HOME > Tips & Advice >
7 REASONS TO CHOOSE SUSTAINABLE CLOTHING OVER FAST FASHION
Written by Menswear Style in Tips & Advice on the 3rd August 2021 / 7 Reasons to Choose Sustainable Clothing Over Fast Fashion
Over recent years there has been more focus on how we can give back to the planet by shopping sustainably and therefore more pressure to be a conscious consumer. We still have a long way to go before everyone makes the switch to sustainable fashion and it is not as easy for everyone to do so. With new fashion trends constantly emerging and many fast fashion brands offering the newest trends at extremely low prices, it can be tempting to sway towards this. This is why it is so important to understand the meaning and impact behind sustainable brands so that we can look past this and make sustainable and ethical wardrobe choices in the long term.
Nick Fletcher is the founder of the sustainable men’s fashion brand Absolutely Bear. Nick has shared his insight into how sustainable fashion brands operate and reasons why we should opt for sustainable clothing that you might not have realised. Here are 7 reasons you should be choosing sustainable clothing over fast fashion:
1. Helping the environment
One of the most obvious reasons to shop sustainability is to reduce the negative impact the fashion industry has on the environment. The climate crisis is most certainly a real problem we are all currently facing, and tackling the climate crisis is most certainly a priority and widespread focus for the world as a whole at the moment. Ethical companies, wherever possible, will manufacture their products using processes that minimise their negative environmental impacts. They also operate and strive to conserve energy and natural resources, which is a good reason as any to support them. By shopping from sustainable brands that are going above and beyond to help the environment, you too, are playing your part.
2. Higher quality clothes that last longer
Many people do not realise that sustainable clothing items tend to be of a much higher quality and last longer than items from fast fashion brands, which is down to the materials used to make the clothing garments. Ethical products are produced to meet certain standards, with stricter regulations in place and organically sourced ingredients or materials. This means that in the long run, you are investing in a far better product. It may come at a higher price, but with that higher price, you are guaranteed a high quality, longer-lasting, durable product. Whereas fast fashion brands will go with the cheapest materials (which is usually poor quality), sustainable brands only use materials that are organic and meet certain standards. Organic cotton is an example of this. Absolutely Bear is one of many brands that use organic cotton as it is free from harmful chemicals that can be found in standard cotton. Organic cotton also keeps the body cooler, which is perfect when wearing T-shirts in warmer weather. Sustainable products are often made with more attention to detail and care. Mass production and cutting corners are processes used to make many commodities we use today. These may not last as long or be as durable as a sustainable product, the manufacturing history of which can be traced far more easily.
3. Better for your skin
Ethical products have been sourced via sustainable means, and often this means extracting those processes that incorporate potentially harmful elements or toxins into the product. This means that sustainable clothes will be softer, having been made from higher quality, organically sourced materials. Many people may be surprised at the ingredients that go into some of their most-loved products! Conventional cotton is one of the most widely grown crops in the world and one of the most chemical-intensive. These highly toxic chemicals have a tremendous impact on the earth’s air, water, soil, and the health of people in cotton-growing areas. In contrast, organic cotton is grown without the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides or defoliants, using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. It also uses a staggering 91% less water than conventional cotton, which usually comes from rainwater rather than irrigation. With ethical products, there’s a transparency that can be felt in the product itself; in the quality and softness of the clothing.
4. Better customer service
Sustainable brands will genuinely show they care and will often wherever possible, shout about this too. They are proud to operate sustainably and know they can appeal and connect to people by involving them in the wider story of their company ethos, who they are and what they stand for. One way in which this can be very telling is the customer service you receive. Smaller, hands-on companies know every inch of their product inside out and are more likely to be invested in the entire story, which doesn’t stop with a purchase but feeds into the consumer experience. Ethical companies will often go above and beyond to ensure the recipient of a product is happy, and if not, will solve the problem. Some larger corporate companies that don’t operate to ethical standards lack this personal element and high levels of customer service, which can get lost in the mass production that happens in the fast-fashion world. Small sustainable brands usually care more, as how can a company expect customers to believe in their ethos, if the company fails to execute an all-encompassing, holistic approach to consumer relations?
5. Brands that give back to the environment
Not only are sustainable brands already giving back to the environment, but many of these brands will also go the extra mile to create partnerships with organisations and charities that also participate in battling climate change and helping the planet. Examples of these include ‘Trees For Cities’ or ‘1% For The Planet’ - two organisations Absolutely Bear has teamed up with. Trees for Cities is building resilience against threats facing the natural environment, by planting thousands of urban trees each year and creating pockets of valuable woodland in existing urban green spaces. These vital trees help to absorb CO2 and purify our air, shield communities from noise and air pollution and provide quality habitats for wildlife in our cities. 1% for the Planet is a movement where businesses commit to giving back 1% of gross annual earnings to environmental non-profits to create a healthier planet and a more sustainable future. You will usually be able to find out whether a brand works with any charities or organisations but looking on its website.
6. Good for animal welfare
One large positive of supporting ethical companies and buying sustainably is the reassurance that you have avoided products that have been tested on animals. Unfortunately, animal testing is still widespread, and you may be surprised about the number of companies that still actively test on animals when developing everyday products. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternative companies to support that do not test on animals. Contributing to the cause of animal welfare should be a seemingly universal aim, and buying ethically directly supports this.
7. You feel good about it
Shopping sustainably also benefits you as well as the environment and can boost a person’s mood instantly. Whenever you do a good deed, you always feel better for it and knowing you’re consciously making the decision to be more sustainable is exactly that! Performing a good deed often leads to a rush of endorphins released that are known as ‘helpers’ high. This seems a simple reason to buy ethically, but it is a good one. It means that whenever you purchase something from a sustainable company or pay a little more for a product that meets Fairtrade standards, you’ll feel better for it. The conscious consumer is aware of the wider impact of their choices, and by choosing to buy ethical, you are directly supporting the fight towards climate change and the movement to convince more brands to operate sustainably and ethically.