Fast fashion has taken over the industry. Companies such as Uniqlo, H&M*, Zara, and Forever 21 produce mass amounts of cheaply made, low-quality clothing that won’t last more than a few months, perhaps a little over a year if you’re really lucky and take good care of your clothes. What’s more, these companies produce clothing that’s considered “in” for the time being but “out” in a few weeks, so they’re always updating their collection with more and more clothes.
This is not sustainable and is awful for our planet, for a few reasons. One, the production methods to create these mass-produced clothes cause tons of pollution and excess waste that harms the environment. Two, these companies create excessive amounts of clothing that do not get sold, and they send the clothes to landfills instead of keeping them for next season. (This applies to some but not all fast fashion companies. But, still.) Three, the fast fashion industry encourages people to update their wardrobe constantly so that they keep up with the latest trends or fads, which leads to overconsumption. While some people do the right thing and donate/give away/sell their old clothing, others throw them away without a second thought. The latter is not the way to go.
But, enough about what fast fashion companies do wrong and what’s wrong with the fast fashion industry. This post is about sustainable, environmentally friendly fashion companies that do it right. This post is meant to encourage people to deviate from the former and invest in the latter. I will admit, I was someone who loved, shopped at, and advocated for places like H&M. But, the more I learned about the fast fashion industry, as well as sustainable fashion companies, I stopped shopping at the fast fashion places. I learned to practice what I preached: choose quality over quantity. I now invest in every piece of clothing I buy, opting for higher-quality, sustainable garments that happen to come at a higher price point. However, these garments will last 10x as long, which gives me a higher return on my investment. I’m 100% okay and happy with that. Here are three companies I believe in and am investing in as I overhaul my wardrobe.
For those who know me, I’ve spoken about ASKET before. For those who read my blog but don’t know me personally or very well, I’ve written about them when I wrote a product review on their “The Sweatshirt.” Either way, I love ASKET and have advocated for them for a while.
ASKET, a Swedish-based company committed to slowing down the fashion industry, create men’s wardrobe essentials that are high-quality (think: Egyptian cotton and Japenese raw denim) and meant to last, all while keeping the price tag reasonable. They put time and care into their permanent clothing collection to ensure every article won’t fail their customers and will embody their company’s mission.
They also do this amazing thing called “Full Traceability,” in which they trace every component of their garments, from where the raw materials come from to every factory involved in their creation. They are not at 100% Full Traceability yet, but they work toward this goal continuously, and I know they’ll reach it someday. And, finally, on top of every fantastic thing that ASKET does to achieve sustainability, they have a shipping option called “RePack” — a 100% recyclable package that reduces CO2 emissions and produces less trash — that can be returned and reused up to 20 times!
ASKET is more than a minimalistic clothing company focused on a core clothing line meant to combat fast fashion. They are quickly becoming a leader in sustainable fashion, and I plan to stand behind them for years.
Patagonia, the outdoor clothing and gear company based in California, deserves 1,000 damn awards for their commitment to sustainability and saving our world. It’s simply too much to include in one blog without writing a book, so I will mention a few things about them. To start, they produce their clothing from recycled materials, organic cotton, and other environmentally friendly materials to cut down on waste and reduce landfill.
They also are committed to restoring their customers’ damaged clothing, offering unparalleled services to either repair the clothing or offer different solutions, so their customers continue to wear their “old” Patagonia clothing instead of throwing them away and buying more. Also, similar to ASKET, they have “Footprint Chronicles” to offer transparency into their supply chain, showing customers what textile mills, factories, and farms they use.
Oh, and as I am sure some of you know, they donated their 10-million-dollar tax cut to groups fighting climate change. Talk about an amazing donation and way to help save our world. This is on top of their commitment to donate “at least 1 percent of our sales to help hundreds of grassroots organizations,” states their “Company Info” page.
Again, I could go on and on about Patagonia. But, I cannot write forever, right? So, explore their website and read all about the great things they do! I’ve come to love them the more I research them, and their mission “to save our home planet” inspires me to help any way I can.
Bread & Boxers
Bread & Boxer sells essential basics — underwear, socks, shirts, lounge pants — that are a viable option for everyday basics. While their products may seem simple, the work they put into their products for sustainable reasons is far from it.
They create their clothing from organic cotton and cold-dye their products. The former produces long-lasting clothing that you won’t toss out after a few months, while the latter “reduces the water consumption by half and minimizes energy consumption,” according to their website. I’ve owned their underwear for a few months now, but they show no signs of wear even after dozens of wears and washes.
Bread & Boxers also opt for sea shipping instead of air or ground to minimize their carbon footprint, which is something I’ve never heard of as a primary shipping method or even thought about, really. It makes sense, but I always thought air shipping was more environmentally friendly on the grander scale.
This company makes a great effort to be sustainable, from the materials they use to the shipping method they prefer, and their efforts earned them a spot in this post.
The fast fashion industry had its glory, but now it’s time for the sustainable fashion industry to take over. However, that’s not saying fast fashion companies should vanish completely. They should evolve, taking a page from sustainable fashion companies to use organic or recycled materials; develop a core collection of clothing to focus on, instead of changing what they sell constantly; and choose production methods that do not harm the environment. By turning all fashion companies sustainable, maybe we can get one step closer to saving the planet.