Fashion, an industry that rakes in 3 trillion dollars a year, is one of the most toxic industries—alongside big oil companies—and places a heavy burden on Mother Earth, rapidly depleting natural resources.
Fast Fashion Facts
• The manufacturing of polyester and other synthetic fabrics requires energy-intensive processing, which uses large amounts of crude oil and releases harmful, volatile emissions.
• Cotton crops use a quarter of US pesticides and nearly 3 percent of the world’s annual water supply.
According to the 2015 fast fashion documentary, “True Cost” directed by Andrew Morgan:
• 80 billion pieces of clothing are purchased worldwide yearly, a 400 percent increase from 20 years ago
• Americans throw away more than 82 pounds of clothing and shoes, per person, per year
• In 1960, 95 percent of clothing was made in the United States. Now only 5 percent of clothing is made in the States.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Solid Waste reports:
• Only 10 percent of the clothing donated to thrift stores is sold, the rest end up in landfills
• Women waste 7 times more clothing than men!
So what can we do?
1. Stop creating the demand for fast fashion.
2. Spend wisely by investing in eco-conscious companies that use sustainable materials, such as organic cotton, hemp or bamboo, recycled materials, and treat workers fairly.
3. Buy high quality items that will last a decade, if not a lifetime. Local Goodwill, Salvation Army and other resale shops are great places to find gently used, quality items for great prices.
Patagonia was the first conscious company I fell in love with and have supported since I was a senior in high school. They were the first company to really take eco-fashion seriously—making fleece from recycled plastic bottles and using organic cotton and hemp to create stylish apparel. That was back in the ‘90s, when not too many people knew about eco-fashion. Since then the industry has evolved; now there is simply no excuse not to invest in alternative, eco-friendly brands—for Earth and for all.
3 Conscious Companies
Blue Canoe, a woman-owned and -run San Francisco based clothing company, has been committed to creating quality fashion since 1994. They offer a full line of timeless, super-soft organic cotton and silky bamboo women’s clothing and lingerie. The line is totally comfortable and really gorgeous.
Sole Rebels, the world’s first Fair Trade footwear company, handcrafts recycled car tire soled shoes in Ethiopia. These unisex shoes are fashionable and comfortable, with styles ranging from ballet flats and sandals to boots and sneakers. They also offer leather and vegan options, all in a variety of fun, fresh prints.
Sole Rebels are modestly priced and come with a “happy sole guarantee.” Shipped in a organic cotton sack to reduce waste and ship anywhere in the world, for free. Sole Rebels pays their employees a “proud wage,” that is 4 times the local minimum wage. In turn, the talented artisans crafting the shoe put a lot of love and soul into each pair, you can feel it when you put them on. This is one company you don’t want to overlook with your purchasing power.
Corature makes fashion accessories out of eco-friendly cork left over from the wine stopper industry! They offer smooth, affordable, high-quality phone cases, wallets and clutches in an array of colors. Products are made in Shenzhen, China. “After years of searching we found a factory that could produce to the standards that we need and at a price point which would allow us to bring to market a viable alternative to leather,” says owner Jake Williamson. In the future, Corature hopes to offer luxury items made in the United States, but are committed to keeping their price-point and footprint low as the world adjusts to the reality of eco-alternatives.
All of the companies mentioned are creating quality eco-fashions, and doing great things to help eliminate fast fashion trends, environmentally-harmful practices and poor working conditions.
Learn more about eco-fashion in Runway Fashion: Find Eco-Fashion Essentials for Your Wardrobe and Ethical Alternatives to Designer Handbags.
Shar Veda, Southern Oregon’s Premier Alternative Therapist, offers deep healing through loving touch and compassionate counsel. She is an Ayurveda Lifestyle Counselor & Health Educator, yoga therapist and herbalist. Shar has been blessed to study with leading teachers in Ayurveda, Yoga, and herbalism for 20 years. However, it was her adopted grandma, Doe (English-American and Blackfoot Native), who instilled within her profound appreciation for the supreme power of loving touch, healing arts, and world family. Visit her website for a video, full bio, and photos or find her on Facebook and Instagram!