Finally! A sustainable fashion brand that doesn’t break the bank
7 Minute Read
Have you ever thought of asking: Who made my clothes? Were they paid well enough to support their family? Are there any sustainable fashion brands out there?
It’s not often that great fashion is paired with ethical standards (or comfort for that matter). But some companies are breaking the mold and moving towards a sustainable future. Take Everlane:
I first heard about them from a friend, and after doing some research, I was completely blown away by the company’s integrity and their commitment to sustainability. Their website went into a lot of detail about how their clothes were made, who made them, and how they were taking significant and conscious steps to producing sustainable clothing. It was clear that they spent a lot of time and energy researching and auditing the factories that they worked with—something that’s extremely rare in the fashion industry.
One thing that really struck me about Everlane is that they put the production costs of their clothes on their website. So uou can literally see how much money they spend on materials, labor and transportation. And instead of jacking up the price half a dozen times, or selling through third parties, they sell it at a reasonable mark-up. No B.S.
Ok. So they make ethical clothes. But do they actually look good?
Yes! This is not the age-old situation of buying comfortable shoes that look like you belong in a geriatric home. Nor does it involve buying clothes that look great, but feel like you can barely yawn without ripping a stitch. Everlane creates clothes that people actually want to wear.
They have all your basic essentials. And by basic, I don’t mean a wardrobe that looks like everyone else’s or follows the trend of the day. I’m talking about the essential pieces that make up a solid wardrobe that’ll last you for years. They’ve got items like jeans, tees, and jackets that are timeless, served alongside cozy sweaters and comfy shoes that you can dress up or down. They’ve even got bras and undies, so you can dress sustainably from the inside out.
The World’s Most Sustainable Jeans (at least in my opinion)
Jeans are a basic item in your wardrobe, but 99.9% of them are made in a factory that’s more concerned with profit than they are with the planet—but not Everlane. Their jeans are manufactured “in a LEED-certified facility [that] recycles 98% of its water, relies on alternative energy sources, and re-purposes [their] byproducts.” This type of production can save as much as 1500 liters of water per pair. That’s a lot!
To take it a step further, rather than drying these jeans in an industrial dryer that guzzles electricity, they air-dry them, just like in the olden days. I didn’t know this type of thinking still existed in the fashion world. Surprisingly, it does exist, and other brands are starting to follow in their footsteps. Companies like Conscious Step, TOMS and Eve Cork are just a few who prioritize giving back, environmental sustainability, and fair working conditions.
“These jeans sound expensive,” said your brain about 10 seconds ago, but surprisingly they’re not. Everlane’s jeans are actually significantly less expensive than big brands like Levi’s or Express. But I’ll be honest, if you’re shopping at Forever 21, then no doubt they’ll be more expensive. But unlike Forever 21, their jeans will actually last you till next season. In fact, they’ll last for as long as you can fit into them!
Choose What You Pay.
Sometimes companies in the fashion industry make too much inventory. And unlike Burberry, who thinks that burning £90 million of inventory is a good idea, Everlane offers that extra inventory at discounted prices, allowing you to choose how much you wanna pay.
Hold up! What do you mean by “burning?” Wellllll . . . the fashion industry has a widely accepted practice of burning excess inventory so the market isn’t over-saturated with product. Wait . . . WTF? In what twisted world is it more cost-effective to overproduce clothing, set it on fire, and still make more money than if you had properly calculated how much you needed? Couldn’t all that effort be put towards producing clothes that don’t eff up the planet in the first place?
People Over Profit
Everlane doesn’t mess around when it comes to choosing the factories that they work with. They rigorously audit factories from across the globe, choosing only the best for their sustainable fashion line. And by best, I’m talking about factories with high employee satisfaction, fair wages, and a genuine pride in their work. It’s not just about making profit. It’s about quality, care, and consideration. It’s about creating sustainable fashion for the future.
This shirt is made of 95% pima cotton that was hand-picked in Peru. It was manufactured by a family-owned, woman-owned factory, who’s future isn’t focused on getting bigger, but rather is about continually getting better.
The Never-Ending Search for Sustainability
I spent the entirety of last winter searching for a sustainably-made sweater that wasn’t made from itchy wool or synthetic materials. I remember walking into a sweater store, honing in on a few options, and scanning the labels for information about how they were produced. Time after time, I saw no mention of cruelty-free wool or sustainable manufacturing, so I asked the sales associate about the production of the sweaters. She looked at me and said, “Well, I’d like to think the wool is cruelty-free, but I’m not 100% certain.”
Tip for Ethical Shopping: That right there is the perfect way to know if a company is ethically making their products or not. Believe me, if they were taking any sort of sustainable or ethical measures, they’d make damn sure the consumer (and their employees) knew about it. Ethical and sustainable manufacturing isn’t an easy feat. It requires major due diligence, and of course money, so companies don’t take that extra step without making sure that consumers are well aware of their efforts.
So, back to my sweater search. I wanted something that was cozy and ethically made that actually looked good. Who knew that would be so difficult? After a lot of research (and patience), I finally found what I was looking for: a 100% cotton sweater that fits great, doesn’t ITCH, and is exceptionally and ethically made. I should’ve known from the start that Everlane would’ve had the solution to my problem.
always start (and end) with WHY
My sweater scavenger hunt reminded me of exactly why I started Mama Eco in the first place. It was my goal to eliminate the time and energy involved in finding sustainable products, so that people could easily shop sustainably. I hope it’s helping. I think it is.
To make your own search a little easier, feel free to check out all my sustainable fashion listings. And if that doesn’t float your boat, I also recently did a post on Thrift Shopping with 5 super useful tips to get you going. It’s a great entry into sustainable shopping, and will hopefully get you on the sustainable fashion track.