The news keeps pouring in. The world of fashion is changing. Since the beginning of Greenpeace’s Detox campaign, major clothes company have been committing to cleaning up their process and undertaking a large-scale elimination of chemicals in their garments by the year 2020. From the start, brands like Nike, Adidas, Puma, H&M,M&S, C&A and Li-Ning eventually pledged to take action. But, lately, victory after victory kept coming in: Zara, Levi’s, Esprit, Mango, United Colors of Benetton, Uniqlo (from Japan) and now, the world-famous fallen angels of Victoria’s Secret is joining the fight against toxic pollutants, for a total of fourteen retailers since the inception of the campaign. And, if this important corporation – along with La Senza and Limited – takes part in undergoing a full-blown cleaning of their act, who knows what will happen next?
They’re not going organic yet, but this first step is already a crucial one to help any form of living creature of our planet. Watch the video in this article to get a good glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes. By sending our manufactures to places like this one - Qiantang River, Zhejian province, in China, where more than one third of dying and printing process of that country takes place – most people don’t find out what their purchasing habits caused.
If these were toys, they would’ve been banned in several countries across the world. The dangerous products in these lines of clothes include high levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals, such as phthalates and perfluorines.
Therefore, Greenpeace is asking them to not only drastically reduce the use of harmful products, but to become more transparent as to what goes into their garments. They also have to ensure the employees’ safety and stop dumping into waterways.
The support of fashionistas and consumers was incredible. This is a campaign that has known an amazing level of success, and the end of the addiction to chemicals could become a reality. However, even though Greenpeace is exposing some of the worst culprits, how does one know when the product they are purchasing may contain some of the harsh chemicals we would like to eliminate?
The clothes to look for are the ones that are typically called ‘fast-fashion’. Of course, they are not the only pollution-producers of the industry, but their lines are the most dangerous. Stores that announce that fashion doesn’t have to be expensive are the ones that you can bet rely on cheap labour in overcrowded and hazardous manufactures and use the least expensive and most harmful dies for the material. Some people even claim that they can smell the toxicity of the shoes or garments in the store.
What can you do? First, try to boycott these stores as much as possible until they have FINISHED committing to the detox of their products. Do not go back to buying their clothes until it is done since they could, at some point, change their minds and return to their good old harmful habits.
In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to continue wearing great clothes without breaking your budget:
1- Buy used clothing. Nowadays, with consignment on the rise, used clothing stores are no longer for impoverished people who are so desperate they’ll take whatever people donate. Today, these stores carry clothes that, at times, still have the price tag on – and were bought only a few months earlier! Impulse buying is an addiction for some, and they are glad to get at least part of the amount they paid for their mistakes. And you end up with barely worn high fashion garments, at great prices.
2- Consider looking for small, local designers in your area. They often create beautiful, unique and high-quality clothes that don’t cost as much as expensive, large-scale designers like Gucci, and are just as stunning. Not only are they less harmful to the environment, you are encouraging your local economy. And, they often have crazy end of season sales… I’ve bought clothes for as low as 5$ from these makers because they HAVE TO get rid of everything when the season is over since they don’t have the necessary storage facilities.
3- Look for organic clothes. They are not always more expensive than regular clothes. You’d be surprised.
4- If you have a close friend who happens to be the same size as you, why not share and swap? Buy one very expensive chic dress and share it. I’m not suggesting that you share absolutely everything, but this way, you can reduce your clothes consumption.
5- Buy just a few very high quality garments instead of many cheaper options that will eventually lead to more environmental damage. No matter what goes into the clothes, you are using resources. If you find classical pieces that you know you will wear for many years to come, it’s worth paying the price. Purchase just a couple per season if this is all you can afford, and eventually, you will have a solid, full closet of great clothes that you can own for as long as they last instead of dumping every year to follow fashion.
6- Buy a few beautiful accessories and mix and match. This way, you will think you have more clothes than you really do. Others will be duped into thinking the same thing.
7- Watch ‘What Not to Wear’. I am actually not one to encourage fashion in any shape or form because I don’t like how people want what everyone has; but, this show is great for giving you tips and tricks on how to look your very best. The people they select to be on the show are what they call ‘fashion disasters’, but anyone can learn from them. They have shows for men, too. Here is one of their shows and there are more on youtube. By knowing how to look good, you may be much less tempted to throw out old clothes and buy new ones.
Picture is from one of the Greenpeace articles.
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