By Lily Brechbill
If you are addicted to shopping like I am, then you have probably experienced a time where you purchased a garment from a cheap fast fashion retailer, but then you only wore it once and never touched it again. From the consumer’s perspective, fast fashion is cheap, convenient and disposable. It makes impulse buying clothing extremely easy and affordable. For college students, it makes more sense to buy clothes that are as inexpensive as possible, which is why fast fashion brands have grown in popularity in such a short amount of time.
Fast fashion is a business model that utilizes low quality materials and cheap labor to produce clothing at a rapid pace. In order to meet such high demands, fashion brands are quick to manufacture and overstock stores with large amounts of product. Merchandise that doesn’t sell is then removed from the shelf and disposed of in various ways thrown away to make room for the next wave of collections. This is how fast fashion works. Because of this, the consumer’s insatiable appetite for convenient and cheap fashion is having a negative effect on the environment and on our communities. Fashion is the second most pollution-causing industry in the world, and the second largest polluter of clean water. High speed production means more clothes are being thrown away while creating more textile waste. If we continue to consume fast fashion at such a high rate, the consequences will be catastrophic to our planet.
Fortunately, there is something we can do as consumers to help combat these issues, and that is shopping sustainably. Sustainable clothing is designed using eco-friendly fabrics and production methods in order to have a less negative impact on our planet. Shopping sustainable doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult; there are some excellent sustainable clothing brands that are perfect for the college student consumer. Here are five clothing brands that sell sustainable and affordable fashion for everyone:
1. Alternative Apparel
Alternative Apparel is on a mission to create stylish and comfortable clothing without damaging the environment. Most of their garments are crafted using sustainable materials and processes, including their packaging which is made of biodegradable materials. Alternative Apparel uses organic fabrics such as cotton, hemp, linen and other recycled fabrics. They are most known for their casual activewear (t-shirts, sweatpants, hoodies, etc.) with prices starting as low as $10 and priced not more than $75.
2. KNOWN SUPPLY
KNOWN SUPPLY is working on fixing the fashion industry by connecting the workers who make the clothing with the ones who buy and wear it. Every item they produce is hand-signed by the person who made it. Certified organic cotton is used as the main fabric source for almost every garment produced, and they continue to introduce more sustainable fabrics into their collections. They also partner with Fair Trade Certified factories to make sure their production process is sweatshop-free and completely transparent. Their clothes are extremely affordable with t-shirts ranging from $25 to $40, while dresses and pants range anywhere from $50 to $70.
3. Dazey LA
Dazey LA is an apparel and accessories brand that features hand drawn t-shirt designs inspired by 70’s graphics and other vintage art. Their entire product line is ethically and sustainably produced in Los Angeles using organic cotton and other deadstock fabrics. The brand tries to empower women through conversation. Their t-shirts include phrases that are perfect for conversation starters and serve as a reminder to the wearer to always feel strong and empowered. Prices range from $50 for a graphic tee, to around $70 for a dress.
4. PACT Apparel
PACT Apparel produces quality garments with the worker, the consumer and the environment in mind. They manufacture their clothing in India using organic cotton and other synthetic fabrics using processes that save water and avoid toxic chemicals. They’re also partners with fair trade factories which provide safe working conditions and support local communities. They offer their customers carbon offset shipping and a clothing donation program. The majority of their products are priced under $50, making PACT Apparel an affordable place to start transitioning to a more sustainable wardrobe.
5. Love Justly
Love Justly offers ethical, sustainable and fair-trade clothing and accessories. They partner with ethical fashion brands all over the world to purchase their excess stock, then resell those garments on their website for a more affordable price. Love Justly is a budget friendly online shop with an assortment of their clothing under $50. Also, 5% of their profits give back to the Legacy Collective, which is an organization that focuses on improving the lives of local and global communities.
Shopping sustainably has often been perceived as luxury shopping because the price points can often be compared to high-end designers and brands. But fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are more ethical brands entering the market utilizing sustainable and high-quality materials that lower the cost of manufacturing and help decrease the impact that clothing manufacturing has on the environment.
The clothing brands I listed above are helping pave the way to more affordable and sustainable clothing. College is the perfect time to explore new things, so I encourage you to start shopping more sustainably. Research where you buy your clothes, know what materials are being used and find out what impact your purchase has on the environment. Become a part of the process and help encourage change.
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