Affordable Sustainable Clothing
Sustainable clothing is a fairly recent consideration. To make clothes affordable they are generally cheaply sourced materials and mass produced. This means affordable sustainable clothing isn’t always easy to find.
Current manufacturing methods have evolved to be financially economic. Until recently, little concern was given to the damage caused. In the 1960s sustainable clothing became a concern but not for most people. Sixty years later and hopefully not too late, sustainable clothing is becoming an increasing concern for more people.
What makes clothing Sustainable ?
Firstly, truly sustainable clothing is a rarity. For clothing to be entirely sustainable it must be made of a material that has little risk of running out. Cotton and bamboo make great fabrics and help tackle the problems, as do recycled materials. In other posts I have gone more in depth about sustainability and use of these fabrics. I will keep this brief and avoid repeating myself through each article.
To me, sustainability is balancing positive use of all the resources we have to reduce any negative effects. This means responsibly using what we already have. Making use of waste materials. Utilising natural fabrics which can be regrown.
Lastly, buying longer lasting clothing and keeping it for longer has a huge impact. Making your clothes last and then recycling them rather than sending them to landfill is what you can do as a consumer.
What makes Clothing Affordable ?
To produce affordable clothing, manufacturers take steps to remove cost. This can include use of cheaper/less sustainable materials.
Today there are a great number of very cheap clothing stores. Price does not always reflect quality or sustainability though. Some very good brands make exceptionally good products, the cost is not excessive and they are sustainable. However, you can also pay a high price for something unsustainable and cheaply made.
Affordability is key to effectiveness of sustainable clothing in tackling climate change. Not only does the clothing need to work but it should be at a price where it can be adopted on a level that has an impact. High prices turn people towards cheaper, less sustainable brands. Making a handful of sustainable products with a very high price tag does not help. More people buying more eco friendly is better than one person buying the most sustainable product. Sustainability needs to be looked at on a global scale, not a single person basis.
How can I find these Clothes ?
Firstly, brands carrying good accreditations is a good start but not always definitive. Be mindful that some brands will not always be entirely clear about where they source. As a rule of thumb, look at what fabric the products are made from. With a little research you can find what is and what is not sustainable, some of these will definitely surprise you !
Try to look at the bigger picture of sustainability. A lot of businesses now will offset Carbon footprint by planting trees. Offering recycling services is another great benefit. Being a small business it is hard for Grizzly Wears Clothing to commit to these but I am in the process of exploring these options.
As for affordability, it comes down to what you, as a consumer are willing to pay. What is sustainability worth to you ?
Lastly, we will all have to move to more sustainable clothing in the future. And learn better habits. Why not make the change now.
This was a difficult topic to cover briefly. Keep an eye out for more in depth articles exploring this. If you like what I am doing, support my brand and buy one of my sustainable T-Shirts at an affordable price !