, our dear underwear if made of common polyamide and cotton emits 0.6kg of CO2 emissions during manufacturing and creates a carbon footprint of around 1kg of CO2 in its lifetime (OVS).
Let’s imagine we buy those 3 packs every 3 months. This would mean that our panties’ carbon footprint is around 12kgs of CO2 annually!
#Sustainable Underwear Carbon Footprint
By switching to materials that emit less CO2 such as Tencel you could actually save 0.4kg of CO2 per sexy thong. In total, switching to underwear made with sustainable materials could save 7.2kg of CO2 emissions per year.
That may not seem like a lot, but combined with a sustainable bra you could in total save double and have a sustainable set (let us know when your next date will be checking how sustainable your lingerie is…)!
Check out Sustainable basics on Renoon to reduce your carbon footprint and create an account to know when new ones are indexed.
Save CO2 emissions by switching to Sustainable Socks
We all have the same problem. Our socks magically disappear. Does the washing machine eat our socks? Are there mini goblins that steal them during the night?
Nobody really knows the truth about where our socks end up – but one thing is sure, we have to buy them pretty often. Just take a minute and try to figure out how many socks you bought last year, Or should we ask ourselves how many we lost?
#Socks Carbon Footprint
The footprint of socks varies widely based on their material and thickness.
Socks made from polyamide, produce 2.1 kg of CO2 emissions during production (OVS). This carbon footprint is not complete as it does not include the emissions related to the use of the product and the end of its lifecycle when we inevitably throw them away (or simply disappear in the case of our socks). On average, half of the carbon footprint is produced once the item reaches our closet. Therefore, one pair of socks made from Polyamide has a carbon footprint equivalent to 4kg of CO2. Just because we all love mathematics, let’s multiply this number by the amount of pairs of socks we bought last year. Based on a survey, on average in Italy, each person purchases 16 pairs fo socks annually. This would be around 64kgs of CO2 emissions only for socks! What if you could reduce it by switching to sustainable socks?
#Sustainable Socks Carbon Footprint
The sneaker brand Allbirds, well known for disclaiming the carbon footprint of each item they propose on their website estimates that the entire carbon footprint of their socks to be between 1.4kg to 1.9kg of CO2, depending on the weight of materials used.
It is half the amount of emissions of basic socks! Why?
Because these sustainable socks are made of Tencel, recycled nylon, and recycled polyester.
In total, you could avoid more than 40kgs of CO2 emissions per year by simply going for socks made of sustainable materials.
The best alternative would be to shop socks from a carbon-neutral brand or find sustainably made items.
Save CO2 emissions by switching to Sustainable T-shirts
By now, we hope you have that white T-shirt that goes with everything in your closet.
It might be your favorite piece from your wardrobe, and you may have several back-ups to wear between washes.
How many white t-shirts do you currently have? Never, enough right?
Let’s just have a look together at its carbon footprint and how much could we save by switching to sustainable options.
#T-shirt Carbon Footprint
The lifecycle footprint of a t-shirt includes all the CO2 emissions from the cultivation of the raw materials to the times you will wash it.
Careful though! If your t-shirt contains polyester it could emit up to 5.5.kg of carbon dioxide instead of 2.35kg, if made from cotton! Just to give you a quick and beautiful image of this material. Polyester requires 70 million barrels of oil every year to be produced (BBC).
Choose t-shirts made with organic cotton or Tencel.
#Sustainable T-shirt Carbon Footprint
Based on a Tshared study, Your sustainable t-shirt would emit 2,35 kg of CO2 emissions over its entire lifetime.
Half of it is emitted while you use it. 1,22kg will be emitted during washing, drying, ironing and once we through the item away. This can be reduced easily. Tumble dry worst offender in terms of CO2 emissions once the item reaches your home. To reduce your at home carbon footprint, the first step would be to wash your t-shirt less often and to make sure the entire washing machine is full. The second step would actually be to skip the drying and ironing all together.
Let’s imagine we are really responsible with the item once it gets home and the carbon footprint is only 2kg of CO2 emissions. What will be your t-shirt’s carbon footprint in a year?
For only 5 cotton and well-treated t-shirt purchases per year, you could reduce this item’s carbon footprint from 27.5kg of CO2 equivalents (CO2e) to 10kg of CO2e. More than half!
How much CO2 can you save by switching to sustainable basics?
To conclude by switching to sustainable panties, socks and t-shirts you could reduce your carbon footprint to 64kg of CO2, down from 128kg.
7 kg of CO2e by switching to sustainable panties (12 per year)
40 kg of CO2e by switching to sustainable socks ( 16 pairs per year)
17 kg of CO2e by switching to sustainable t-shirt ( 5 per year)
Not enough for you? Do you want to have zero emissions?
If this is important to you make sure you select that “Carbon Neutral” preference when you:
Small changes in our habits can become significant over time. What better occasion than the 5th of June, known as well as the World Environment Day, to get new habits and to switch to sustainable basics?
Want to shop with your values and sustainably? We have an app to help you with that!
Renoon combines your love for fashion and the planet with an app that finds options that best fit your style and contribute to the positive changes you want to see in the world.
Renoon empowers you to find products and shop consciously
From ethical shopping to latest innovations, select products from hundreds of brands and filters made with the most innovative materials and that suits your values. Renoon is constantly expanding products, collections and materials. Staying on top of what is new, whenever you really need something.
Personalize your experience by following bands and materials; track items by adding them to favourites.
Over time, fashion shows have transcended the limitations of seasonal practicality. It is not uncommon to see a sleeveless dress in a winter collection. Winter is not at the same time all around the world, so we might as well empathize, right? Not so fast.
With big names like Gucci announcing that fashion shows will never be the same, what’s happening right now? What is the purpose of a fashion calendar?
Now, this is a must-read regardless whether you are “the-one-dying-to-be-watching-a-fashion-show” or not. This is about the future of something we love.
COVID19 is pushing your favorite brands to change and rethink their fashion collections.
Is it the end of busy catwalks?
Is Season-less the actual non-trend trendsetting a new era?
Fashion Seasons are following the weather, no? No.
Fashion relies on so many seasons and they can be confusing as their timelines do not correlate with the weather. One thing is sure, 4 seasons are not enough anymore. In the Fashion Industry, there are usually 2 to 8 fashion seasons. Let’s have a closer look at the different Fashion shows usually on the agenda.
Womenswear shows are the most famous events that usually last over a month. It starts in New York and then goes to London, Milan and Paris. This event happens twice a year as there is the Fall/Winter in February and Spring/Summer collections in September. How weird is it to see crop tops before the winter?
These shows, such as the womenswear, happen twice per year for the collections Fall/Winter in December or January and Spring/Summer in June. These collections aim to show what will be the “men-trend” one year in advance. It usually happens close to another fashion event such as the Haute Couture in order to maximize attendance.
(Some brands such as Gucci or Burberry, do actually combine womenswear and menswear as clothes are supposed to be gender-neutral)
Certainly, everyone’s favorite! Clothes from Haute Couture shows are made by hand, using the most prestigious craftsmanship and savoir-faire of the fashion industry. This event happens biannually in Paris as there are two collections, the Fall/Winter in July and Spring/Summer in January. Only a few luxury brands, such as Chanel, Dior and Valentino participate in this show. The collection featured made-to-order items. Fun fact? No Haute Couture item is sold twice in a country in order to maintain prestige (and maybe to avoid two celebrities wearing the same outfit at a gala)
#Resort and Pre-fall
Also well known are the Cruise and the Fall collections, not every brand decides to exhibit these two collections through a fashion show. It was initiated at the beginning to promote collections for wealthy families who could go to exotic destinations during winter. As a consequence, these collections usually overlap the other collections. There are no strict locations or dates to respect for these two.
For example, Pre-Fall is shown in December by some brands and in January for others and locations varies a lot from the South of Italy to France and the USA.
These collections are the most important ones and are also the ones with longer shelf lives.
“It’s about creating desirable pieces that can take you from October through early spring”
Derek Lam, Fashion Designer
Are traditional Fashion Shows collections sustainable?
Fashion shows are the moment for a creative director to express themselves through installations, clothes and guests. Most of the time these shows have a story to tell or a message to share. Without a doubt, they can be considered works of art.
However, the fact that brands must create so many new collections that fit into these tight timelines has serious implications for the environment and the way that we consume. Did you count them? Brands could have up to 8 fashion shows per year! Could this ever be sustainable?
Are fashion shows and seasons really necessary?
Fashion Brands do shows in order to build anticipation and gauge interest for what will be available in their stores. Of course, the pieces are not created yet. What you see on stage are prototypes.
According to what seems to be appreciated the most, they will decide on quantities and launch the production. This means they have less than 6 months to produce everything and to put it in the store. It can be stressful and most of the time, the environment or social wellbeing are overlooked in the rush to meet strict deadlines.
Have you ever noticed Fast Fashion Brands have Trendy clothes at a lower cost?
Well, this brings us to the second issue of fashion shows. By showing the collections in advance, fast fashion brands can cut their designer cost and copy luxurious brands collections. In order to make them cheap and in time, we will let you imagine how much sustainability is considered. Fast fashion brands are able to present new collections every two weeks. For most of us, buying in fast fashion stores was the only affordable way (until new easy options like rentals become available) to follow the trends of big brands. As a result, 80 billion articles of clothing are purchased each year (CNN). Aren’t you tired of this system and want to know how to break up with fast fashion?
#Tons of Travel
From New York to London, to Milan and last but not least to Paris.
People (mainly celebrities and journalists) come from all over the world to participate in-person to these Fashion Shows. Can you just imagine the amount of CO2 emissions coming from flights?
A study from Zero to Market estimated the total amount of CO2 emissions due to travel for fashion shows at 241,000 tonnes! Only for the Paris fashion week approximately 70,000 buyers and designers fly to the capital.
#High amount of Waste
Each thing that you see on set, from the chairs to the curtains and the lights are all brought to the country of the show is happening and then used only once. As the cost to bring them back would be higher to destroy them. Do you know where all these materials end up? The same place our clothes go when we through them away.
Is there the need to cancel Fashions Shows to make them sustainable?
Due to COVID Fashion shows planned between May to September are highly impacted. Some have been postponed, come cancelled and others held digitally. Is now the time to start doing things differently? Last year the trend was to make Fashion shows carbon neutral. Is season-less the new sustainable trend? Is the Fashion calendar becoming obsolete? What does it mean for the fashionistas out there following trends?
Let’s see different ways brands are managing the season-less due to COVID19.
It all happened during the lockdown. While some brands are still thinking on how to manage September fashion week, other brands, such as Saint Laurent made a public statement they will not hold a show in September and will from now on make their own agenda (BBC). Will this last Post Covid?
It all happened during the lockdown. While some brands are still thinking on how to manage September fashion week, other brands, such as Saint Laurent made a public statement they will not hold a show in September and will from now on make their own agenda (BBC). Will this last Post Covid?
#Fashion From Home
During Covid19, the fashion industry had to find a way to keep working. Since the fashion shows were not allowed anymore, brands had to think differently in order to present their collections. It actually leads the industry in a lot of creativity such as shootings through facetime like the one we all loved of Bella Hadid for Jacquemus. How cool is it to see new collections in celebrities homes?
Who said we needed to travel to see new collections each season?
Digital is always stronger in fashion and it would be no surprise that digital runways and showrooms will certainly play a larger role in the near future (BOF).
Recently, the photographer Kara Chung and the stylist Marc Goehring organised for the first time ever a Fashion Show on Animal Crossing including looks from Valentino, Louis Vuitton and Loewe (Vogue).
Will Fashion collections be presented digitally in the future? It would solve many environmental issues that the traditional shows currently have.
In other words this would mean a collection without any seasonal changes. For a long time now, fashion seasons have been disconnected to actual seasons.
#No-season = follow your own
Fashion is something we can’t be without. But, what we are seeing even now with Covid-19 is its true essence: creativity. How did people get so creative? The virus has forced them to adapt. Can brands extend this same creativity to their efforts in sustainability?
Why can’t we wear what we like? Are Leggings old fashioned? Yes. But there are still the most comfortable pants ever.
Sustainable brands often go for timeless fabrics and items in order to ensure we wear them longer such as the core collection of Filippa K, designed to be timeless.
Colours are one of the most important elements of fashion and social recognition.
In the Middle Ages, colours were often synonym of social status. Blue and Purple often symbolized royalty and wealth, as they were some of the rarest colours: only a few plants, fruits and veggies can actually get these colours.
Even today colours are the first thing you see or filter for when choosing fashion items. They come way before materials, sometimes size or even price.
We all have that colour we feel so comfortable wearing. Which one is yours? Is it a toxic one?
Did you know that the dying process requires a lot of water? Each tone of fabric needs 200 tons of water (Fashion Revolution).
To make colours that are resistant to water, shiny and durable in time, many chemicals are used and often released into freshwater without any prevention.
Sadly, Fashion dyes are the second most polluter of freshwater: they contaminate 20000 tons of water each year (Advanced Science News). Is it possible to have less impact by just looking at the colour of an item?
To answer that question let’s see first the types of dyes available out there.
Image Credit from left to right: Mean Girl; Green Peace (hazardous chemicals discharged into the Cihaur River, a tributary of the Citarum River)
What are Synthetic Dyes?
The least sustainable dyes are certainly the synthetic ones.
The most famous of them are the azo dyes.
Even if this kind of dye allows a stronger colour, this chemical is toxic as it contains aromatic amines.
Does your Wednesday Pink outfit contain these toxic chemicals?Maybe.
The most toxic pigments used are, the Blue made with Cobalt or the Yellow made with Zinc. They are linked to high probability of containing carcinogens.
These substances, and many other azo dyes, are harmful to your health and the environment.
Could you recognize them just by looking at an outfit?
Probably not. There are so many colours variations and chemicals out there that the only way to know if it is a toxic one would be for the brand to release more information about the chemical content.
Hopefully, legislation such as the REACH in Europe and the Proposition 65 in the US limit the amount of toxic chemicals allowed on materials, but it does not guarantee the manufacturing process especially if it happens out of these geographic areas.
Sadly, Greenpeace found traces of them in an area where big brands’ manufacture happened. Water in China was contaminated so much that it could cause cancer (Greenpeace).
One thing is sure! An alternative to the current method is necessary.
To push for a change, the Detox Campaign from Green peace has made a huge pressure on brands to improve the traceability of the chemicals used during the manufacturing process.
Many brands have since been collaborating with Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Foundation (ZDHC) in order to improve its chemicals choice and to become less toxic (Detoxing The Fashion Industry)
Could natural dyes be the solution?
What are Natural Dyes?
Back to the basis.
Beetroot for purple, green from spinach, yellow from turmeric, pomegranate for black.
This is something we ‘’as humans’’ were doing well and kind of lost over time.
Natural pigments are – as the name claims – made from natural sources. Plants, Fruits, Veggies or seeds are common sources of natural dyes. Completely Toxic-free, this solution is really attractive. The most famous and the oldest used natural pigments are Indigo, used as blue and Logwood, used as purple.
However difficult to use them for a large production.
On an industrial scale, the production of natural pigments could have terrible consequences on the environment as the land required and maybe the chemicals to grow the crops could be a consequence. Natural dyes are meant for small productions. It would require too much land treatment to go mass.
#Is it possible to recognize natural dyes at first sight?
The naturally made colours are less strong than artificial ones and they shade faster. Washing it or letting it too much under the sun could accelerate the fading.
To improve longevity or the contrast of the naturally made colour some brands still use some chemicals or natural salts to fix it better into the textile. Substances such as Chrome, Tin, copper sulphate are the most commonly used chemical in order to achieve strong contrasting colours with natural dyes.
Isn’t it a contradiction? Are natural dyes therefore still considered a solution?
Natural ways to keep the colour and to wash those fragile pieces are possible. Washing it with salt or vinegar is a natural solution.
Which colours are the most sustainable then?
Is it possible to recognize a sustainable item just by its colour?
Not really… Green is not a colour.
Please stop with the idea that sustainable colours have to be neutral.
Sustainable colours are most of the time in neutral tones such as white, beige or light pink not because the dyes are safer but simply because neutral tones will last longer and will remain timeless.
An item paint with natural pigment will be easy to recognize not by its colour but by its colour ‘’irregularity’’ which actually make each piece unique.
The shades could vary through the production and through time. Honestly, this is certainly the beauty of natural dyes. Too sad fast fashion does not agree with this characteristic.
You want to know which colours are the most sustainable?
It is pretty rare but it does exist. Items that actually keep the colour of its materials au naturel. The colours of these pieces are usually white, beige or light pink. Less is more right?
As you will wear them longer and will never go out of fashion. Don’t forget slow fashion is certainly one of the best solutions to make fashion sustainable.
Natural dyes are not always the most sustainable colours if fixed with other toxic chemicals. One way to ensure no toxic substance touches your precious skin is to go for chemical certified items. The most famous one today is the Oeko-Tex standard. Any item certified by Oeko-Tex has been verified not to use toxic chemicals.
It is always more chemically intensive to dye plastic. Have you ever tried to draw on a plastic element? Way more difficult than to draw on paper right? The same is for clothes, as it is easier to dye on natural elements such as cotton, hemp or linen, less toxic chemicals will be required.
It’s that time of year again. As you pull out your summer clothes and start to organize your closet, you may have accumulated a large “donate pile”.
While you may have removed the ghosts of fashion trends past that no longer fit with your style or “spark joy” if you follow the Marie Condo method – something lingers. Glancing at those bags of clothing, it’s hard to ignore the feeling of guilt – the energy that was used to create the garments, the money that you spent on them, and the knowledge that they will eventually end up in a landfill. Some of the items might still have the tags on them.
Looking at this manifestation of overconsumption, I bet you’re wondering “if I create this much clothing waste as an individual, how much is created globally?” An average American consumer throws away a whopping 75 pounds (34 kilograms) of clothing per year (world wear project). Globally, we produce 13 million tons of textile waste each year 95% of which could be reused or recycled.
While donating clothes may make you feel like you’re contributing to something positive, the unfortunate reality is that most clothing doesn’t end up in the arms of someone who will love it as much as you once did.
While the best clothes are resold at thrift stores, the vast majority of items are wrapped into enormous plastic bundles and shipped to developing countries. Pakistan is the top importer of used clothing, with 11 percent of the market, followed by Malaysia, with 7.1 percent, according to M.I.T.’s Observatory of Economic Complexity.
So what’s the problem with shipping unwanted clothing to developing countries?
Foreign clothing imports can have detrimental consequences for emerging economies by creating an oversupply. When there is an oversupply of clothing, prices and demand are driven down, inhibiting the development of local textile sectors. This problem has become so significant that three East African countries have fought back and initiated a ban on secondhand clothing (New York Times). This move has created tension with the U.S., as these East African markets are worth over $43 million and provide 40,000 American jobs, including sorting and packing clothes. Instead of being dumped in East Africa, the clothing now gets shipped to a U.S. landfill.
So how can this all be avoided?
You can keep your clothes for longer and consume less. When shopping for new clothing, here are some important questions to ask yourself to ensure that your new item will not end up in a landfill next summer.
4 Questions to ask yourself to find garments that last:
1. Will I wear it again?
When deciding on a new shirt or pair of shorts ask yourself if you can see yourself wearing a year from now. Does it fit well? Does it match with your other clothes?
One unfortunate trend of the digital age is that many people feel pressure not to repeat outfits in their Instagram posts. In a recent Barclay survey, 9 percent of shoppers in Britain admitted to buying clothes online for the sole purpose of posting Instagram. After the photos, they simply return it.
There is no reason to be ashamed of re-wearing your clothing. Take a page out of Kate Middleton’s book and repeat your outfits!
2. Does it feel good to the touch?
Let’s face it: if a piece of clothing isn’t comfortable, you won’t wear it. If quarantine has taught us anything about the fashion industry, it’s that in times of crisis, people prefer comfortable clothing.
One of the few apparel companies that has been thriving during COVID-19, at least online, is Lululemon, thanks to its wide array of hoodies and leggings that keep you comfortable in your home office (New York Times).
3. What is it made of?
For professional suits and dresses, a lining can greatly extend the life of your item. For everyday work clothes, Tencel is an excellent option. Made from dissolved wood pulp, Tencel is strong, durable and comfortable. Luckily, Renoon has a wide selection of Tencel products for you to get started.
For sweaters, pilling is the main issue as nobody wants to find themselves covered in those unsightly balls of fuzz. Synthetic fibers and blends have a tendency to pill more than natural fibers such as cotton or wool.
For T-Shirts, look for organic cotton. Organic cotton is typically more durable than conventional because it is less processed and not treated with harsh chemicals (like chlorine bleach and formaldehyde) that can wear down fibers. Once again, Renoon has you covered with our wide selection of organic cotton clothing.
The bottom line: When it comes to materials that last, look out for linings, Tencel, and high-quality organic cotton.
4. Can I maintain it?
Buying high-quality clothing is the first step to ensure the longevity of your wardrobe, but like most good things in life, you need to treat them well.
For example, bras tend to last longer when you hand wash them or use a lingerie bag on a delicate cycle.
Elastic based items such as underwear, workout gear, and swimwear should never go on the dryer as the heat destroys the elastic. This rule extends to jeans and T-shirts as well.
The bottom line: To make your clothes last, wash them in cold water and hang to dry.
Beyond washing, you need to learn to replace buttons and stitch holes or find a trustworthy tailor who can do it for you.
You can extend this level of care to your shoes by spraying them with a protective spray, which can prolong the life of leather and suede when exposed to the elements. If your favorite pair of booties start to fall apart, you can have them re-heeled at your local cobbler.
While overproduction and planned obsolescence in the clothing industry is a major systemic problem to tackle, the best way to start is with your own closet. But buying fewer “forever” items that you intend to wear well into the foreseeable future, you not only reduce your impact but signal to the industry where your values lie.
By next year, you may find that there is no need to clean out your closet at all.
When you were a child, did you ever have nightmares about monsters hiding in your closet?
What if they have been in there all this time but you just couldn’t recognize them?
Today we bring your attention to the real monsters hidden in your closet: the unsustainable pieces of your wardrobe. Lucky for you, there are many ways to replace them and reduce your environmental footprint.
The monsters hiding in your closet
Whether or not it will be possible to go to the beach this summer remains uncertain, but worst-case scenario, our Instagram feeds will be full of balcony sun tanning pics.
Even though your bathing suits hold precious memories of the ocean, they could be toxic for you and the environment. Bathing suits are designed to endure harsh conditions, whether it be sand & salt water or the chlorine in your pool. This usually means that there are a lot of chemicals involved.
How is it possible for an item that makes us so happy to be terrible for us? What makes a bathing suit a “monster” when it comes to the environment?
Most of the time your swimsuits will be made of Nylon, Spandex, Lycra, and Polyester. These synthetic fabrics are made from oil. They are also very cheap, so brands tend to use them a lot. In fact, an estimated 65 million tons of these plastic-based materials are generated every year. (Fast Company).
As with any plastic material, there is the issue of microplastic pollution. Even though we can’t see them, microplastics are released into the environment each time you wash plastic-based garments (Fashionista). To create a sustainable swimsuit is a challenging feat, as it needs to be both stylish and durable. The more common alternatives are the ones made from recycled materials or simply made from the regenerated nylon from plastic bottles called ECONYL. However, keep in mind that it is still made from plastic. Last year, the sustainable brand Reformation, launched a swimwear collection made from Econyl. Even though they were excited about this recycled collection they titled the release campaign “This swimsuit is not sustainable enough”, a nod to the fact that this solution still involves plastic and is far from perfect (Fashionista).
Did you know that the dyes used in our swimwear are linked to cancer?
As you can imagine, in order for your beloved bikini to keep its neon colour when exposed to saltwater and sand, it has been dyed with strong and resistant chemicals. Common dyes include VOCS, Lead, Chromium VI, all of which are highly toxic and could cause damage in the reproductive system as well as cancer. To prevent chlorine from turning your bathing suit yellow, waterproofing chemicals are necessary. The chemicals used for water resistance are known as called PFCs, which have also been linked to cancer and are highly toxic in the environment (Goop).
You can always count on your favourite jeans to give your legs the perfect shape. However, don’t count on them to be good for the environment. Sorry to disappoint you but your beloved pair of jeans might have huge consequences for the environment. You may be asking yourself how can I find sustainable jeans? And don’t worry, there are many options but first, let’s explore what makes this item one of the monsters in our closet.
Look at your jeans. How many litres of water do you think were required to produce them?
Its hard to believe, but one kilogram of cotton – equivalent to the weight of a shirt and pair of jeans – can take as much as 10,000–20,000 to produce (The Guardian). After the cotton is grown, it will need to be bleached, which requires more water to wash it out. Fortunately, innovation is on our side and we now have materials like Organic Cotton, which use much less water.
The famous blue colour of our jeans is not as nice on the environment as it is to look at.
Sadly this famous dye has been known to pollute and contaminate entire rivers, especially in Asia.
There is a joke in China that says you can predict the ‘’it’’ colors of a fashion season by looking at the color of the Pearl River at Xintang, the blue jeans capital of the world. Do you want to find jeans that do not contaminate freshwater? Go for Indigo jeans.
Do you like jeans that look vintage but are actually new? Well in order to make them look old, denim is actually ‘’sandblasted’’. There are different ways to do it. The cheapest, most common methods scraping the surface of the denim with an abrasive material. This process is toxic for the manufacturers, as it releases silica dust into the air. Silica is linked to many respiratory health issues (River Blue). But don’t be discouraged, there are many alternative solutions to avoid sandblasting. The first is to actually buy jeans that are not damaged or go for jeans that have this worn-out look made from clean laser technologies. Have a look at Closed jeans!
The monsters hiding in your closet
Who could have guessed that an item such as shoes, who’s primary purpose is to make us exercise are actually bad for our health? Shoes might be the most complex item in our closet as they contain many different materials and chemicals. Shoes are considered as one of the most terrible monsters in your closet for the following reasons.
You might already know that leather is often criticised from an ethical perspective. Some brands such as Stella McCartney have all of their products animal-free. However, leather also criticised for its environmental impact. An animal skin without any treatment would smell bad, dry quickly, and decompose in a short period of time. As you can imagine, there are a whole host of chemicals that go into making the leather suitable for purses and accessories.
On the bright side, there are many businesses using alternative methods of skin tanning such as vegetable ones that do not include any Chrome VI. If you want your leather to have less of an impact on the environment, you might want to go for less toxic leather or simply, chose vegan leather.
Rubber is a must-have, especially right now with the trend of “dad-shoes”. But what is rubber? Few people actually know that rubber is a natural liquid called latex made from plants. Being a high demand material, many forests have been destroyed to make way for rubber plantations. Natural latex is linked sadly to deforestation by Greenpeace and WWF (BBC). In order to respond to the high volume of requests and not be linked to deforestation, rubber is made artificially with a toxic material called PVC. This material has been boycotted by many famous brands as its production has had health consequences for workers.
To sum it up: The best option is natural rubber, but make sure it comes from a controlled and secured plantation! Check out Veja’s shoes, which have a rubber-sole that comes from responsible forests in the amazon.
The fact that shoes combine so many different parts make them difficult to recycle. Some shoes could last up to 1000 years in landfill (The Guardian).
It is estimated that worldwide, 20 billion pairs of shoes are made each year (The Shoe Industry). We will let you imagine how much landfill waste that generates.
You might wonder how come some shoes especially the one you use for training, don’t smell bad while others do?
Well, of course, it can depend on our hygiene, but it could as well depends on the amount of anti-mold chemicals that the manufacturer has put inside of your shoes. In order to last longer, shoes need protection from moisture, mold and fungus. However, the chemicals used are as you can imagine quite toxic. One of them, called Dimethyl Fumarate (DMF) used to prevent the mold, was banned only 10 years ago.
Don’t pop the champagne just yet. The chemicals used to replace it are still quite bad for our health and could be particularly dangerous for vulnerable people, especially children.
Inspired by the romance of travel and the irresistible idea of a life lived away from the mainland and mainstream, Holiday Romance is an environmentally conscious swimwear label designed for the faultless female form and founded on principles of sustainability.
SEAY designs, produces and distributes collections of sustainable beachwear using certified materials, a short supply chain and a marketing plan that encourages environmental awareness of the consumers by aiming for a circular economic system closed through the project called RE3.
So, is Econyl swimwear truly the most sustainable option?
Your bikini can now be made sustainably with recycled material, so what are we missing here?
Microplastics. These tiny pieces of plastic are released in the environment when we put our swimwear through the wash. These microscopic fibers cannot be seen with the naked eye, but end up in the ocean, where they can be swallowed by sea animals, and make their way through the food chain.
The good news is that microplastic pollution from your washing machine can be reduced by using filters like GUPPYFRIEND . You can also reduce your impact by washing in bigger loads and avoiding the tumble dryer whenever possible.
The verdict: While there isn’t currently a biodegradable material with the durability and qualities necessary for a swimsuit, recycled swimwear is the next best alternative. So, even if it’s not 100% sustainable, Eoonyl is a step in the right direction.
In wealthy cities, finding clothing is never a challenge. Basic items such as t-shirts and jeans can be found at any street corner, and are often taken for granted. However, there are many people who put their lives on the line each day in order to create the abundance of clothing that is enjoyed in the global North.
Today, May 9th, in honour of the World Fair Trade Day, we would like to draw your attention to the possibility of a better world for the workers behind our clothes.
Did you know there are workers that risk their lives each day by entering the factories in which they work?
Did you know that many garment workers still receive salaries that are far below national living wages?
Doesn’t everyone deserve decent wages and working conditions?
The recent scandals of unpaid workers have made it clear. Lives of garment workers are constantly at risk. Now more than ever, fair trade is needed!
Fair trade businesses are committed to honouring worker’s rights, prioritizing the wellbeing of artisans, farmers and manufacturers in their supply chain. It is a business model based on human and environmental well-being (Home of Fair Trade Enterprises).
What is fair trade in the context of fashion?
If a garment is Fair Trade Certified, it means that the employees & producers involved in the supply chain received a fair price for the product or their work.
Unfortunately, only a small percentage of fashion brands operate in accordance with fair trade principles.
Why is fair trade not the norm?
The reality is that paying people fairly costs more than we are used to paying. This causes consumers to question why fair trade products are so expensive when they should be asking how non-fair trade certified products are so cheap. Many people avoid asking this question because they know they will not like the answers that they find.
What do fair trade companies do differently?
#Ensure Safe working conditions
Did you know that even today, there are workers that risk their lives by producing clothes?
Take the Rana Plaza collapse, where garment workers were working in a building that had floors illegally constructed. The workers noticed the building was going to collapse but were still forced to work inside. If this business has been fairtrade, 1,134 lives could have been saved (The Guardian).
A fair trade business model makes sure that working conditions comply with local safety standards.
Another point that fair trade businesses make sure to cover is to distribute fair wages. What do fair wages mean? Well, they are usually based on local living wages. The idea of fair wages is to make sure that workers receive at least a salary that will allow them to afford basic necessities. Shouldn’t this be a legal requirement? It sounds crazy but there are many garment workers that are paid less than living wages and need to work overtime in order to cover their basic expenses.
Some ethical brands such as ArmedAngels supported their supply chain workers during the pandemic by committing to keep paying them despite cancelled orders. However, this is not the case for most garment workers. Among those who lost their jobs, is 21-year-old student Waleed Ahmed Farooqui. Farooqui relied on the earnings from his job in the garment industry to pay his university tuition and support his family of seven since his father, a driver, is out of work.
“What else can we do? If this lockdown continues and I can’t get another job, I will have to go out and beg on the streets,” he said. (Bloomberg).
Some fair trade business models create opportunities for marginalized people and communities. They help to boost economic opportunity in areas that need it most.
Moreover, some businesses will re-invest a part of their profits to social projects. Did you know that 92% of Fair Trade enterprises reinvest all of their profit to advance their social goals? (WFTO)
How can you tell if your clothes are fair trade?
It is not easy to tell whether your clothes have been made ethically or not. Unlike the material composition, it is not something that is mentioned on the scratchy label inside of your T-shirt.
However here are 3 possible ways to discover if your clothes are fair trade.
#Familiarize yourself with fair trade labels
If you are lucky, the symbol of an ethical organization or simply the words ‘’Fair Trade’’ could be displayed on the label or on the description tag. Don’t be fooled by Greenwashing – it is important to recognize the certifications that are credible and well-known. The most famous fair trade certifications are:
If you find a logo that you have never seen or a vague statement about sustainability, a quick google search can ensure it’s not a marketing trap.
For example, ArmedAngels is a member of the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) which means they have a strict code of conduct for suppliers in order to ensure that workers conditions are up to code. They audit their suppliers and train the workers with the Fair Wear Foundations in order to ensure that they know their rights.
Go for brands that are certified by an official organization. You can go on the fairtrade certification website in order to see which brand is certified from them. For example, if you go on the official website of Fair Trade , You will see that fashion brand People Tree has been approved.
Another official website you dig into is the World Fair Trade Organization. A brand that you can find on the website and on Renoon is Mayamiko. This brand goes as far as letting the consumer know who made each product.
Certifications and labels may be too costly for start-ups and small businesses. Just because they don’t have the certification doesn’t that they are not ensuring fair working conditions for their workers. There are brands that prefer to give the money that could have been spent on certifications back to their workers. This information can usually be found on a brand’s website.
A great example is Veja, a brand that pays their farmers and manufacturers 30%-100% more than local market rates. They don’t spend money advertising this information, opting instead to dedicate it directly to people in need.
How can you celebrate Fair Trade Day?
Since its creation in 2004 by the World Fair Trade Organization, Fairtrade day has never been more important. Don’t you want to make sure the workers behind your clothes are safe during the pandemic?
Here are ideas on what you could do today (and every other day of the year) to create a more ethical world.
#Spread the word
Luckily, nowadays we don’t need to take to the streets to spread awareness, as this would be difficult during COVID-19.
However, in your hand, you have a huge platform to create awareness. It is your smartphone.
And as you know, “with great power comes great responsibility’’. Right, uncle Ben?
Just share the news! It is possible to look stylish while ensuring an ethical way of living for others. You could have more impact than you think.
#Buy Fair Trade
Many are committing to a more sustainable approach to fashion for the post-pandemic period. What if, from now on, you could buy only sustainable clothing? There are many different ways that an item can be sustainable, and fair trade is definitely one of them. Why not commit to buying only ethical clothes?
Just imagine. You will be able to answer all those “I love your dress’’ comments with a cool, ‘’Thanks, it’s fair trade’’.
A fairly paid worker often allows for the support of an entire family. When families are able to thrive, entire communities are lifted out of poverty. By buying fair trade and spreading the word to make fair trade the norm, you can actually help break the cycle of global poverty and create a better world.
Finding sustainable clothes might seem time-consuming. But hey! That’s why we are here! Renoon curates a wide selection of sustainable items that you can trust.
Sustainable Fashion is important to you, but how can you tell what is truly sustainable?
There are so many certifications out there, how can you know which ones to believe or which ones are greenwashing you?
You have the same mixed feelings every time you go grocery shopping.
Where is your chicken from? Are your fruits organic? Are they certified Fairtrade? Is this chocolate vegan? Does this green color packaging indicate that it is more sustainable than the red one?
It is not about whether to purchase sustainably, rather how you can ensure that your purchases are sustainable. An eco-friendly piece of clothing could be considered ‘’Green’’ for different reasons.
’’When we talk about sustainability, we must also include all perspectives, and it is in fact a Culture, with a capital C”
Céline Semaan, founder of Slow Fashion
Is shopping for groceries any different than shopping for clothing?
When you set out to make the most delicious cake ever, the first step is always choosing the best ingredients. You will go to the supermarket and look for the highest quality ingredients.
If you’re vegan you might go for a substitute. If you have intolerances you will look for lactose or gluten-free ingredients.
You may seek out items from farmers who prioritize animal welfare, looking for labels like free-range and organic.
If you want to add some tasty fruits to your cake you might look for the origins of your berries and a Fair Trade sticker for your banana.
Let’s face it! When we shop for groceries, the first thing we do is check the labels to learn more about how the item was grown, the origin, the price, and of course the possibility of a cool certification logo. Doesn’t it make you happy when you see the sign “Vegan’’ even if you are not vegan?
Why should shopping for clothes be any different?
Well, just like food, some textiles are made from animals and plants.
There are many sustainable options out there, how can you know what is real?
Well, it depends on which values are most sacred to you. Animal lovers might choose animal welfare over the environment. Of course, many values are important but it is not always possible to have an item that meets all sustainability criteria.
Nowadays certifications are mainly divided into three categories.
#Human Rights and Worker Wellbeing
Do you always make sure your banana has the Fair Trade certified sticker on it?
The B Corporationcertification is also a reputable standard that ensures a company takes responsibility for its supply chain workers. Certified B corporations must adhere to stringent environmental and social standards. Certified B corps such as Veja are completely transparent with regards to where their shoes were manufactured and by whom. They even go as far as sharing the origin of their raw materials. This radical transparency coupled with the B Corp certification ensures the final product is truly sustainable (Fortune). Is the B Corporation Certification the way of the future? Probably.
Are you a bio-maniac when purchasing your veggies?
You might want to go for certification that ensures your clothes will not pollute the environment or have any toxic effects on your skin. One certification that restricts the use of toxic chemicals is called Oeko-Tex. Certifications that ensure organic materials including the Organic Content Standard & Global Textile Standards are for you!
Do you always make sure that none of your food contains animal ingredients?
You can shop easy with Peta Approved fashion brands! Even if the item you want is made of natural textiles such as cotton, you never know which chemicals or treatments have been used on it. If animal welfare is an important value for you, make sure Peta has approved the brand you are looking at.
Did you know Reformation is completely vegan and approved by Peta? Shop vegan Reformation clothes on Renoon!
What should you beware of?
Sadly ethical claims are not always supported by evidence. Sustainability has become a competitive advantage over the last couple of years and brands are using it to sell more. However, now that you will know the tricks, you will not fall into the traps.
We all have read somewhere labels on clothes that said ‘’sustainably made’’. I will not name brands, but you probably know who I am talking about.
Those “sustainably made” labels without any certifications, without any validation from a third party, are not necessarily true.
The buzzwords ”sustainable”, ”conscious”, ”green”, ”ethical” mean everything and nothing at the same time. It is always important to know how or why an eco-friendly item is considered sustainable.
Greenwashing is when a company or organization spends more time and money on marketing themselves as environmentally friendly, rather than actually being eco-friendly. One of the most basic examples in fashion would be a t-shirt that claims to be made with sustainable materials, but in reality, it is composed of less than 5% natural materials (The Guardian).
When in doubt, stick to labels that are supported by international standards such as the GOTS or Fair Trade certification.
It is always best practice to trust only certifications given by a third party, to ensure impartial and accurate accreditation. You can even check brands yourself by searching for them on official certification websites.
Did you see which brand was the most transparent this year based on the Transparency Index released from Fashion Revolution?
You might have come to the conclusion that transparency isn’t enough to be considered sustainable. Well, you’re right.
It is not because someone is ”honest” about what they are doing does not always mean that they are doing things right. The location of a factory doesn’t always correlate with the workers’ wellbeing or their wages (The New York Times).
Transparency is a major step in the right direction, but it is also important to check for sustainable certifications to ensure true and impartial sustainability.
Looking for a transparent and well-certified brand to shop?