Research and Responsibility

As wearers, it can be overwhelming and daunting when navigating online stores and clothing tags to find answers about how garments are made and what their economic, environmental, social, and cultural impacts are to decide if purchasing that garment aligns with our values. While there are resources within sustainable fashion groups that outline brands that are trustworthy, these resources use their own definitions of success and healthy systems to determine what is a good enough brand to purchase from or not. As consumers, part of our responsibility is to do our own research. We need to respect and be proud of our own personal definitions of success because we are all unique and all have the right to express our values in our own ways. This is why learning how to conduct research in a realistic and approachable way is necessary for users to be fully empowered to use clothing as a tool to fully representing their own values.

Production

Brand Transparency and Responsibility: Brands set an example of for their consumers with how they take responsibility in their production and education as a company. If a brand encourages education of production, maintenance of a garment, and what to do when a consumer no longer needs a garment than there is a higher likelihood the consumer will think and act on those messages as well. On the other side of the spectrum, if a brand isn't open about their production process and doesn't educate their consumers about use and disposal of clothing than odds are they haven't thought about it either. Find brands that engage you as a consumer, that want to share their production, that want to educate you on taking care of your clothing. The two brands below, Eileen Fisher and Patagonia, are both brands that practice transparency in production, education to consumers, and take responsibility for their clothing by taking their garments back after consumers are done using them to be reused or recycled.

Check out these resources to learn more:

EILEEN FISHER

PATAGONIA

Make it Approachable and Realistic: Researching brands, the impacts of clothing production, and trying to find enough information to feel like you have enough information to make a decision can be stressful and exhausting. Be patient with yourself and start by taking small steps by focusing on what is the most important impact to you. Focus on one thing, like what economic, environmental, social, or cultural impact you want your clothing to have and start researching brands that share that same focus

Check out these resources to learn more:

The toughest part of researching brands if finding enough information for you to feel confident and comfortable with their clothings impact. 

Because of this, don't be afraid to contact the brand to ask them your specific questions. 

If after contacting them you still don't feel like you have enough information to make a decision, don't be afraid to step away from your purchase. Keep in mind that their impacts become your impacts once you buy their product. Keep your standards high and keep your focus on your goal.

Check out FASHION REVOLUTION to look up brands and learn more.

Obtaining

Committing to a Gameplan: Before purchasing any garment think about what you are willing to do to take care of it and if it can be recycled and potentially reused afterward. Once a garment is in your wardrobe it is your responsibility. How you use that garment has its own impacts. If you feel like you can commit to taking care of it, maintaining it, mending it and using it, go for it! Every garment has an impact while it is in a wardrobe and you as the wearer have the power to decide what kind of impact your clothing has. Think about it, plan it, and commit to a plan to use your clothing to its full potential.

Check out these resources to learn more:

When shopping includes your commitment to the garment in your decision-making process. The more familiar you are with thinking about your garment as a resource that needs to be maintained and taken care of the more likely you are to act when the time comes. 

Use/Reuse

Committing to Maintenance Clothing:  Responsibility starts by finding clothes that match your values and continues with how you maintain and use your clothing. For every garment, you own think of the responsibility you have for that resource. Natural and human resources were used to make that garment, and it is up to you to decide how you want to use that resource.

Check out these resources to learn more:

Start with your strengths!

Do you like to use your skills? Commit to mending and altering.

Do you love garments that will last? Invest in quality and maintain them.

Get bored with your clothing? Commit to updating them to stay new and fresh

Learn more about the benefits of mending: CLICK HERE 

Disposal

Dispose with Intention: Your responsibility for your garments extends to how you get rid of them. Find ways of disposing of your clothing that continues its use as a resource. Donate, recycle, or giving your clothing to groups that can re-sell and re-purpose so that your resources don't end up in the landfill. These are all responsible options to say goodbye to your clothes, pick one that works for you.