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Answer This: Hey GOOD Community, Where Can I Buy Socially Sustainable Clothing?

Hannah Kim

When
August 7, 2013

I want to be a better consumer and I was hoping that the GOOD community could help me educate myself so I can make better choices with my purchases.

What are some brands/stores/organizations that are socially sustainable with their merchandise (not harmful to the environment, fair to employees and surrounding communities)? Any tips on how to navigate this sphere and make the best choices?

Inappropriate?

Discuss

  • Greg Kamphuis

    i can't believe that good guide isnt recommended here isn't it association with good. its really awesome if you are from the states, its not just clothing!

  • Natasha Boyle

    These guys are called Conscious Step and they make good quality socks that solve social problems - at the moment it's just men's socks sizes but the designs are unisex, and in the future there will be women's as well - or if you have medium to large feet they would fit :)
    http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/conscious-step-socks-that-solve-social-problems--2
    They are looking at the 'supporting social organisations that do good' side of things, with proceeds from each sock sold being donated to various global organisations that help those in need. The ingenious part is, i think, that depending on the sock design, the proceeds will go to a different organisation! what do you think of this - would you buy them?

  • Purakai Clothing

    I love your question. It's something that I thought about for a long time and recently decided to do something about. After all of my research my daughter and I co-founded a company called PuraKai, it means Pure Ocean, all of our fabrics are Ocean Friendly. You can learn more here: http://kck.st/1bj4lCW

    The goal was to build a socially responsible company around the idea that the clothing we choose to purchase does have an impact, and it's mostly negative, from the 1,1127 garment workers that were killed in Bangladesh to the massive amounts of herbicides and pesticides used to grow cotton the supply chain for clothing needs an overhaul. Our project is just one small way to make a little difference: www.purakai.com.

  • Todd Tyrtle

    I love used clothing - thrift stores, consignment shops, yard sales, all are great places to get clothing that didn't have to travel around the world and didn't require additional questionable labour to be used to get a new shirt.

    I'd also suggest trying to organize a clothing swap. Friends of mine have done it privately and a former landlord of ours set up a neighbourhood one. People brought clothes to the rink house at our local park on one day and got a ticket for every item they brought in. Then the next day everything was all hung up and you used your tickets to buy what you wanted. What was left was donated.

  • Tina Patel

    American Apparel! They sell sweatshop free clothing.

  • EviePhillips

    Another great site to check out is www.culturesoflove.com merging fashion and philanthropy. Changing the world one chic item at a time. They offer really great fashion and beauty items. Plus many times they are exclusive items just for them so you can't find them anywhere else.

  • SwellasCo

    So lovely to see do-gooders sharing insights on how to shop sustainably; giving Swellas Co. even more reasons to exist in our social conscious world. Cheers to looking good while doing good.

  • buenavida

    Given Goods (givengoods.co) is a great site for socially conscious consumers, and they sell some of my favorite items. I just found a pretty awesome backpack from ESPEROS (www.esperosbags.com) that helps send a child in need to school for a year with every purchase, too. How cool is that?

  • kgavenda

    Mata Traders! A fair trade clothing and accessories company that works with women's cooperatives in India and Nepal. Great, vintage-inspired, colorful pieces.

    www.matatraders.com

  • Kelsi Boyle

    Heck yeah, I love this conversation! Roozt is definitely the place to go, with over 300 brands and 7,000 products with some sort of social or environmental cause integration. I recommend reading the story behind each brand so you can find out exactly which areas they are focused on (green initiatives, fair trade, buy-one-give-one, etc.) http://www.roozt.com/

  • Katrin Hillenbrand

    Patagonia and Houdini are both doing pretty good in terms of sustainability and fair working conditions. Patagonia used organic cotton only (a disturbing 10% of pesticides and nearly 25% of insecticides are being used in the conventional cotton industry).
    Houdini uses recycled textiles in their production.

    Check this out:
    www.rankabrand.org
    www.ethicaltrade.org
    www.fairlabor.org

    • Hannah Kim

      these sites are so helpful!! Thank you so much. Some of the brands here I expected and then some are surprising. It's really helpful and educational to see what brands do what

  • Rashi Verma

    Visit The Ethical Fashion Forum and they have lots to give you on sustainable fashion. I am a fellow under them too and would be soon launching my own line of recycled jewelry! Hope this helps

    • Hayley Johnson

      Roozt is great! I'm so glad you're a fan of the site. All of the brands on Roozt are socially conscious-- you can choose products based on ethical, humanitarian, and eco-friendly impact. Onzie (http://www.roozt.com/Onzie/index.html) is a favorite of mine!

  • Casey Caplowe

    Pact is a pretty great newish company that does my favorite socks (and they also make underwear and other basics that i can't yet personally vouch for). http://www.wearpact.com/

    They use organic cottons and such and a portion of proceeds goes to social impact orgs. Right now they're funding micro loans with the whole planet foundation.

    • Kelsi Boyle

      I can vouch for the undies — they are fabulous. And they use wind power too!!! I loooooove PACT.

  • Joe Morrison

    It's not clothing, but it's an accessory anyway: Pax Backpacks. I just launched it this morning! American made backpacks that support disadvantaged students by donating 22% of profit to after school programming in the lowest income middle schools in the country. Check out our Indiegogo campaign here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/pax-backpacks-american-made-daypacks-on-a-mission-to-pack-up-poverty/x/4224938 or check out the website at www.paxbackpacks.com

    • Hannah Kim

      wow I love this!! so awesome. thanks for sharing :)

  • Brooke Johnson

    Check out Savingtheworldapparel.com American/Canadian made products, environmentally friendly dyes, every product donates to charity. Look good, do good, feel good.

  • adbierach

    Buy used clothing. Buffalo Exchange is great.

    • Adele Peters

      Yes! I think used clothing is the ultimate choice from a sustainability standpoint (that, and keeping the clothing you have as long as you can...).

      • adbierach

        Agreed! I am always hesitant about the notion that we can buy our way out of environmental degradation and social ills. While I acknowledge the role more sustainable industry plays in the bigger picture, we should first consider if we really need to buy something new. This is true of fashion, but most other industries as well. Is buying a 2013 Prius better than driving a car from the 80’s? While the fuel economy difference is considerable, the resource extraction and manufacturing process required for the new Prius may negate the fuel savings.

        I’m not saying we shouldn’t buy new cars or new anything, I’m just suggesting that consumerism is a more systemic issue than unsustainable or unethical fashion. After all, it is the demand for a high volume of cheap goods that has led to the state of the fashion industry.

        However, there is a place for new, and for buying things of quality that were built to last, so on that note I encourage everyone to check out www.apolisglobal.com. They have a great model and do an excellent job profiling the origin stories of their products.

        • Hannah Kim

          I completely agree! As I am preparing to move out of my apartment, I am realizing how much stuff I can reuse, or donate to other people so they can reuse/upcycle it- thus minimizing my need to buy new things constantly.
          Becoming less avaricious consumers should be our ultimate goal- but if we must buy, we should make sure our choices are not hurting the environment or other people. Great feedback and thoughts, I love it

  • Nathan Rothstein

    if you are looking to preserve t-shirt memories, upcycle, and create fair wage jobs in the USA- you can check us out projectrepat.com

  • mr meow

    vintage shops, charity shops, american apparel

    • Carl Carter

      their exclusive "made in third world countries" KOHLS line of clothing would beg to contradict this article.

    • Hannah Kim

      Great article, thanks so much for sharing. I always thought of H&M as a cheap brand that wasn't particularly sustainable, but I'm so glad to hear of the initiatives they are putting in place! :)