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What Certifications to Look for When Clothes Shopping Sustainably

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When I first made the jump to living a zero-waste, low-impact lifestyle, clothes were my biggest concern. Shopping sustainably felt foreign and unfathomable; I’d only known a life of H&M, Target, and Zara growing up. While I felt ready to commit to glass containers and the universal ditching of single-use plastic, sustainable clothing shopping seemed a bit out of reach. If you’re ever felt that way, then you’ve come to the right place. As someone who still feels a bit intimidated by sustainable clothes shopping, I’m going to help break it down for you so that the next time you’re in need of clothes, you’ll know exactly what to look for.

As it currently stands, the fast-fashion industry is not sustainable. What we mean by “fast,” is an unsustainable apparel-making method that produces inexpensive clothing rapidly, in response to the latest trends. Think H&M, Forever 21, even Zara… These companies guilty of fast-fashion practices contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and since they seldom use sustainable textiles, these clothes generally consist of synthetic chemicals and materials, microplastics, and non-sustainable dyes. These materials do not break down. Clothing waste that cannot break down accounts for 20 percent of our water pollution.