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Anatomy of apparel: How to know if a fashion garment is sustainable?

When talking about sustainability the ultimate goal is getting to a point of production in which the environmental, social and economic aspects of manufacturing are taken into account in order to assure and protect the earth and its species survival. We are now caught in a dilemma that makes us question every little choice as consumers and it's really easy to get lost in the giant flow of information that goes on social media about whether the brand and objects we are buying are or not part of a solution.

The first step onto this new way of consumption is searching for the truthful cost of garments and the way they are produced. Even though there are certifications for sustainability, the fact that legisla

tion on the area is extremely poor in almost every country makes setting standards really hard. Also, the sustainable movement is still trying to detach studies and certifications from the big firms inversions for the results the studies show are for sure honest. Until world wide legislation on sustainability comes here are some certificates and questions we can use to identify sustainable garments.

Has this garment been made by a B Corporation? This certification focuses on brands, aiming to create “a sustainable global economy” where the brand has to meet some of the most strict social and environmental standards.

Does this brand have a fair trade certification? As is well know If something is too cheap to be true, the price must have been paid earlier in the manufactured chain. This certification assures that the company is paying fair living wages and safe working conditions, for farmers and workers in developing countries worldwide.

Does this brand meet the Global Organic Textile Standard? This certification goal is to find guidance that ensures the organic status of textiles, from harvesting of the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labeling in order to provide a credible assurance to the end consumer.

Does this brand meet the GRS (global recycled standard) or The Recycled Claim Standard (RCS)? The GRS and RCS are international product standards that set requirements for third-party certification of recycled content, chain of custody, environmental and social practices, and chemical restrictions.

As said before, there are a lot of certifications in existance and it is our responsibility to look into them and ask ourselves and the brands, Is it honest? Does it apply to the whole chain or just one area? Does that mean the product is actually sustainable or is it greenwashing? The industry is moving forward with a new paradigm as we continue asking for more eco-friendly options, let's not stop using our power as buyers.

Here are some tips to remember when shopping beside looking for the certifications tags:

  • Choose quality over quantity.

  • Choose Eco-friendly dyed garments.

  • If possible choose natural fiber from sustainable origins or recycled fiber.

  • Consider renting, shopping second hand and Upcycling.

  • Go for the atemporal options as they will be usable in the future.


Fair trade certificate. Recovered:

Certified B Corporation. Recovered:

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