The global crisis isn’t new, but in recent years, a spark has been lit shifting the way women shop, especially for fashion. Are you on the hunt for ethical and sustainable clothing brands for women? Or curious if your favorite clothing business is taking steps toward becoming environmentally friendly? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
It’s no secret that the human carbon footprint has grown increasingly severe over the past few years. Globally, the average carbon footprint of a person is 4 tons, but in the US, it can be up to 16 tons, a number that will continue to increase.
With heightening climate and environmental concerns, the word sustainable has become a buzzword for consumer industries including clothing brands, food and beverage businesses, and cosmetic lines.
The pandemic generated even more attention to sustainability by shedding light on supporting local shops and businesses as they tend to sell sustainable goods that are sourced locally, for the community. The growing popularity of supporting a local business, especially women-owned, marked a shift in consumer trends, and conscious consumerism made a return. Women are thinking more about their environmental impact when it comes to shopping and is choosing brands that help mitigate their effect on the environment.
This shift also brought more attention to fast fashion trends which have been around for a while, but with the help of social media’s reach, women are now more aware of the negative effect it has on the environment.
Fast fashion involves mass-producing trending fashion designs at a low cost, cutting out environmental concerns. Clothing brands that contribute to fast fashion tend to use cheap, toxic textile dyes, making this fashion industry one of the biggest polluters of clean water contributing to approximately 20% of wastewater worldwide.
In recent years, 85% of consumers globally have shifted their purchasing habits to be more sustainable, and the demand for environmentally-conscious businesses is on the rise.
What Does It Mean To Be A Sustainable Clothing Brand?
With the shift in consumerism, popular clothing brands have been pressured to consider their waste impact and adapt to more eco-friendly production systems.
When it comes to sustainable practices, making clothes that will last is only part of it. Limiting the amount of wasted fabric during production and making a conscious effort to limit the environmental impact of fabric production is essential.
There are a few ways this can be done:
- Closed-loop systems
If a business is looking to become more sustainable, a closed-loop system is a great step forward. This system focuses on the regeneration of clothes and fabrics to keep them in circulation for as long as possible, reducing the amount of waste a business usually produces.
2. Eco-friendly packaging
Implementing packaging materials that are compostable, recyclable, or biodegradable limits the amount of waste in production. Things like cornstarch packaging, kraft paper, recycled paper, and more are great alternatives to plastic and styrofoam a business should consider investing in.
3. Using organic materials
Clothes can be made using more than just synthetic materials like polyester and rayon. Organic material includes cotton, linen, silk, recyclable PET fabric, and more.
Women are conscious of the clothes they put on their bodies and using inexpensive and toxic materials not only detracts women from buying, but also promotes a poor image of a business.
Investing in sustainable methods is the way of the future, and clothing brands that don’t proactively change will be left in the past. The fashion industry is known for its excessive waste production, and more and more women are seeking businesses that are doing their part to change the industry.
If you’re wondering what stores are safe to shop at, you may not be aware that these four popular clothing brands, as big as they are, are taking steps to become more sustainable to help limit their impact on the climate crisis.
Patagonia is the definition of a sustainable clothing brand, and its efforts toward a cleaner industry are changing the game. If you’re looking for sustainable women’s fashion, this business is a great option.
68% of their product line is made with recycled materials, including recycled nylon, polyester, yarn, cotton, and cashmere. Their goal is to use 100% renewable and recycled raw materials to combat the excessive waste that’s destroying the planet.
In 2019, they redesigned their Black Hole Bag collection which is now made with 100% post-consumer recycled polyester. They also use torn fishing nets, discarded bottles, and scraps to further their efforts against climate change. In one year, Patagonia has reduced 20,000 tons of CO2 emissions, and to continue doing so, is transforming how they make its products.
The infamous jean brand Levi’s is part of an extremely wasteful production-denim. But the business is looking to do its part to change the industry they’re a part of so women not only feel and look their best but know they’re actively taking part in change. They have big plans for 2025, and Levi’s is confronting climate change by committing to make a positive impact on three key priorities:
- Climate change
- Community empowerment
- Consumption habits
Levi’s is changing the game for good by using less water, which is one of its most important innovations. In 2011 they introduced their Water<Less® process and since have saved almost 13 billion liters of water as of 2020.
They’re also reducing their fiber impact with 83% of their cotton coming from more sustainable sources. Levi’s is continually updating their operations to be more energy efficient, streamlining its shipping and distribution processes to leave the smallest possible carbon footprint, and restoring nature with three key initiatives: improve cotton cultivation, source alternative fibers, and protect forests, habitats, and water quality.
The time is now for women’s fashion to make a change, and if you’re looking to purchase a pair of jeans, look to Levi’s and support their efforts towards a more sustainable future.
Few may know, but Adidas has been a sustainable activewear brand for women for a few years now, and back in 2015, they partnered with Parley to produce shoes made with recycled ocean plastics. They have two clothing lines dedicated to sustainability- Primeblue and Primegreen, that also use recycled ocean plastics to reduce the amount of waste that comes with fabric production.
By 2024, Adidas will replace virgin polyester with recycled polyester. They’re rethinking their current materials to include more recycled and natural materials to become a more sustainable and eco-friendly clothing brand for women.
They’re creating products with recycled materials, making products to be remade, and developing products with nature to help end plastic waste. Every business should take note and follow Adidas on its journey to sustainability.
Zara, a globally dominant women’s clothing brand, is on track to become a more sustainable business, and by 2025, it will have all its polyester recycled to reduce the amount of consumption of new virgin raw materials.
They’re also developing innovative projects to limit their supply chain water impact and aim to reduce it by 25%.
Zara’s sustainability efforts began 20 years ago, and to further their progress, are working toward a circular economy model to lengthen the life cycle of their products to limit the amount of waste and consumption of virgin raw materials.
Their Join Life collection produces garments using processes and raw materials to help reduce their environmental impact, and by 2022, aim to have 50% of their products meet the Join Life standards.
The business has a long way to go, but with other popular women’s clothing brands trailblazing a path to a more sustainable future, Zara is actively following suit.
It’s Not Too Late To Support Sustainable Women’s Fashion
We can all do more to help combat climate change, and supporting fast fashion brands is an essential part of the problem.
Have you ever wondered where the clothes you wear come from, and how much they’ve polluted the environment during production and distribution? If so, it’s not too late to consider adapting to sustainable women’s fashion and changing the way you shop. Next time you grab a garment off the rack from a clothing business, pay attention to the material used. If it’s made of polyester, know it can take up to 200 years to decompose once you’ve thrown it away.
Sustainable businesses are making a huge difference to the environment by reducing the amount of pollution and waste during production, and if these four popular clothing brands for women are proactively adapting to sustainable fashion, you should too!