We all know the fashion industry is ruining our planet. This effect has been increasing ever since the sector's immense growth at the start of the 21st century. Still, if we ask people what is so bad about the shirt they’re wearing, they probably won’t have a clue. Let alone that they know what to change about their behaviour. Let’s dive into the facts and see what responsibility lies by you, the consumer. We promise we’re not going to tell you to stop buying.

What has changed?
First and foremost, the consumers’ appetite has changed. The average consumer buys 60% more pieces of garment compared to 15 years ago. Each item is thrown away twice as fast (UN Environment) and less than 1% of the fabrics are recycled into new clothing (DownToEarth).

Secondly, the industry has become the second-biggest consumer of water, creating 20% of the world’s wastewater, according to UN Environment.

Lastly, because most of the manufacturing is done in China and India, the fashion industry has developed into the world’s second most polluting industry after the oil industry (Natural Climate Change). These countries rely heavily on coal-fuelled power plants, says DownToEarth.

As a result the total greenhouse gas emissions of the fashion industry exceeds the emissions of aviation and shipping combined, according to Natural Climate Change. Already the textile industry can count 10% of the global carbon emissions to its name. It is estimated by UNFCCC, that the sectors carbon emissions might grow to more than 60% by 2030.

What can we do?
The answer is quite simple: we should purchase from sustainable brands.

However it is not as easy as it seems. How do you know what brands are sustainable? Unfortunately, a lot of clothing brands are not transparent about their way of manufacturing and the origin of their fabrics. That’s why we saved you some time and did some research. So you can shop through the day, and soundly sleep at night.

Sustainable brands

  • Flamingos life

This startup sells shoes that each address a different environmental problem. They use materials made from used plastic bottles, thrown away plastics from the footwear industry, organic cotton (grown without pesticides) and natural rubber (extracted in a sustainable way from the Hevea Brasiliensis tree).

In addition they have several reforestation projects on a global scale, make monthly donations for the collection of marine garbage, and generate educational projects of environmental awareness.

  • Athleta

Athleta offers sportswear made of sustainable fabrics such as organic cotton, recycled polyester, and Tencel. They say at least 60% of their products are made of these materials and they strive to raise this number to 80% by 2020.

They produce their clothes in ethical factories that are Fair Trade Certified. Plus, the company is B Corp Certified, which means it meets strict social and environmental standards.

  • Reformation

This brand isn’t just transparent about the origin of their clothing; they’re also quite specific about it. For every piece you can find its environmental footprint, based on its carbon dioxide, water and waste savings.

This gives you the chance to choose for the most sustainable option possible (and their stuff is super trendy as well).

  • United by Blue

This outdoor shop removes one pound of trash from the ocean and waterways for every product they sell. They’ve already collected 1,756,888 pounds of trash and still counting.

United by Blue organises clean-ups for their staff. Together they remove plastic bottles, styrofoam, tires, old appliances and much more from creeks, rivers, beaches and streams.