When we think about the fashion industry, we often associate it with money, high-profile celebrities, clothing trends, glitz and glamour, and lavish fashion shows.
While this is undoubtedly part of it, there’s much more to know about the industry than what you see on TV or read in magazines.
Studies show that the industry is considered one of the most wasteful industries in the world. The fashion industry contributes to the depletion of resources, soil degradation, and deforestation, among many other things.
More than 40 billion new fashion products are generated each year, requiring enormous amounts of energy, water, land, and chemicals for its production. This means that most clothing is made from non-renewable resources with zero or little recycling value, which takes decades to break down in landfills.
Not only does this industry have a significant impact on the environment, but it also has an immense effect on society.
In many parts of the world, people are exploited in unethical ways to cut costs and meet high demands for cheap clothing produced at a rapid pace. This results in poverty wages and unsafe working conditions.
However, zero-waste fashion is changing this.
In this blog post, we will be exploring zero-waste fashion brands and how they benefit the environment and society. We will also be listing down ethical fashion brands that use sustainable fabrics and adopt fair trade policies.
What is zero waste movement?
The zero-waste movement is a lifestyle that advocates for limiting trash by reducing and reusing items. It also means zero waste of food, water, and other resources.
The movement has been gaining momentum over the past few years, with people taking small steps towards reducing their environmental footprints. It aims to bring about a zero-waste society that could potentially reduce the number of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.
What is zero waste fashion?
Zero waste fashion is a zero-waste lifestyle that aims to reduce and recycle textile waste.
It focuses on using sustainable fabrics in clothing and eliminating all other materials from entering landfills or ocean currents. This movement has been gaining momentum over the past few years, with zero-waste stores opening up worldwide. Brands that use zero-waste clothing have been increasing in number, and you can easily find them through the internet.
Zero waste fashion brands also avoid synthetics such as polyester, acrylics, rayon, and spandex in their clothes because they are not biodegradable.
While zero waste clothing brands are relatively new, it’s growing rapidly as customers become aware of how their clothing choices impact the environment.
Sustainable Fashion Brands: From Major Retail Brands to High Fashion
Zero waste clothing brands use eco-friendly fabrics and sustainable materials such as recycled plastics, organic cotton, hemp, recycled polyester, and more. Unlike most textiles, these fabrics are biodegradable and healthy for the environment.
Many zero-waste clothing brands also manufacture clothes in a sustainable, ethical manner where they work with small suppliers to create personal relationships and ensure fair labor practices.
Sustainable fashion brands range from high-end luxury ones like Stella McCartney to more affordable options like Girlfriend Collective.
Let’s explore zero waste clothing brands, starting with major retail brands!
Girlfriend Collective is a well-known zero waste clothing brand that manufactures eco-friendly and sustainable ethical clothes for women and men that are both affordable and high quality. They use recycled polyester, old plastic bottles, fishing nets, and other recycled materials to create leggings, tank tops, activewear and more. Plus, their packaging is reusable and recyclable.
The ethical clothing brand also adopts ethical manufacturing practices in the production of their zero waste clothing. Their core factory in Vietnam has received certification from Social Accountability International, ensuring fair labor practices among workers.
H&M has been a leader in zero-waste fashion for over ten years with its H&M Conscious range.
While many zero-waste clothing brands have only emerged recently, this prominent retail brand was ahead of the game in terms of making sustainable and ethical fashion mainstream. Each garment from the Conscious line is made from 50% of recycled fabrics such as organic cotton and recycled polyester.
H&M also strives to improve its labor policies, specifically for factory workers. They’ve had a zero-tolerance policy on child labor and have worked with First Safety Accord in Bangladesh to ensure fair labor practices and address the safety issues of large garment factories.
Another zero-waste clothing brand worth mentioning is Patagonia! They’ve taken sustainable fashion a step further by discouraging customers from buying too many of their clothes and adopting fair trade practices for their workers.
The outdoor clothing retailer also encourages customers to repair their Patagonia apparel to prolong the life of their zero-waste products instead of buying new ones every season or year.
This sustainable clothing brand only uses organic cotton and is certified with Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS), which is the highest organic certification for textiles in the world. Most of the brand’s fabrics are made from recycled and upcycled materials such as polyester, nylon, and wool.
Sustainable fashion brand Zero Waste Daniel makes zero-waste clothing and accessories for men and women that are affordable and stylish.
Their zero-waste jeans, dresses, jackets, tops, hats, socks, and bags use only sustainable fabrics such as pre-consumer cutting room scraps, design room waste, and leftover materials!
The ethical fashion brand also uses recycled packaging materials and zero-waste shipping materials to reduce its environmental footprint.
You can find zero-waste clothing brands in high fashion, too!
Fashion designer Stella McCartney is the epitome of sustainable luxury fashion. She had created zero-waste designs since her first collection back in 2001, which sets her apart from other designers with zero-waste clothing.
McCartney creates zero-waste clothes with pre-consumer (leftover materials produced during the manufacturing process) and post-consumer (recycled or reclaimed fabrics that would otherwise be thrown away after use) eco-friendly materials.
Among the top list of sustainable brands is Everlane.
The fashion brand partnered with ethical factories around the globe to produce zero-waste fashion that meets ethical practices.
Everlane has also released a fashion collection that uses only recyclable materials such as plastic bottles.
It also has a transparent supply chain, which means the brand shows consumers where every single item is made and how each material costs. This goes hand in hand with its sustainable practices because it makes Everlane accountable for what they make and who they partner with.
Creating a pair of jeans requires a lot of water, carbon emissions, and chemicals in the manufacturing process, which is why the famous denim brand Levi’s has taken a huge step in making zero waste fashion a reality.
Levi’s has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25% from all of its owned and operated facilities around the world by 2020 and has promised to reduce water use in denim production through their Water
People Tree is one of the first zero-waste fashion brands in the United Kingdom and around the world.
This zero-waste fashion company has been around since the early 1990s and uses only natural fibers such as organic cotton, wool, and Tencel.
It is the only brand recognized by the World Fair Trade organization and is also known for using fair trade practices in its zero-waste fashion production.
It is encouraging to see zero waste brands positively impact the fashion industry, the environment, and society.
Not only do zero-waste fashion brands create zero waste clothing, but they also encourage consumers to reduce their consumption and adopt sustainable practices.
As more zero waste and ethical fashion brands pop up, consumers need to know about these sustainable practices to make an educated decision when shopping for clothes!
If you want to support this movement but don’t know where to start or what zero-waste clothes look like, you can always refer to this blog post.
What are some zero waste clothing brands that you love? Let us know what they are in the comments below!