Here at Soul Flower, we go all-in on our clothing being earth-friendly and ethically made. We believe that what you wear and how you shape your wardrobe and style can have a huge positive impact on your life. For those of us striving to practice what we preach and live in closer alignment to our deeply-held values and beliefs, crafting an ethical wardrobe is important.
Yes, shopping can be super fun… as long as you end up with items you love and wear all the time! If you want to feel better about what you buy and make less of an impact on the earth and all the people involved, read on. You can make better choices next time you’re about to buy a new item of clothing by considering a few things. Here is a step-by-step guide to buying with purpose and creating an ethical wardrobe!
3 Steps to an Ethical Wardrobe
1. Love and care for what you already own
Work with what you’ve got! Repair and take care of the garments you already own. The laundry and garment care you do at home accounts for 40-80% of the garment’s total emissions, so you can still make a difference even if your garments aren’t ethically made!
2. Buy secondhand
Try buying used clothing from thrift shops or vintage stores. Or swap with friends! Extending the active lifetime of a garment by just 9 months reduces carbon, waste and water footprints by around 20-30% each. Secondhand pieces can be a big part of your ethical wardrobe!
3. Buy ethical
When you do buy new, buy ethically-made. Look for as many of the following qualities as possible when putting together your ethical wardrobe.
When buying, ask: WHO, WHAT, WHERE, and WHY
Who made my clothes?
A real, live person working in the garment industry likely sewed your garment, and most likely dozens of people came in contact with that item before it ended up in your hands. Garment workers are some of the lowest paid workers in the world, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Ask brands “who made my clothes?” and look for certifications like Fair Trade and transparency about supply chains.
- fair trade
- living wages
- no child labor
What is it made from, and how?
Check the fabric content of the item you’re about to buy. Is it eco-friendly in any way? If it’s cotton, is it organic? If it’s polyester, is it recycled? Consider the amount of processing that garment required to get to you, and what will happen to it at the end of its life.
Where was it made?
Consider the number of miles that garment has traveled. Could you buy a little more local? If it was made overseas, does the brand know what the manufacturing facilities are like, or are they exploiting cheap labor in less developed countries to make a profit?
- USA-made or local to you
- safe working facilities
- supports local communities
Why was it made?
Some companies are simply in it to make a buck, while other brands are pushing for real change. Check the company’s About page: do they give back? Do they have a mission beyond ‘sell clothing’?
- not fast fashion
- company gives back
Here’s a cheat-sheet for creating your own ethical wardrobe!
How to Make Clothes Less Terrible for the Planet
How to Shop Better (for the Holidays, but good tips for year-round!)
Athleisure Clothing: Make it Ethical
Scary Fast Fashion Facts
Hemp Clothing Benefits
Why Organic Cotton is Better
Why We Choose Recycled Polyester
5 Tips to Green Up Your Laundry