5 Things to Look for in a Sustainable Fashion Brand

sustainable fashion
credit: Jess @ Harper Sunday

This article is part of a brand partnership.

If you are reading this article, you probably already made the decision to transition to sustainable fashion.

The fact is, sustainability is an everyday process, and every choice you make matters. From your office outfits and those chic and dainty pearl rings you wear almost every day, to those special and practical gifts for grandma you purchased for her birthday, everything is a choice and all your decisions have an impact. Whether or not this is a positive one, it’s all up to you. However, if you have already decided on only purchasing sustainable clothes, but are not yet sure what to look for in affordable ethical clothing brands, check out the list we put together to help you get started.

1. Where Are the Clothes Made?

how to tell if sustainable brand is greenwashing
credit: cottonbro

Most big mainstream fashion brands produce their clothes in countries like China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, and Myanmar, as the costs are lower than anywhere else in the world. Workers from these countries currently earn the lowest minimum wage in the world. If you are serious about transitioning to sustainable fashion, always check the website of your go-to brands to see where they produce their products. Choose brands that produce their items in the US or Europe. These markets have strict regulations regarding salaries, so you can be sure that the workers are being paid fair wages. Moreover, they have safe working conditions which are also regulated.

2. What Materials Are Used?

sustainable fashion materials
credit: Svitlana

Understanding the environmental impact of the materials used in the production of clothes is essential when making a sustainable purchase. Synthetic fabrics like nylon, polyester, acrylic, lycra, and rayon should not appear on the labels of sustainable clothing. Instead, sustainable brands should use eco-friendly, natural textiles and fabrics like organic cotton, linen, leather, hemp, wool, or peace silk. But be aware that not all natural materials are made the same. For example, conventional cotton is heavily sprayed, while organic cotton is free from toxic chemicals and dyes. And don’t worry, you can still create the ultimate boss lady wardrobe or your dreamy vacation outfits with sustainable items in natural fabrics.

3. Are They Recycling?

sustainable fashion brands
credit: Vlada Karpovich

A very important part of slow fashion is what happens to the production waste. As the fashion industry produces tons and tons of waste every year, billions of clothes end up in landfills. Therefore, the approach an ethical brand has towards their production waste is essential, so make sure you do your research before you start shopping. Eco-friendly brands should be using their leftover materials and unsold clothes in creating new items, and try to generate as little waste as possible. If your favorite brand has the same policy, you can safely purchase your clothes from them.

4. How Are the Clothes Packaged and Delivered?

sustainable clothing brands
credit: Ron Lach

When researching a sustainable brand, it is important that you go beyond the production process. You should always take a look at the packaging to find out how eco-friendly a brand is. Recyclable and plastic-free packaging is easy to use and cost-effective. Another thing to look for is where the products are made. Always try to buy from brands that are closest to you, so you can help reduce the distance the product has to travel to reach you. However, if you must buy from abroad, try to opt for brands that use green-powered vehicles to transport their products.

5. Is the Fashion Brand Giving Back to the Community?

sustainable fashion brands
credit: Gustavo Fring

A real sustainable brand will always care a lot about the environment, and they will make efforts to give something back to the community. Check for any green project they may be involved in or keep an eye out for any initiatives they might have in this field. The brand’s website and social media pages are the best places to find this kind of information, so don’t hesitate to connect with your favorite fashion ethical brands and find out more.