• Katie Matheson

Sustainability in Fashion


Photo courtesy of Mental Floss

Fashion is and always will be changing. The way designers create, what consumers buy and even the fibers in clothing change over time. Ready-to-wear clothing became widespread during the industrial revolution when womens’ and mens’ sizes became generalized, allowing for easier production of popular styles. Factories and mills popped up across the U.S., leaking toxins into the air. Workers were mistreated, overworked and underpaid, and animals were used for furs, skins and other fashion trends. While these things still happen today, a change in the way clothing is made is developing.


In Faye Lessler’s Green Dreamer article on sustainable fashion, she explains that sustainable fashion is defined as the creation, manufacturing and distribution of clothes in a way that is environmentally friendly. Ethical fashion goes hand in hand with sustainable fashion; it is creating clothing in ways that value employee rights and support social welfare. Supporting brands that are sustainable and ethical aids environmental change by reducing waste and toxins that are put in the air by factories. By buying from sustainable and ethical fashion brands, you are not only getting cute clothes but are being part of a change. Below are a few fashion brands that are sustainable and ethical.


Pact is a brand that offers not only clothing but also home goods. With their slogan being “Earth’s Favorite,” Pact emphasizes sustainability in their products. They use organic cotton, meaning there is less water use and no toxins. Pact is also Fair Trade Certified, meaning that their factories are safe working environments and the employees are treated fairly.


Tentree is a brand that produces clothing using organic cotton, recycled polyester and hemp. These materials are eco-friendly and reduce the amount of waste that is usually produced when manufacturing clothing. Tentree also commits itself to planting 10 trees per item purchased and says they believe “big change starts small.” The company has planted 47,844,130 trees as of Oct. 9, 2020. Tentree offers products ranging all the way from t-shirts to dresses and accessories.


Athleta produces womens’ clothing with a focus on athletic wear. The brand uses sustainable materials to create its clothing, such as recycled polyester, organic cotton and recycled nylon. They also reduce package waste.


Happy Earth is a brand that is 100% carbon neutral, meaning that their production is not contributing to climate change. Their products are also organic and made from vegan materials. Similarly to Tentree, Happy Earth also offers customers the ability to request that either 15 trees be planted or one pound of trash is cleaned up for every product purchased. This brand creates nature-based designs on their casual, cool-toned t-shirts, sweatshirts and tank tops.


These are just a few brands that practice sustainability. Some sustainable brands can be expensive, but even one purchase can go to helping the environment, and there are lots of other, cheaper brands you can find, too. For example, options like Rent the Runway make it easy to avoid buying some clothes altogether, and their prices vary widely, including more inexpensive items.


By Katie Matheson, Contributing Writer

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