Fashion effects on the environment are jarring. As an industry, fashion alone produces at least 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions via factories, mills, and tanneries plus shipping of textiles. In addition to polluting the air, rivers, and streams, fashion dries up water sources. An annual estimate is that the fashion industry consumes an estimated 79 billion cubic meters of water per year.
Taking it straight to the rack, it takes 2,700 liters (713 gallons) to produce just one t-shirt. The fact that 85% of all those textiles go to the dump each year, creating waste from materials that spend so much of the world’s precious resources, is insanely wasteful.
But all is not lost. Do you want to know what you can do? Allow Mavens 101 to school you with our socially and environmentally conscious shopping guide. After all, it is 2020, and we know global warming is real, so act like it and shop like it.
Here are some brands you can feel good about wearing as they lessen their impact on environmental pollution while making an impact on the lives of the less fortunate.
For every $3 earned, Toms gives away $1, and with more than just shoes, Toms offers consumers the opportunity to use their purchasing power for the great good. With eyewear, shoes, bags, and coffee, a maven can remain consciously fashionable. And Toms back it all up it, download their impact report here.
Bombas is a comfort sock and apparel brand with a mission to help those in need. Bombas socks are ultra-comfortable from the seamless toe to the cushioned heel that helps protect against blisters. It’s simple, one purchase = one donation, which is a win-win for all. Visit Bombas for more on their mission and buy some socks!
The Feed Project provides meals for children all over the world. These reversible bags, made from a sturdy burlap and cotton blend, provide style, durability, and sustainability. One of my favorite aspects of the brand, besides owning such a versatile bag? The number on each product represents the number of school meals provided with your purchase. Learn more here.
Parachute, a Venice, Ca based home essentials retailer, carries some of the most cost-conscious luxuries on the market today. All of their products, crafted from the finest materials, are made without harmful dyes or chemicals. Parachute gives with every purchase, donating a bed net to the UN’s Nothing but Net Malaria Prevention Campaign. And you can also be at ease making any returns as Parachute donates returned items to Habitat for Humanity.
Aid Through Trade
Founded in 1993 Aid Through Trade is the true mark for a fashion design company with ethics. They introduced the The Original Roll-On® Bracelet, A favorite of mavens 101 founder, Geneen! Aid Through Trade empowers women by creating opportunity through the Roll-On bracelets and each beautifully designed piece of jewelry. Each piece is ethically crafted by artisans in Nepal. Your purchase provides women with a fair income and benefits in a safe and healthy work environment. Aid Through Trade maintains an office and studio space in the Kathmandu Valley with 15 full-time artisans and management staff. So rest assured that your little arm party of Roll-Ons is providing a better life for these women and in turn their village.
Originally a non-for-profit ABLE is an ethical fashion brand that employs and empowers women as a solution to end poverty. They train and educate women so they can earn a living and thrive. What is so special about Able, outside of the fashionable quality? They created an evaluation system to hold themselves and their manufacturing partners accountable for safety, equality, and wages. ABLE also publishes their wages, which gives you, Ms. Woke Consumer, the ability to make informed purchases. All this and ABLE offers plenty of options from apparel, home, jewelry accessories, and shoes. See for yourself what Able has to offer with their best sellers.
Everlane not only gives back via their Black Friday profits donation, but they also make the ethical category here thanks to their real cost pricing of all their products, from materials to labor to transportation. And that is what you pay-the real cost- minus the traditional retail markup. And here is where fashion in itself can be sustainable, Everlane specializes in timeless, quality crafted pieces. Which means you will wear your clothes season after season. In essence Everlane could be the fashion trifecta a woke maven is looking for.
Levi’s features forward-thinking methods of responsible production and design. Two of their plans stand out in, a self-imposed goal of an 80% decrease in water use by this year and they currently train their farmers to use less water, pesticides, insecticides, and synthetic fertilizer when growing cotton plants. Levi’s also aspires to use 100% sustainable cotton by this year.
We cheer them on and give them dap as they use the environmental super fabric Tencel Lyocell and a PFC free material for waterproof products.
Levi’s also bears the gold standard in corporate citizenship, offering such programs and initiatives as; Worker Well-Being Initiative, Music Project, support of LGBT rights, and Levi Strauss & Co. Service Corps. You can learn more about Levi’s social impact and, of course, get your shop on by clicking the button below.
Boden is and has been the brand that keeps the entire family looking polished and crisp in clothes that last in style and durability. From quality that last, reducing their environmental impact, to responsible trading initiatives Boden is a brand that the entire family can feel pride wearing!
Another ethical All-Star in fashion, Fair Indigo promises timeless style, well-crafted organic and ethically produced clothing that will endure beautifully, thanks to premium organic cotton and earth-friendly dyes. They promise years of wear without pilling, shrinking, or wearing out. On another eco-friendly front, their shipments come in a fully biodegradable bags with no hang tags. Now for social impact, check out and donate to the Fair Indigo Foundation benefiting Peruvian Schools. Or simply do what we did and shop with them for conscious clothes you will love wearing then round up little to donate.
Cuyana sustainably manufactures its products, and they go the extra step to ensure that you will not find Cuyana in a landfill. How? Cuyana carefully considers each product’s design, material, and the production process and partners for a more significant impact on your wardrobe and a smaller impact on the environment.
They say, “you get what you pay for.” With Cuyana, you pay for, and you get quality and style, that will last year after year. It is more than worth it.
An added incentive for buying Cuyana is its Lean Closet program, a partnership with ThreadUP, which benefits H.E.A.R.T. (Helping Ease Abuse Related Trauma). You send high-quality clothes you no longer need to ThreadUP, receive Cuyana credits, once you spend Cuyana will donate 5% of profits of your total purchase to H.E.A.R.T.
Okay, so we hesitated, including Reformation on this list. After all, it is fast fashion, which, by definition, is not sustainable. But one has to acknowledge what Reformation has done for the fashion industry and all their efforts to make fast fashion green. For example, they recycle from deadstock and vintage clothing. We love that they use more environmentally friendly materials for their clothing, store, and packaging. Overall, if you choose to shop fast, you have a more sustainable and quite frankly an in-store experiential purchase option.
Circular Fashion Platforms
Fashion is circular so it makes sense that shopping also take on the same flow. These companies/platforms offer consumers the ability to buy and sell their luxury goods and thrift their clothing.
Stay Woke on Fashion Matters
Conscious Chatter Podcast hosts conversations about our clothing its ramifications on our planet and populations.
A call to action to transform one of the most polluting industries on earth–fashion–into a force for good.
An info source regarding brands’ environmental and social performance. We love their guides to educate the socially responsible consumers. Visit the site and download the app today.