What's wrong with your clothes? It's not what you think.
What’s wrong with your clothes? It’s not what you think.
Listen, if you’ve still got those vintage gauchos in the closet, more power to you. Word has it gauchos are back. Far be it from us to judge.
But the outfit you’re wearing today comes with five little-known secrets
Clothing Secret #1: Toxic Chemicals
The shirt you’re wearing is infused with molecular-size toxins and carcinogens like glyphosate and other pesticides that can’t be washed out.
Clothing Secret #2: Shocking Water Waste
Dyeing one pair of jeans toxifies 10,000 gallons of water. A little black dress? More.
Clothing Secret #3: Poverty
That sexy cotton pencil skirt helped put hardworking families into an endless cycle of poverty.
Clothing Secret #4: Animal Harm
Leather isn’t the only thing that hurts animals. Many fabrics are processed in a way that injures, kills, or decimates animals and their habitats.
Many people think there’s nothing they can do. We all mean well, after all. Remember in The Lorax how the Once-ler had fabulous intentions? How bad could that be?
Now there’s nothing wrong with a business earning profits. And goodness knows we love fashion as much as the next gal.
But there are many ways to look good while you do good. Therein lies the final Clothing Secret.
Clothing Secret #5: Your Choices Will Change The Clothing Industry
You were on top of organic foods long before they were cool. Now you can’t throw a rock without hitting an organic farmer’s market.
Here’s how we can clean up the clothing industry too.
1. Insist on organic fabrics
Whether high end couture or mass production goods, if it doesn’t say “organic” it's made with chemicals. Conventional cotton, for example, is grown from seeds genetically modified to survive regular toxic dousing of glyphosate and other pesticides. These systemic toxins stay in the cotton fibers the same way they remain in the flesh of conventionally-grown strawberries.
Organic fabrics, however, must be made from raw materials grown without the use of chemicals, toxins, pesticides, insecticides, or herbicides. The organic label also requires responsible use of water and energy, and waste treatment must also be handled responsibly.
Some countries (like the U.S.) allow trace amounts of these toxins in their “organic” classification. So take the time to know your clothing’s process, and try to buy clothes made with \higher-than-U.S. standards. Here’s our process.
2. Let’s see your true colors shining through.
While your shocking pink mini is making waves at the benefit, rivers of the same color run through towns near garment factories. Synthetic dyes render water undrinkable, toxic and destroy the delicate local ecosystems supporting animal and human life.
When they’re in your clothes, these dyes are also on your skin. The oxidized metals, engine oil, diesel, acids, mica, alkalis, and glass powder can cause skin itchiness, flaking, redness, rashes, blisters, rosacea, acne, and eczema.
Don’t get caught red-handed in clothing made with synthetic dyes. It’s easy to switch to natural, organic, safely-dyed clothes. You’ll be amazed at the rainbow of both bright and subtle colors that can be attained using only natural fibers and biodegradable dyes.
3. Look away from those flashy, unsustainable separates.
Colorful bunny furs. Metallic parkas. One glimpse and you're already taking them off the hanger, while the earth’s soils are depleted of nutrients and working families are shamefully underpaid.
There is a human cost to most clothing manufacture. Next time you’re about to grab an incredible deal, keep in mind that the people (and children) who grow and process its material often work 14+ hour days for less than the cost of a macchiato. You have the right to know your clothing’s process and the right to demand sustainability.
4. Say no to these materials and be proud you did.
Before you try on those snakeskin Chelseas, ask whether they’re genuine skin, or cruelty-free. Shearling parkas and suede belts are obvious, but did you know that silk scarves and wool sweaters cause pain or death to animals too? Even conventional, non-organic cotton harms animals by polluting their habitats.
Wool: Shearing is an invasive and painful process for sheep, who grow their woolly coats to protect themselves from extreme temperatures. Many die from hypothermia as a result of sheering, and unethical shearing often results in untreated injury, infection, and death.
Silk: Silk is obtained from the cocoon fiber produced by silkworms. Silk manufacturers use steam, gases, or boiling water to kill the live cocoons.
Down Feathers: According to the American Down & Feather Council, 80% of the down and feathers produced globally are produced in China where animal cruelty regulations are virtually non-existent.
Leather/skin: Why wear animal skin when you could easily be choosing cruelty-free substitutes?
Let’s start walking the walk when it comes to our clothes
When you make a commitment to buy your clothes in a way that’s kind to the earth and its inhabitants, you’re not only bettering the world. You’re setting an example for those around you and you’re moving forward a mission.
This mission is so long overdue, we’ve almost run out of time.