Do you have the feeling that clothing brands with sustainable fashion have been multiplying in recent years?
Do you want to find out once and for all what separates the "quasi" provider of environmentally friendly fashion from the genuine and legitimate ones?
Then I'm glad you're here, because you've found yourself in the right place. With the rise of ethical fashion, many clothing brands are trying to increase their audience by using a special technique known in the fashion industry as "green washing" or "green deception"
*"Greenwashing" occurs when a brand guarantees the sustainability of clothes that aren't really that sustainable because they want to get you to buy them. One example of "green washing" is labeling clothes with certifications that can make them seem more ethical than they really are.
And since I don't want you to inadvertently fall into a trap just because you want to do something nice for yourself or for the environment , I will present 4 important certificates below, that guarantee you that the chosen brand is actually ethical and sustainable.
I myself have been a big fan of fashion since I was little...
I was always looking at magazines, imagining some crazy combinations and dreaming about all kinds of clothes. Over the years, however, it has become clear to me that often not all that glitters is gold, even when it comes to clothes. That's why I started my association with the fashion industry in the form of a special project, which I may tell you more about later...
First of all, I think it's right to briefly review the main certificates that let you know that the chosen garment is friendly to the environment as well as to you and your home. Therefore, it makes sense to start with the one that is actually the GOLD STANDARD in the sustainable clothing industry and is probably the best indicator of the fact that it is really an environment-, human- and society-friendly garment:
#1 Certificate: Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
When it comes to green certifications, GOTS undoubtedly plays the highest role in ensuring quality, health-friendly and SAFE textiles. If you try to imagine it quickly, it's like talking about Tina Maze among female skiers :)
Not only does GOTS provide health-friendly substances that will eventually touch your skin and body, but at the same time it also changes the overall structure and issue, the connection with textile production: raw material production, ecological and socially responsible production, clear labeling to ensure authenticity, etc.
The basic criterion for obtaining the GOTS certificate is the requirement that the textile is made of at least 95% certified organic natural fibers, and those containing the GOTS certificate with the ORGANIC class mark must contain at least 70% certified organic fibers.
In addition to the content of natural fibers, clothes with the GOTS certificate are even more valued because:
- All chemical substances (dyes and other chemicals) meet the requirements regarding toxicity and biodegradability.
- The use of toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde, aromatic solvents, nanoparticles, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their enzymes is STRICTLY PROHIBITED
- The bleaches are based on oxygen instead of chlorine, and the oils do not contain heavy metals.
- The same applies to printing on fabrics: it must not contain plastic elements, PVC, nickel or chrome.
- Units with water processes accurately record the use of chemical substances, energy consumption, water consumption and waste water and sediment disposal at all times.
- Waste water from processing processes must be cleaned in purification systems.
- The plants used in production must not be genetically modified.
To top it all off, in addition to the natural criteria listed above, production must also meet the minimum social standards set by the International Labor Organization (ILO): Forced labor or slavery is strictly prohibited, employees have the right to freely associate and negotiate when concluding contracts, they are guaranteed healthy working conditions and wages that ensure cost coverage.
Complementing your wardrobe with GOTS certified clothing is really much more than enjoying beautiful new pieces of clothing. With every purchase of such a fashion item, you not only help yourself look beautiful, but also become part of a wonderful change in the world.
#2 Certificate: Global Recycled Standard (GRS)
GRS is an excellent indicator that your chosen sweater, shorts, or any other piece of clothing is really made of (or contains) recycled materials.
It is a production standard that ensures that the final product contains as much prescribed recycled materials as possible. In addition, all clothes under the GRS label that end up in your closet are equipped with additional environmental and social criteria:
- Reducing the harmful impact of production on people and the environment. In this way, during the production of clothes, the employees are also protected, not only the nature.
- High percentage of recycled content in clothing. GRS covers the processing, production, packaging, labelling, trading and distribution of all products containing at least 20% recycled materials,
- Responsible production and
- Transparent communication.
To summarize... the main goals of GRS are to ensure good working conditions and reduce the negative impact on the environment by reusing discarded raw materials. If you are also a big animal lover and you somehow don't want to "meet" them in your clothes, the following certificate may attract you.
#3 Certificate: PETA-Approved Vegan
If you want as little (or absolutely no) animal materials in your clothes, then it's a good idea to look for the "PETA-Approved Vegan" certificate on the labels. In this case, it is clothing (or other products) made from vegan alternatives to animal materials, such as leather, fur, silk, feathers or bones.
The PETA-Approved Vegan logo helps you recognize vegan products at a glance while shopping and make a purchase that may also be in line with your values.
But that's the way it is... Despite the fact that it's a world-renowned certificate, which is carefully attached to their brand by a large number of companies, I warmly advise you to be careful when choosing...
The logo can really tell you whether a certain brand or piece of clothing is vegan or not, but the criteria are much less demanding than with the above GRS. That's why I recommend that in such cases you try to find some other "proof" or the fact that it really is animal-friendly products and thus eliminate your doubts.
The last important indicator in the search for sustainable fashion brands is a certificate that, in addition to the environment, also protects workers in the production process...
#4 Certificate: Fair Wear
The certificate is based on the conferences of the International Labor Organization and the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights.
In practice, this means that by choosing clothes that have a Fair Wear certificate, you support a healthy and fair working environment where:
- NO forced labor,
- NO employment discrimination,
- NO child labor abuse,
- employee salaries are sufficient for the basic needs of their families without "tightening their belts"
- working hours are acceptable and do not exceed 48 hours per week
- overtime is voluntary and properly paid
- working conditions are safe and healthy.
The foundation tackles inadequate working conditions in garment factories by constantly looking for more appropriate solutions and introducing incremental improvements to companies' work processes that create real change for people.
So, my dear…
With this, we are slowly approaching the end of this informative article, in which I hope that you managed to learn something new and that the above information will help you distinguish "green" clothes from those that are a little "less green".
Among the mass clothing brands that emerge every year, only a few % are still labeled as "green"...
Despite the fact that the awareness of sustainable fashion may be much higher today than years ago, the cost of producing sustainable fashion is still decisive for many, and to top it off, more "greenwashing" appears every year. But I'm sure you don't want to go from store to store and read the labels of every t-shirt or sweater you like - especially in these strange times.
Otherwise, it's hard to guess from afar what kind of clothing you might be looking for at this moment. However, it is quite likely that a brand that is dedicated to nature, comfort and bugs will be written on your skin.
Yes, you read that right :) Years ago, I managed to combine my love for the environment, fashion and health and thus create a unique clothing line that boasts not only one, but all of the above certificates.
Since I don't (yet) know you, it's a bit difficult to find out what you taste like. But it can happen that our Divinebugs brand is exactly what will restore your confidence in a just world - even in your closet :)
I wish you a wonderful day and pleasant and sustainable shopping,
Lidija from Divinebugs