Image credit: www.jessicazanotti.com
Words by Georgia Brisco
It’s sort of weird – we easily reach for the less packaging-draped groceries; we’re religious with recycling, and saying, “No straw, please,” has become second nature. But when it comes to sustainable and ethical fashion, it’s still sort of a hazy area of is-it-isn’t-it? (isn’t it, isn’t it? – are we the only ones who’ve had that T Swift song on repeat in our heads? Never mind.)
But we’re here to fix that – clear the (mass factory-produced*) haze, if you will. Here’s the thing: for us, our planet comes first. It’s our forever-crush – in fact, it’s true love (like, scribble-their-name-along-the-sides-of-your-textbook True Love. In a non-creepy way). And we’re head-over-sustainable-heels for fashion, too (the whole thing’s kind of a consensual polygamous love affair – and it’s working wonderfully). And so, without environmental sustainability and ethical production practices, it’s really not fashion for us at all. That’s why we put our all into creating beautiful, sustainable swimwear – because we just couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Our planet and people need us all to be thinking things through, because at the rate fast fashion’s going, nobody’s thinking very much at all.
But we digress. What is sustainable and ethical fashion, and where can we find it? In a (sustainably-picked) little nutshell:
Sustainable fashion is clothes, shoes, and accessories produced in ways that cause minimal impact on our planet, from start to finish, in terms of their life cycle. It means being gentle with natural resources, using renewable energy sources when possible, and creating less pollution and waste. Natural materials, recycled or easily-recyclable materials and non-toxic dyes? Win, win, and win.
Ethical fashion is clothes, shoes, and accessories produced in a way that doesn’t harm, oppress, or exploit any people and animals. It means those involved in every step of the production chain have good working conditions and receive fair salaries and treatment. We’re talking living in the 21st century – where we support traditional skills and cruelty-free products.
Now that we’ve got that down, here are a couple of our easy pointers to shop consciously:
1. All clothing has an impact (yes – even those cute cat-eared socks your gran got you last Christmas). So when we’re buying new clothes, the best thing to do is purchase from companies who actively work to lower their impact. (Like the ones listed in our guide below!)
2. The best way to shop and help our planet at the same time is to shop less. That’s why slow fashion is our jam – buying less and buying better will help you build a wardrobe of classic pieces with longevity. It turns out Macklemore was right: buying secondhand is pretty amazing: we’ve found some of our favourite pieces on Ebay, Depop, and in charity shops, and a clothes-Swapping evening with your friends is a great excuse for wine and pizza. Also, it turns out renting that perfect piece is totally a thing now, too; we love frontrow.uk.com for those lux moments, and rentez-vous.com and girlmeetsdress.com for everyday-outfits.
3. Materials matter. When shopping, materials that support the recycling industry (like our magical Econyl) are first prize. Avoid conventional polyster and acrylic like the plague (which they kind of are), and remember materials like cotton and conventionally-tanned leather are environmentally crappy, to say the least. Look out for low-impact materials like polyster made from recycled materials and Tencil, hemp, and linen instead. Also, the best alternative to leather at the moment is Piñatex, made from pineapple leaves (pretty rad, we know!).
Now that that’s covered, we’re about to make this whole sustainable- and ethical-shopping thing even easier for you: click below to download our free Guide to Sustainable and Ethical Stores. Eco-friendly, sustainable, ethical, fairtrade, natural – we’ve sifted through the marketing jargon, done the research, and we’ve got you sorted. Stick it on your fridge, or just keep it open on your phone or laptop for whenever that holiday shopping glee hits you.
PS We’re working on continuously adding to this list to create updated versions in the future for you. If you know of a brand that should be included, hit us up. Similarly, if you’re concerned that any of the brands mentioned don’t qualify as ethical/ sustainable, pop us a message!
*No shade but a little shade.