Green and Ethical Fashion Tips

By Mallika Naguran

Consumers have the power to stop fashion industry’s animal testing, human rights abuse and environment destruction. Choose to buy only brands that have minimal impact - from cultivation, production to supply chain.

Ask for fair trade and ethical brands in your favourite mall that do not abuse animals, children, the poor and destroy the environment.

Support local talents. Donate stray beads, buttons, broken jewellery to a fashion store for re-use.

Spruce up old jeans, jackets with new iron-ons or embroidery, or donate them.

Wear lightweight fleece jackets made from recycled plastics. It keeps you warmer even after rain!

Use recycled or organics. Avoid polyester and nylon. The petrochemical-based materials take vast amounts of water and energy to produce, and long time to biodegrade.

Choose printed designs that use plant dyes, not chemicals.

Avoid leather. Its cocktail of treatment chemicals contaminate even groundwater.

Say no to PVC shoes. Choose recycled fibres instead. Look also for rubber soles certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Resist buying into trends. Novelty soon wears off, leaving waste behind and precious resources spent unwisely.

Return excess packaging and boxes at the cash counter for re-use.

Spotting Ecological Textiles:

Organic – crop cultivated without pesticides, chemicals and synthetic fertilisers. Examples: Organic Cotton, Organic Silk, Organic Wool, Silk, Jute, Hemp, Ramie

Manmade – yarn extracted from other sources. Examples: Coconut, Corn, Soya, Milk Protein, Lyocell, Seacell, Modal

Recycled (Biodegradable) – made from recycled materials. Example: Recycled Cotton, Recycled Polyester (PE or polyethylene, PP or polypropylene, PLA or polylactic acid, PET or polyethylene terephthalate)

The writer first contributed a version of this article to Discovery Channel Magazine.


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