Ethical and sustainable clothing is becoming more important. This is due to more awareness of climate change and the damage of the fashion industry on the planet.
Climate change. It is a hot topic at the moment as its consequences are starting to become very real. There are many causes of climate change, including deforestation, using fossil fuels (such as oil, gas and carbon), emissions from big factories, etc. However, one of the biggest causes is often forgotten: the damages done to our oceans.
The ocean creates between 50% and 80% of the planet’s oxygen. The marine plants that live in the ocean create oxygen as they photosynthesise. However large industries and overfishing are polluting and killing marine life, which is both contributing to climate change and affecting our health.
The fashion industry is one of the huge industries that are contributing to the killing of our oceans. There are many ways this happens. When we wash our clothing, it releases tiny little plastics, microfibres, that end up in the water.
Every year, around half a million tonnes of microfabrics end up in our oceans, equivalent to 50 billion plastic bottles. The fashion industry is also responsible for 20% of global wastewater. Wastewater contains dyes and toxic chemicals which kills marinelife, including plankton, the lungs of our planet.
However, in light of all this, there are many fashion brands that are taking up a proactive role in fighting climate change and saving our oceans. Read on below to find out about these amazing labels!
Starting out as a vintage clothing in Los Angeles in 2008, Reformation has become a popular brand that prides itself in making sustainable and ethical clothing available to everyone. They make their clothing from rescued deadstock fabric, low-impact materials and other vintage clothing. They are 100% carbon neutral.
Everything is made from their LA factory or other sustainable factories from around the world. They ensure all workers are treated fairly and work in healthy and safe environments. Another amazing feature is that each item comes with a description of its environmental footprint.
BOTTLETOP and #Togetherband
BOTTLETOP is a luxury sustainable fashion brand based in London. They use sustainable and upcycled materials, and ethical artisanal production to create fashion that is good for the planet. The brand started the #Togetherband campaign when they found out about the UN’s 17 Global Goals.
The #Togetherbands are ethically-made sustainable friendship bracelets, made from 100% Parley Ocean Plastic, plastic recycled from waters and shorelines to prevent it from polluting. There are 17 different colours, each one represents a different Global Goal, so customers can chose the goal that means the most to them.
All of the proceeds go to projects that support the Global Goals. The brand is also creating a documentary for each goal to spread awareness. Many of the goals relate to climate change, sustainability and saving the oceans.
Whilst not strictly a fashion brand, Bureo is a company that recycles fishing nets into a material called NetPlus® pellets. They then use this material to make products like hats, sunglasses and skateboards. They work with other brands to incorporate the NetPlus® pellets into their supply chain, that way taking fishing nets out of our oceans and giving them a new use.
A recent Netflix documentary, Seaspiricy, revealed that 46% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is actually fishing nets. This is seriously dangerous because fishing nets are designed to kill wildlife. Bureo has recycled 3.2 Million pounds of fishing net to this date.
Stella McCartney is a worlwide recognised luxury fashion designer. You can often see her designs on red carpets or modelled by celebrities. She is also big on sustainability and animal rights (so she does not use leather, fur, feathers or skin in her products).
In 2014, the brand introduced Clevercare, which describes exactly how to care for each item in an attempt to stop them from ending up in a landfill. The brand has collaborated with Parley for the Oceans, using the recycled Ocean Plastic for products. Stella has also partnered with Parley to support Sea Sheppards, a non-profit marine conservation organization.
Finally, the brand is a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative, which monitors supply chains to make sure they are free from modern day slavery.