There are times that we want to change our consuming behaviour and follow a different pattern, a pattern that will give us pleasure of the new purchase but subconsciously we want this product to be a product that harm our environment very little (if not at all).
The problem we face when we reach that moment, is the starting point of our new adventure based on informed decisions. The information out there is always too much and always so controversial that is difficult to filter useful information. In this article, we will talk about what information we should be looking for in the clothing we want to purchase. What criteria should be met before you buy that gorgeous bikini you just found?
Starting with questioning yourself what is more important to you. Is it who made your “new to be” bikini? What is it made from? What is the carbon footprint it left on our planet before reaching your hands? If it’s ethically made? Does it give back to the environment and the people? How much unique as a product is? Do you care to buy from a local supplier and small businesses or you rather buy from big chains? So, is it your motif environmental and ethical?
Whatever the priority, you should know what you are looking for. And if you can’t find it, just ask the brand. In an ideal world, the garment would have transparency information, but since we are not leaving in that world just check for the basics.
A good place to start from is care labels. For each garment sold you will find a care instructions label at the inside seam of the garment. There you can find information about how to treat your new garment to last longer, the composition and the “Made in”. If you want to choose sustainably, look for compositions that are either recycled, can be recyclable or with minimum impact to the environment (recycled polyester, recycled cotton, organic cotton, bamboo, linen, hemp, etc.) For the “Made in”, since knowing working conditions of each company is unrealistic, look for clothing and swimwear made in your area, or in countries well known for their strict employment policies. So, if you for example leave in UK, look for things “Made in UK” or “Made in Europe”, generally speaking harsh working conditions is hard to find in developed countries.
Another reason to look the “Made in” is the carbon footprint. This is how much your new garment polluted the environment with CO2 between various transitions until arrived to your hands. The less movements it did (from the fabric manufacturer to the store), the less the carbon footprint was. That’s why is important to know where the company sources fabrics from and where the production is made. When a product was made close to where the materials where sourced for it, is a good indicator to understand how much the impact on the environment was.
Buying ethical has a lot of aspects too. You can choose to help a local business, buy handmade products, evaluate the spending against the quality of the item, buy from charity shops, buy from brands that engage local communities for their production or from brands offering as much transparency as they can.
Obviously, there are a lot of options to be Sustainable and ethical, so just find what is more important for you and go for it.
So, let’s say you want to buy a new bikini to meet your needs and at the same time you want to choose, with our environment in mind:
- Check the fabric composition (you are looking for recycled materials and fabrics, or materials made with limited, if not at all, use of chemicals)
- Check the “Made in” (the closest production and material sourcing places are, the more sustainable and eco-friendly is your choice)
- How unique it is (handmade, limited edition, charity/ give back, eco friendly)
Sometimes is as easy as checking the price. If it’s too low, it simply can’t be sustainable or ethical; it just cannot work. Remember, for anything to be made someone worked to make the fabric, so that fabric has a cost, someone worked to cut and put the pieces together, so that labour has a cost and whoever transport the fabric or the garment also got paid for that. At the top of all these the brand needs to earn some money to be financially sustainable as a business, and to be able to invest in new advanced procedures and techniques to make its product better for the future. We will get deeper with costs some other time for sure.
Remember buy quality products that will last and buy less!!!
Happy Shopping everyone!