Here are some tips for shopping green, eco-friendly, and responsible for clothing and accessories:
Select basic clothing and accessories made from organic cotton and wool. Look for fabrics like hemp and linen which come from naturally pest-resistant plants. Check with the manufacturer or retailer to determine how mush post-treatment was done to the fabrics. Bamboo has been grouped into the natural textile category with hemp, organic cotton and linen however a recent Wall Street Journal article indicates that bamboo is actually less “eco” and “sustainable” than it seems. The bamboo used in textiles has been heavy manipulated — they actually use the same process that recycles wood scraps into viscose or rayon (the journalist hints that bamboo fabric is actually rayon). Actually, the FTC sued some of the bamboo-clothing manufacturers in 2009 for false labeling.
Seek out wildcrafted silk. Naturally harvested silk is much more humane than the standard process. Poor silkworms…
Avoid synthetics all together like polyester and nylon. They don’t breathe and are made from non-renewable sources.
When possible, select unbleached clothing with low-impact dyes. Many clothing and accessory companies are starting to introduce more natural processing. Some companies to check out our Live Life Organics, Recycleatee, Kasper Organics, 3 Clothing Company.
Avoid fabrics treated with stain guards, water repellents, and anti-wrinkle agents.
Take your clothing to a greener cleaner for wet cleaning or CO2 cleaning.
Select vintage leather, recycled materials, faux leather, and cloth handbags.
Choose high-quality, long-lasting leather items if you wanted to choose leather. Avoid leather made from skins of endangered species (or all species if you’re dressing vegan). Try to avoid PVC accessories although the faux leather products available are often made from this material.
Do your research to find out which retailers use sweatshop labor and stop shopping there. Maybe even let them know why. Companies try to keep this information private so it is difficult to find out if they use sweatshop labor or not. Do keep in mind that even clothing “Made in the U.S.A” may not guarantee that workers were paid at least minimum wage in decent conditions. The U.S. Department of Labor found that 67% of garment factories in Los Angeles and 63% in New York violate wage and overtime laws. 98% of garment factories in Los Angeles have workplace health and safety problems serious enough to lead to severe injuries or death.
Select jewelry made from conflict-free, recycled, and sustainable materials.
And… always bring your cotton tote to carry your purchases.
(Sources: Green Guide, Wall Street Journal, Vegan Peace)