Denim is one of the most universally loved materials in fashion, but it can also be one of the most polluting. The environment suffers greatly from denim production as it uses copious amounts of cotton, water, and toxic chemicals and dyes. However, with 57% of consumers expressing their desire for brands to adopt greener practices, fashion brands producing denim must adapt to address sustainability. This is good news for the eco-conscious customer, but environmental efforts do not stop at the companies making and selling clothes. Consumers, too, must act in order to propel these changes forward. If you’re wondering how to sustainably shop for denim, here are 5 tips for you.
Research sustainable brands
Not all brands that market themselves as sustainable actually are sustainable. There remains a great deal of greenwashing in the fashion industry. This is when brands use eco-related buzzwords for promotion without backing it up with real data.
For this reason, it’s important to do your research on sustainable brands and materials. Fashion brands focused on ethical sourcing and work environments are transparent about their production process. This information is usually available on their website. You can also use websites like Good On You in order to point you toward ethical and sustainable fashion brands and learn more about what their practices are.
Be strategic about style
One of the keys to prolonging your clothes’ life is by making sure they are versatile. This means that you can style, mix, and match them in many different ways. This is easy enough to do with denim pieces, whether it be jeans or jackets. Make sure that when you shop for denim, the clothes that you’re buying aren’t going to be tossed aside after just a couple of uses. Choose timeless silhouettes that complement your frame and the rest of your existing wardrobe, so that you can come back to them time and time again.
Choose materials that promote longevity
Beyond choosing clothes with sustainable style, make sure you also choose fabrics that are environmentally friendly, since not all denim is produced with equal carbon footprints. Polyester, for instance, continues to release harmful microplastics even after purchase so textiles that include this synthetic material continue to impact the environment after production. Before making your purchase, look for articles of clothing that have been made with organic and natural fibers. Fibers made from renewable wood sources like TENCEL™ for example, have a low environmental impact in production and retain biodegradability upon disposal.
Buy pre-loved or vintage
One of the major factors contributing to the fashion industry’s pollution is clothes that have been tossed out. Over the last 15 years, the amount of clothes filling landfills has doubled. Fortunately, buying clothes secondhand reduces your carbon, waste, and water footprint by 82%. Not only is thrifting denim more economically viable, but pre-loved clothes are cheaper. It also allows for more unique finds and even quality or luxury vintage items that are no longer on the market. This means that for denim, heading over to your favorite thrift store lets you find classic pieces that can be a statement in your wardrobe.
Care for your denim pieces
Lastly, it’s important to care for your existing denim pieces. One of the most basic ways to do this is by making sure you minimize washing. Washing only when necessary allows denim to age better and reduces the release of microplastics as well as water usage. You can also practice repairing your items before tossing them out to prolong their lifespan.
Acquiring denim adds a timeless touch to your wardrobe. With sustainability being the new trend in fashion, being conscious about how you shop for denim can help you stay in style.