Guest blog by: Ryan Nielsen of Eco-Stylist with contributions and edits by Claire Attkisson of Live Creative Studio.
Why Sustainable Brands Need Your Support
When you look good, you feel good. Many people would agree with that statement. Let’s take this logic one step further, perhaps feeling good about what you wear is about looking sharp and wearing your values. Maybe it means wearing clothes you actually feel proud of—knowing that your purchases benefited people and the planet. That your spending power is driving real change for good in the world.
Turning the tide towards more sustainable fashion may seem difficult, but it is actually a simple enterprise: We invest our spending in the sustainable brands that make a positive impact.
Most people today would probably argue that they shop for things without regard for “sustainable vs unsustainable” products, and instead, they shop out of convenience–“where can I get what I want in the most efficient manner, and for the cheapest price?”
We’re all guilty of this to some extent, and indeed, those concerns–efficiency and price–are useful considerations when shopping for goods. Though unfortunately, shopping this way leads to the growth of brands with unsustainable practices.
Imagine if we took the money we give to unsustainable businesses, and instead purchased from more ethical and sustainable brands? This simple change can have a huge upside, and that upside is economies of scale: when something is more frequently bought, in this case, sustainable clothing, the demand for the product goes up, often leading to a drop in the price or certainly sending a strong signal to business leaders that sustainable business practices and materials are not just a cost center, but a profit center. This is your spending power. Use it.
But there is a catch, sustainable brands can’t get there without your support.
Five Reasons to Dress Like You Give A Damn
Sustainable fashion brands use: 1. eco-friendly materials (such as organic cotton or hemp), 2. reduce water and carbon usage, and 3. invest in renewable energy. These practices can help alleviate many environmental issues, especially considering the massive water (20% of global wastewater) and carbon (1.2 billion tons of CO2 per year) footprint of fast fashion.
But sustainability isn’t just about the planet. True triple bottom line sustainable fashion brands also require: 4. fair labor practices and provide fair treatment to their employees regardless of gender or race by offering them living wages and the proper access to essential services such as health care and child care. 5. Additionally, they give them a voice within their company, treating them as valuable members of the team whose opinion matters. Many sustainable brands also invest in the local communities in which they operate, improving the lives of all who live there and creating an economic ripple effect.
The benefits of making fashion more sustainable are profound, and wearing sustainable brands just may work wonders on your subconscious as well. Knowing that you are wearing a better quality product, made with organic, eco-friendly materials and crafted by a properly-paid, fairly-treated worker can help you feel better about your purchase—like you give a damn! Now with ever increasing sustainable textile innovation eco-materials are equal to or superior to petroleum, non-organic, plastic based materials. Besides, who wants to wear plastic? And, you still look good: Sustainable fashion brands are killing it in the design department. Not only will you look good, you’ll feel good.
We created Eco-Stylist specifically to bring men into the sustainable fashion conversation. Today, we’re doing a lot more. Our philosophy? Dress like you give a damn: the act of looking sharp without compromising your values. Eco-Stylist’s mission is to help you do just that.
We know it can be difficult to figure out if the clothes you’re buying check all the right boxes. Do the materials used to make your shirt have a negative impact on the environment? Are the people who stitched together your jeans being paid fair wages? Does this even look good on me?
But before you call it quits and opt to buy the $15 sweatshirt from the fast fashion retailer that you know isn’t likely to be providing an acceptable workspace for their underpaid employees, know that we are doing the hard work of answering these questions for you.
Using Remake’s sustainable brand criteria, we take the time to thoroughly research brands before we choose to partner with them. This criterion takes into consideration a number of factors, including transparency, environmental sustainability, maker well-being, use of sustainable raw materials, and the leadership of the brand within the ethical fashion sphere. If a brand passes, we partner with them and promote their products on our website.
Eco-Stylist is convenient, ethical, and tailored to you. We host a Sustainable Brands Directory for everyone, curate sustainable clothing for men in an easy-to-use marketplace, and offer virtual + sustainable personal styling.
With a continuously growing list of brands, Eco-Stylist is among a growing list of websites (Remake, The Good Trade, Ecocult, Live Creative Studio’s Sustainable Marketplace etc.) that are calling attention to the transparency of clothing brands and putting the spotlight on brands that care. Check them out, book mark them for easy access, and shop with ease so you can feel good wearing your values.
Ryan is a writer at Eco-Stylist and recent graduate from the University of Iowa with degrees in Cinema and English and Creative Writing.
Thank you, Ryan Nielsen, for this informative and inspiring guest blog!
—Claire of Live Creative Studio
Live Creative is a sustainable business, marketing, and shopping hub. Our Creative Studio offers authentic marketing, branding, and sustainable business expertise to ethical, sustainable, and purpose brands. And Sustainable Business Team offers sustainability strategy and goals setting as well as sustainable packaging services. And, our Lifestyle Team curates our global Sustainable Marketplace, the Durango Sustainable Biz Guide, and Get Real—our inspiring Innovation for Good weekly newsletter. Follow us on Insta: @livecreativestudios, like us on Facebook: Live Creative Studio and join our FB Group: Sustainable Business Idea Exchange.