How to Tell if a Clothing Brand is Really Sustainable

As more and more people become aware of the environmental impact of fast fashion, many are turning to sustainable clothing options. However, with so many brands claiming to be sustainable, it can be difficult to determine which ones are truly walking the walk. Here are some tips for how to tell if clothing and accessories are really sustainably made:

  • Look for certifications

One of the best ways to determine if a brand is truly sustainable is to look for certifications. These certifications are awarded by independent organizations and indicate that the brand has met certain environmental and social standards. Some of the most common certifications include GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), OEKO-TEX (Free of 350 toxic chemicals)*, Fair Trade, and B Corp. Look for these certifications on the brand's website or on the tag of the garment.

  • Check the materials

Another way to tell if clothes are sustainably made is to check the materials they're made from. Sustainable materials include organic cotton, wool, bamboo, and hemp. Look for garments that are made from these materials, and avoid synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon. If you need to use synthetic material, see if you can find something made from recycled polyester.

  • Consider the production process

The way a garment is produced can have a big impact on its sustainability. Look for brands that prioritize eco-friendly production processes, such as using low-impact dyes, reducing water usage, and minimizing waste. Additionally, consider whether the brand is transparent about its production process and working conditions for its employees. Fair wages for employees are also part of sustainability. If it is not a healthy environment for employees, it cannot truly be sustainable.

  • Look at the packaging

Sustainable brands will often use eco-friendly packaging, such as recycled paper or biodegradable materials. Look for brands that minimize packaging and use sustainable options when necessary.

  • Research the brand's values and mission

Finally, research the brand's values and mission to determine if they align with your own values. Look for brands that prioritize sustainability and ethical production, and avoid those that prioritize profits over people and the planet.

In conclusion, determining whether clothes are truly sustainably made requires some research and due diligence. Look for certifications, check the materials and production process, consider the packaging, and research the brand's values and mission. By doing so, you can make more informed choices about the clothes you buy and support brands that are truly committed to sustainability. 

To learn more about Joining Yarn's commitment to sustainability, click here


*GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) and OEKO-TEX are both certifications that relate to the sustainability and safety of textile products. However, there are some key differences between the two.

GOTS is a certification that applies specifically to organic textiles, including both fibers and finished products. In order to be certified under GOTS, products must contain at least 70% organic fibers, and the production process must meet strict environmental and social criteria. This includes requirements for chemical use, water usage, waste management, and working conditions for employees.

OEKO-TEX, on the other hand, is a certification that applies to textiles at any stage of production, regardless of whether or not they are organic. The OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification is focused on ensuring that textiles are free from harmful substances, including pesticides, heavy metals, and formaldehyde. The certification is designed to protect both the environment and the health of consumers.

While both certifications are focused on sustainability and safety in the textile industry, they have different areas of focus. GOTS is primarily concerned with organic fibers and ensuring that production processes meet strict environmental and social criteria. OEKO-TEX, on the other hand, is focused on ensuring that textiles are free from harmful substances, regardless of whether or not they are organic. Ultimately, the choice between these two certifications may depend on your specific sustainability goals and priorities.

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