When shopping online, you know the kinds of products you’re looking for. You may know you prefer the feel of natural fibers and want organic materials because they’re better for your body and the environment.
But how do you shop consciously online? How can you be sure that clothing is made sustainably? How do you know the company uses fair trade practices and that the manufacturing is ethical?
Being a conscious shopper may seem overwhelming, but by knowing what to look for on the sites you’re shopping on, you can use your research skills to find clothes that are organic, sustainable, and ethically made.
It’s not just good for you and your body — it’s also better for the planet.
Look for a Company’s Principles
As a conscious shopper, one of the best ways to find out if a company’s site is one you want to shop at is by looking at their principles to see if they align with your own.
If you are committed to buying natural, organic cotton and bamboo, how do you see if a brand is devoted to using them in all of their clothing items?
Often, a company will have a “Mission” or “About Us” page where they’ll share their brand story and goals. They’ll include information that will tell you if their goals align with what you’re searching for.
Things to look for include:
- Organic, Natural Materials: Is a company committed to avoiding pesticides and other harmful chemicals when farming and manufacturing products? Do they use natural fibers like bamboo, cotton, or silk, as opposed to synthetic ones like nylon and polyester?
- Carbon Footprint: Does a company work to offset carbon/greenhouse gas emissions? Are they carbon-neutral, or better yet — carbon positive?
- Energy and Water Use and Waste: How is the company working to limit its use of resources? How do they ensure they’re limiting waste and disposing of unused materials safely?
- After: Does the company have a plan for after you’ve used a clothing item? Synthetic materials like polyester and nylon aren’t naturally biodegradable — if you wear out a cotton pair of leggings, does the company have a plan so they can be recycled, reused, or returned to the environment safely?
Search for Transparency
Brands that are sustainable and use fair trade practices are going to be upfront about it. Because of the ethics their business is founded on, they want to make sure you can have peace of mind when shopping at their store.
On the flip side, if they’re not being mindful of the environment in their production process or using unethical labor practices, they’ll likely not share information on factories or where their clothing is made.
Some key things to look for to see how transparent a brand is include:
Production and supplier lists: Many brands will provide concise lists of all farmers, manufacturers, and others involved in the production process of the clothing. On this list, many will divulge if there have been independent checks to verify if workers are being paid fairly and have adequate breaks and reasonable work hours.
Clothing made in the USA typically has a better guarantee that it’s made ethically than some overseas production — but be mindful, as some reports have found workers in some US sweatshops are being exploited.
Find Items That Are Made to Last
As a conscious shopper, you’re probably aware of the problem of over-consumption, largely fueled by fast fashion.
While it may be tempting to buy 5 items for $5 to $10 apiece, there’s a reason those items are sold for such a low price. Unethical labor, and cheap, synthetic materials equate to a low cost — but the result is items that aren’t comfortable, breathable, or made to last.
A report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation found that the equivalent of a garbage truck of clothing is burned every second — with around $500 billion going to waste each year, simply because clothing is hardly worn and recycled.
While it may be a bit more of an investment, quality, well-made items from sustainable materials are worth it. They feel better, fit better, and last longer. They’re also better for the planet — so you can breathe easy when wearing your organic cotton bra to yoga or around the house.
At Blue Canoe, our clothing is made from organic, natural fibers. They’re made without herbicides, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers, so they’re gentle on your skin and the environment. Our products are sustainable — and all made in the USA. Check out our eco-conscious clothing to find all the clothing that suits your needs.
Blue Canoe. Designed for the greater good.