“Looking at labels is key when you’re shopping for sustainable options. Check out the materials, the manufacturing, the quality,” says Allbirds co-founder, Tim Brown, who recommends the method of checking the fabric tags and brand packaging to see what went into the creation of a product. “Even still, it can be difficult to discern what products are really sustainably made,” Brown says.
This is where the authorty comes in to help us weed out empty claims of sustainability. “There are a few certifications that exist to qualify the sustainability of the brand’s materials, such as GOTS certification,” says Veronica Tan, who’s the Senior Director, Apparel & Accessories at Quince. Global Organic Textile Standard, for instance, helps define what organic textile is. Another example is the B Corp certification, which recognizes a brand’s social and environmental impact.
Don’t forget to pay attention to the people, too. “It’s also important to understand the brand’s relationship to its vendors and manufacturers—this helps consumers know if a brand’s partners are ethically sourced and paid a living wage,” says Tan.
Lastly, as for how you should approach sustainability when shopping for clothes, the key is to buy less but buy better. “Buy only what you need, buy for long-lasting quality, and do your best to pay attention to the materials and how they are produced,” says Luke McAlpine, a Senior Director at Taylor Stitch.
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