Defining what sustainable clothing is can be very difficult. This is because sustainable can mean different things to different people. For some, it can mean buying clothing from responsible companies that care about more than profits. For others still, sustainable apparel can mean bypassing new clothes altogether and finding used clothes. How does someone decide what to do if they want to wear sustainable clothing?
Is Purchasing Sustainable Clothing the Right Choice?
After the oil industry, the apparel industry is the largest polluter in the world. Besides the pollution that becomes globalized through trade winds and the ocean currents, the societal impacts are huge. Still today, there are children that make our clothing as well as inhumane labor practices. The place for our children is in school and workers should not be put in situations where working conditions are dangerous and do not provide fair wages, which provides security for their families. This is why Appalatch thinks purchasing sustainable clothing is the right choice.
What Sustainable Clothing Is and Isn’t
Sustainable Clothing has been a buzzword in the industry since the 2000’s. Companies have found that if they call their clothing sustainable, more consumers would purchase their clothing. Unfortunately, many companies use the words “sustainable clothing” very freely since there is no true definition of what it means to manufacture environmentally conscious clothing. We’ve seen companies that claim they make sustainable apparel simply because they changed their office lighting to energy-efficient light bulbs. We think these kinds of tactics are deceiving. In fact, a company doesn’t have to do anything to claim they make sustainable clothing!
We think the best way to determine what is sustainable clothing is to use the lifecycle approach. What this means is that we look at the environmental and social impact clothing has from growing the raw material to manufacturing, use and finally disposal. Additionally, at Appalatch, we factor in the creation and support of American jobs. By taking this approach, we can have a better picture of the causes and effects clothing has on the environment and society. For us, we think the best definition of sustainable clothing is …
- High-quality clothing that is made to last using practices which minimizes environmental impact and maximizes community prosperity.
Appalatch’s Approach to Sustainable Clothing
Appalatch makes a conscious effort not to classify our apparel as sustainable. This is because we believe that sustainability should be at the heart of what every company on earth is doing. We don’t believe that sustainable clothing should appeal to a niche market, but should be business as usual for everyone. By incorporating highly ethical environmental and social practices into our mission, vision and values, we are automatically making sustainable clothing. We take pride in the fact that our clothes significantly reduces clothing’s carbon footprint and helps empower communities while producing the highest quality clothing at prices below or at our competitors. In North Carolina, the state’s motto is, “To Be Rather than to Seem”, and we take that to heart with how we make sustainable clothing.
Sustainable Clothing Choices You Can Make
We will be the first to tell you that purchasing new is NOT more sustainable than reusing clothing. Used clothing will always be the best choice when thinking about making sustainable clothing choices. Sometimes, good used clothes are difficult to find, and in that case we want people to have the next best option. We believe that if people were to buy new clothes, the most sustainable clothing choice would be to purchase clothes that were made to be worn and last a very long time. Other things to look for when making sustainable clothing choices would be to purchase locally produced clothing that is made responsibly. Look into how and where companies make their clothing. Many keep their supply chain and practice a secret for a reason!