Last week, I suggested how you can use purchasing power to support Black-owned brands. Purchasing power is when a consumer directs their purchases to brands that share their values or support a particular issue that they care about. While we focused last week on supporting brands that were Black-owned as a small way to work on racial injustice issues in America, consumers can utilize their purchasing power to have their voices heard on a variety of issues. Today, we will look at some environmentally sustainable brands that consumers can purchase this holiday season.
The fashion industry is huge and with its size it brings even larger detriments to the environment. The apparel industry accounts for around 10% of global carbon emissions and 20% of water pollution. With these huge impacts and protecting our Earth being more important than ever, here are some great sustainable fashion brands to add to your shopping list this holiday season:
- Patagonia: Patagonia is one of the most well known sustainable brands out there. Since the time the company was founded in 1973, it has pledged 1% of its sales to environmental restoration and conservation efforts. Additionally, Patagonia has led the launch of 1% for the Planet, which is a group of businesses that have also agreed to give 1% of their sales to the environment. Some of the other steps that Patagonia has taken to improve its eco-footprint are that, according to the brand, “68% of [its] line uses recycled materials, 100% of [its] virgin down is certified to the Advanced Global Traceable Down Standard, and 100% of the cotton grown for [its] garments is grown organically.” Patagonia offers a wide variety of clothing that encourages its consumers to get out and explore all that our planet has to offer.
- tentree: tentree is another great sustainable brand to add to your holiday shopping list this year, especially for the company’s great range of loungewear that is perfect for working and attending classes virtually. For every item purchased, tentree gives back to the environment by planting 10 trees. Additionally, the brand tries to use as many eco-friendly materials, like organic cotton, as possible. Finally, tentree eliminates some of the negative environmental impacts typically seen in the apparel industry by using renewable energy in its supply chain.
- Nube: This activewear brand uses recycled plastic to create its pieces. Nube’s unique prints are created by artists and designers from around the world who partner with the brand. These patterns are motivated by the environment issues we are facing and aim to promote connection between people. To add to its sustainability efforts, Nube uses a closed-loop manufacturing process where all the off cuts are recycled. Finally, all the packaging materials, including the kraft mailers, the order confirmation paper and the postcards, are plastic-free and 100% recycled and recyclable.
- The R Collective: This womenswear brand reuses and reimagines excess materials from luxury retailers and reputable manufacturers to make clothes that are on the more sophisticated side. The garments offered by The R Collective are a little more expensive, but they are pieces that will last because of the great quality and the timeless style. The brand also makes sure to use as many eco-friendly materials as possible to help limit the amount of chemicals, water and wastewater used in production. Finally, an added benefit of purchasing from this brand is that it ensures living wages throughout its entire supply chain.
- unspun: unspun offers denim pieces that have ambitious sustainability goals. unspun locally sources its materials, and uses “low-impact fabrics and on-demand manufacturing,” according to its website. This “on-demand manufacturing” process means that the brand has zero inventory, to eliminate the traditional issue of clothing brands struggling with leftover inventory. This process also allows consumers to customize their orders by thread count, waist-rise and hem-length. unspun’s zero-cutting waste tries to combat the fact that typical pant manufacturing processes result in 15% cutting waste. The company dedicates an entire team to developing a weaving machine that will create woven garments to shape without creating cutting waste. Since the brand has not quite achieved its zero cutting waste goal, it has partnered with Blue Jeans Go Green to use its cutting waste for denim insulation in homes.
While purchasing from companies like these is always important, using your purchasing power as huge shopping days are around the corner, namely Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is absolutely imperative. Last year, Black Friday raked in $7.43 billion and Cyber Monday brought in $9.42 billion in revenue in the United States alone. So, with these two days being so important for companies making money, it is a great way to have your voice heard by supporting environmentally sustainable companies for your holiday shopping.