It’s no surprise that fashion brands work to paint themselves in a good light to appeal to consumers. One way brands create a positive image is by “giving back.”
What It Means to Give Back
Giving back can look like many things, such as donating money, time, or resources to charities, nonprofits, and other organizations.
It has become a trend for unsustainable and fast fashion brands to give back to environmental organizations (such as tree planting) in an attempt to seem “green.” While it’s a good thing for a company to give back to the community and the planet, it is a slippery slope from being charitable to greenwashing.
To understand the debate on whether or not unsustainable brands who give back are greenwashing, it’s essential to understand what greenwashing is. While there are varying definitions, most people can agree that greenwashing is when a company uses deceptive marketing or false claims to make their brand or products appear eco-friendly. My Green Closet’s “Is H&M Actually Sustainable or Are They Greenwashing?” piece offers an interesting look into how the unethical practice of greenwashing can backfire for big fast fashion companies.
There are about 1.8 million nonprofits in the US alone, meaning brands have endless options when choosing organizations to donate to. Unethical and unsustainable companies who give back to charities benefiting children, the arts, or sports (for example) are not greenwashing via giving back because the charities they donate to are not related to the environment. Donating to these charities will not make a brand appear to be a “green company.” When brands give back to environmental and conservation charities, however, the brands are working to alter their public appearance and show they care about the environment.
Sustainable Brands Giving Back vs. Fast Fashion Brands Giving Back
Both sustainable and fast fashion brands give back to environmental organizations and both publicly highlight why supporting these causes matters to them. There is a difference, however, in what it means for a sustainable brand to give back versus a fast fashion brand. When a sustainable brand donates to an environmental charity, the donation is in alignment with the brand’s values, practices, and business model.
When fast fashion brands give back, however, it means something different. These brands typically operate on a low-cost, high-volume business model. The goal here is to create clothes cheaply and in high volumes to keep up with trends and sell the largest number of items possible, which has massive negative environmental impacts. Giving back to environmental organizations does not align with the fast fashion brand’s practices; rather, it’s just a way for the brand to create a “green” image and perceived investment in helping the planet.
An example of a fast fashion brand giving back is Princess Polly. This brand makes monetary donations to Lonely Whale, a marine conservation organization that works to prevent plastic waste from entering Earth’s oceans. At the same time, the brand contributes significantly to plastic pollution through producing extensive amounts of synthetic clothing. Princess Polly also donates to One Tree Planted, a nonprofit that plants trees around the world with a goal of global reforestation. While these donations are clearly positive, they also create a greenwashed image of the fast fashion brand.
The Bottom Line
Whether giving back correlates to greenwashing depends on whether the brand is actually sustainable or not. When a fast fashion brand advertises the ways in which they give back to the environment, they are creating a deceptive image by making the company appear eco-friendly. In reality, fast fashion brands’ practices and policies are detrimental to the environment. Therefore, this sneaky “giving back” marketing can be categorized as greenwashing. When sustainable brands give back, however, they are simply reiterating their dedication to protecting the planet and therefore are not guilty of greenwashing.
How to Figure Out If a Company Is Sustainable or Greenwashing
Do not automatically assume a company is sustainable simply because they donate to environmental and conservation charities. It’s important to research brands before purchasing from them. Learn whether a fashion brand is sustainable by checking the brand’s sustainability reports. A helpful list of ecolabels on textiles can be found on the Ecolabel Index website. Also check out My Green Closet’s “How to Find and Research Ethical Fashion Brands” YouTube video for detailed tips on how to find sustainable fashion brands in your city and how to find credible sources online. My Green Closet also features a “How to Shop Ethically & Sustainably” YouTube playlist containing over 20 videos covering topics such as how to spot greenwashing and how to find affordable sustainable fashion.
Even though greenwashing is a common issue, it’s definitely possible to find and support brands who are actually trying to make positive changes in the fashion industry!
When looking for more sustainable and ethically-made fashion you’re likely to come across various certifications. What do they actually verify though? Are some better than others? Here’s a breakdown of the most common certifications you’re likely to encounter and what they mean.
Sustainability + Labor Certifications
What is GOTS? (Global Organic Textile Standard)
If you see the GOTS logo this on a product, it means the product has 95% (or more) organic fibres. If you see the GOTS logo on a brand website, this means that some or all of their products are certified as GOTS goods which includes environmental and social standards.
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is a quality assurance and product certification that brands can receive after inspection to ensure they are following the GOTS ecological and social criteria needed for approval. GOTS certifications are given to brands who exhibit a high standard for decent work conditions (such as a zero tolerance policy for child labour, harassment and discrimination, or precarious employment). In addition, a brand’s supply chain and products must meet the minimum organic fibre percentage (95-100%) along with other environmental criteria. Before receiving certification, an inspection is done on the entire textile supply chain (including processing and trade). GOTS certifications all have an expiry date of one year after certification; companies must then recertify. Audits are only carried out during the yearly certification assessments.
GOTS also has a secondary logo for products that use 74% – 94% organic fibres. In this case, the logo will clearly state the percent of organic fibres used.
If you see this B Corp certification on your clothing, this means the brand has demonstrated the minimum amount of accountability within their supply chain for both social and environmental issues.
The B Corporation is a certification that can appear on products after brands have applied and been verified by the B Corporation Standard. B CORP extends across many industries, and conveys a business’s commitment to high social and environmental performance and high transparency + accountability. B CORP has an entirely remote certification process, with no on-site auditing. Businesses send in documentation and go through a required review call with a B CORP analyst to become verified and receive their certification. Brands must re-do the certification process every 3 years to show their continuous efforts and improvements.
If you see this Fairtrade logo on your products, this means that the producers are aligned with the Fairtrade core requirements and believe in the continual improvement of the environmental, social, and economic elements of their supply chain. In addition, brands certified to use the Fairtrade symbol have committed to making their supply chain more ethical, transparent, and stable.
The Fairtrade certification is reflective of the Fairtrade core environmental requirements (such as environmentally sound agricultural practices), economic requirements (such as Fairtrade Minimum Price requirements) and social requirements such as a zero tolerance for forced or child labour). Fairtrade also encourages brands to develop and invest in their social, economical, and environmental standards beyond their core requirements. Producers, traders, and companies can apply for the certification; after an initial on-site audit of the producers or after a temporary producer assessment, the business may use the Fairtrade logo for their products. These businesses are subjected to several different types of audits (renewal audits, unannounced audits, confirmation audits, etc.) to assure the facilities and products are implementing policies reflective of the Fairtrade standards.
What is WFTO Certified? (World Fair Trade Organization)
If you see the WFTO or Word Fair Trade Organization logo on a brand’s product or website, it means that the business or brand has passed the WTFO’s Guarantee System process and has shown they are truly following Fairtrade values within their supply chain and business model.
The World Fair Trade Organization, is an extension of the Fairtrade certification. The difference between Fairtrade and the WFTO is their expanded focus on traceability. Fairtrade focuses on products while the WTFO focuses on the entire supply chain, business model, and operations of a business. The WFTO has its own Guarantee System that combines the Fairtrade principles with its assurance process. The WFTO is not a product certification, and it does not have consistent auditing after businesses have gone through their Guarantee System.
What is WRAP? (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production)
If you see this symbol on a brand’s product or website, it means the brand produces in a WRAP-certified facility and that they have, to some degree, proven their commitment to the WRAP organizations 12 Principles.
WRAP, or Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production, is a certification given to production factories. Brands can apply on behalf of factories they own and manage directly or request that the factories they partner with become certified. The WRAP organization revolves around 12 Principles, which include items related to social issues (such as hours of work, prohibition of forced labour, etc.) and environmental issues. After completing a self assessment and a factory audit/evaluation structured by the WRAP organization, the evaluated facilities are given a silver, gold, or platinum level of certification. Unannounced audits are continuously carried out after a facility receives certification.
If you see this label on your products or if the brand mentioned the SA8000 standards, this means the brand/factory is diligently working toward improvement for social labour.
SA8000 is both a standard and a certification that businesses can use as a framework for high social standards. Brands using the framework are taking steps to ensure their supply chain implements decent work elements such as fair working hours and appropriate health and safety practices. Their approach is rooted in continued improvement rather than checklist-style auditing. The SA8000 certification is valid for 3 years and during that time audits are done twice per year to track improvements.
If a brand is a member of Fair Wear Foundation, they are working through (or have completed) the Fair Wear process and are identifying (or fixing) areas of improvement within their supply chain.
The Fair Wear Foundation is an organization, not a certification. As such, you will not see their logo used on products. Instead, a brand may name themselves as a member of the Fair Wear Foundation, which means they are dedicated to holding their supply chain accountable and want to assure responsible and healthy conditions for their workers. Since the Fair Wear Foundation is not a certification, the organization performs checks on their members rather than audits. These performance checks are primarily to verify members are making an effort in influencing their product locations. Assessments are done annually, 3-4 months after the end of the financial year.
If a brand mentions their commitment to the International Labour Organization (ILO) standards, this means they are working toward a more transparent and accountable supply chain which focuses on decent work platforms (gender equality, fair recruitment, employment promotion/security, etc.) for all types of workers (women, children, international, minority, etc). Although there are no audits or guarantees the standards are being met.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency setting international standards for labour and social practices within supply chains through multiple industries. Their goal is the implementation of employment standards, social protection, and fundamental work ethics. In addition, the ILO dialogues with businesses to help them overcome barriers to implementing ILO standards. The ILO periodically supervises the members of their organisation to determine whether brands are continuing to implement decent work standards. However, the ILO merely uses these reports to see where their focus or help is needed, and does not audit or enforce their standards.
What is GRS (Global Recycled Standard) and RCS (Recycled Claim Standard)?
If you see the Global Recycled Standard logo, this means the brand has verified a minimum of 50% recycled content in their products and have also verified their alignment with the GRS social, environmental, and chemical requirements.
If you see the Recycled Claim Standard logo, this means that the brand has only verified that their products do contain a certain minimum of recycled content. (RCS does not have the other sustainability standards that GRS verifies)
Headed by the same organization, the Global Recycled Standard (GRS) and Recycled Claim Standard (RCS) both provide verification and certification of recycled materials that are tracked throughout the supply chain to assure their validity. The certifications are similar, except that the GRS holds a brand/business to a higher (and more rigorous) standard. Both have three main objectives to align the “recycled” definition across different products, verify recycled content, and give consumers information about recycled products.
The GRS in particular also aims to reduce the harmful impact of production, assure products are produced in a more environmentally friendly way, and encourage a higher content of recycled material in products. In addition, the GRS includes standards related to preventing harmful chemicals and verifying positive social and environmental production. Both certifications are entirely voluntary and require brands to go through a chain of custody assessment to ensure the recycled content is maintained from sourcing to final product. Each stage of the supply chain is audited by a professional third-party certification body.
OEKO-TEX is the trademark used by The International Association for Research and Testing in the Field of Textile and Leather Ecology. Several of their certifications (and their logos) are used by brands and can be seen on multiple different products. OEKO-TEX currently manages seven different standards (STANDARD 100, MADE IN GREEN, ORGANIC COTTON, LEATHER STANDARD, STeP, ECO PASSPORT, and RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS), each with different certification requirements and inspection processes.
OEKO-TEX Standard 100 is the one you’re most likely to see, it means products are tested and guaranteed to be free from common harmful chemicals used in textile production. Made in Green adds on additional environmental and social requirements. They also have fabric specific certifications for leather and organic cotton, as well as a Responsible Business certification.
Important to note though; sometimes brands will just say “Oeko-Tex Certified” and this almost always means it is Standard 100 and not the other environmental or social focused certifications.
On-site visits are performed for the Standard 100, Made In Green, and Leather Standard every 3 years after the initial visit during the certification approval process. On-site visits for Eco Passport are optional. Audits are done for the STeP, Organic Cotton, and Responsible Business certifications during the initial application, and done again every year for the Organic Cotton certification and after 3 years for a STeP or Responsible Business recertification.
What is FSC Certified? (Forest Stewardship Council)
If you see the FSC 100% logo on a product or brand website, this means the brand has committed to the FSC principles and all their materials come from responsibly managed forests.
If you see the FSC Mix logo on a product or brand website, this means that products are made from a mixture of materials from FSC certified forests, recycled materials, and FSC controlled wood (which is different from responsibly managed forests).
If you see the FSC Recycled logo on a product, this means that the product is made from 100% recycled materials.
The Forest Steward Council (FSC) certification indicates that brands selling products made from trees are sourcing wood from responsibly managed FSC-certified forests (which is a different certification for suppliers from the same organisation). Responsibly managed forests means:
The trees are harvested in a way that there is “no net loss of forest over time”.
Workers are paid a fair wage in an ethical work environment.
Forest management practises conservation policies for local flora and fauna.
There is a management plan in place to ensure that communities in and around the forest are consulted and respected.
The FSC has three main labels that brands can use for their products: their “100%” logo, their “Recycled” logo, and their “Mix” logo. Both suppliers and members of the FSC certification must go through a preliminary on-site audit and an annual audit after certification to ensure they are complying with the FSC principles.
What is Better Cotton/BCI? (Better Cotton Initiative)
If you see this Better Cotton label on a brand’s product or website, it means that the product (or brand) uses cotton that has been certified in its application of the BCI’s sustainability and labor standards. Note though that BCI is not organic and has also been linked to cotton from Xinjiang.
The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) certification is based on seven core principles that range from crop protection, soil health, and fibre quality to a supplier’s decent work policies and their employee management model. This certification can be seen on products or on brand websites if a product contains BCI certified cotton, but it is the fibre and source itself that is certified (not a brand).
BCI works directly with farmers in order to maintain their values and provide education and knowledge to suppliers. BCI has a continued supply chain monitoring system that includes on-site and remote auditing of second and third-party ginners, third-party supply chain actors, and second-party transaction actors.
If you see this PETA Approved Vegan label on your clothing, this means the brand has assured they use no animal products and that they do not test their products on animals.
The PETA Approved Vegan certification appears on products (mostly beauty and clothing items) after brands have completed a questionnaire and assurance verification that applies to both the company and the suppliers/manufacturers. This process confirms the business uses no animal products and doesn’t test their products on animals.
Currently, PETA uses no compliance or performance auditing systems before certification is given; brands give a statement of assurance from their manufacturer or supplier upon their application and must simply pay the annual certification fee. Recertification and resubmission of an updated (or more recent) statement of assurance is not needed unless a brand stops paying the annual certification fee, in that case, they must restart the application process.
We seem to be getting a warm, early springand I am ready for a wardrobe refresh!
As talked about in this video, my spring wardrobe really marks a post-pandemic and no-longer-new-mom era. I’m going out a lot more than I was the last few years and settling into a part-time WFH and preschooler parent life.
I recently stayed in a vacation rental and the second I walked into the bedroom, I was hit with a wave of laundry detergent smell emanating from the bedding. I’m guessing the fragrance was called something like “fresh ocean breeze” or “springtime linen,” but to me it smelled like a headache. I feel sick when exposed to synthetic fragrances for more than a few minutes. There was no way I could sleep in this!
I pulled off all the bedding and used my own sleeping bag and pillows that I happened to have in my car. After re-outfitting the bed, I thoroughly washed my hands, as the detergent smell easily transfers to skin, hair, and clothes. “Fresh ocean breeze” isn’t just a scent, it’s a cocktail of chemicals under an ingredient called “fragrance,” and there’s no guarantee these chemicals are all safe.
What Does Fragrance Mean in Ingredients?
People have been using perfumes for thousands of years. But today, the ingredients in scented products are a far cry from what was used in the past.
“Fragrance” or “parfum” is a vague term commonly seen on product labels. It refers to scented ingredients added to many home and personal care products such as laundry detergent, fabric softener, body wash, shampoo, makeup, cleaning products, air fresheners, candles, and so on.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines fragrance as “any natural or synthetic substance or substances used solely to impart an odor to a cosmetic product.” Most fragrances are made of a mixture of dozens or even hundreds of primarily synthetic chemicals derived from petroleum. According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the term “fragrance” can refer to the scented chemicals plus “solvents, stabilizers, UV-absorbers, preservatives, and dyes” that are considered part of the fragrance, and thus may not be listed separately on product labels.
It’s not a small selection of mystery ingredients that may be in fragranced products; every five years, the International Fragrance Association releases a list of all reported ingredients that companies use in fragrance compounds globally. In 2022, the IFRA Transparency List included 3,224 fragrance ingredients and 395 functional ingredients. The actual number may be much higher, as these are only the ingredients disclosed voluntarily.
Some brands use essential oils to scent their products. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics notes that while these ingredients are naturally derived, some can be allergens or irritants. Each essential oil has different properties, and not all of them are well-studied. Here’s a helpful essential oil safety guide from Popular Science.
Why Aren’t Fragrance Ingredients Disclosed?
It’s hard for consumers to know what exactly is in fragrance because of the lack of transparency on product labels. According to the U.S. FDA, it’s legal for companies to protect their exact fragrance ingredients as a trade secret, so they are only required to list that there is fragrance on product labels. Laws in Canada and the European Union are similar.
This naming convention was developed by the International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients. “Under this naming convention, components of a fragrance can be listed as individual ingredients or can be listed under the term ‘parfum’ (in the E.U. and Canada) or ‘fragrance’ (in the U.S.),” according to Health Canada.
Note that this fragrance labeling applies to cosmetics, a category applied to a wide range of products. Here is the U.S. legal definition for cosmetics, which is similar to that of Canada and the E.U.: “Articles intended to be applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance without affecting the body’s structure or functions.”
Labeling requirements for other commonly fragranced products, such as cleaning products and candles, are even less strict in many countries because these products are not meant to be applied to your body. In the U.S. and Canada, for instance, companies are not required to list any ingredients unless they are known to pose an immediate hazard (and, as you’ll read below, there is a lot that’s unknown about chemicals for home and personal use).
Are Fragrances Safe to Use?
Well, that depends. Studies show that some fragrance ingredients are allergens, immune toxicants, endocrine disruptors, or carcinogens (substances capable of causing cancer). Some fragrances are responsible for dermatitis, migraines, asthma, gastric distress, or other conditions… the list goes on.
In the U.S., fragrances in personal care products are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as cosmetics, but are not actually tested or approved due to their external rather than internal use. These ingredients are legally supposed to be safe when used as intended, but the responsibility for safety is left up to the manufacturer. Here is what the FDA says about cosmetics:
“Neither the law nor FDA regulations require specific tests to demonstrate the safety of individual products or ingredients. The law also does not require cosmetic companies to share their safety information with FDA.”
Canadian fragrance laws are similar to those in the U.S. and the industry is mostly self-regulating, according to the Canadian government.
When it comes to cleaning products, U.S.-based consumer advocate Sloan Barnett thinks that “manufacturers don’t want to scare off consumers by disclosing how many potentially harmful chemicals are flying under the EPA’s radar in their products,” according to Scientific American. “The fact is that the government has no idea whether most of the chemicals used in everyday cleaning products are safe because it doesn’t test them, and it doesn’t require manufacturers to test them either,” Barnett said.
Fragrance industry proponents say that even hazardous chemicals can be safe to use in small doses. But there are so many unknowns about how even small exposures may add up over time, or how different chemicals may combine to create a larger effect on the human body.
A good film to watch on this subject is the documentary Stink!, which is now available for free on YouTube. The film’s director, Jon Whelan, often talks about the “fragrance loophole.” “If you see the word ‘fragrance’ in the ingredient list then don’t buy it; [companies are] trying to fool you,” he wrote on the Stink! blog.
Are Fragrances Safe for the Environment?
The environmental impacts of fragrances haven’t been studied nearly enough, but existing research does show that these chemicals pollute air and water.
Fragrances are persistent air pollutants because they’re designed to vaporize (so people can smell them!). A 2018 study by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that scented products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that cause a concerning amount of air pollution. Specifically regarding laundry products, another study noted that “emissions from dryer vents, during the use of fragranced laundry products, contain numerous VOCs that affect outdoor air quality, such as acetaldehyde, a hazardous air pollutant.” Acetaldehyde is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a carcinogen.
We don’t truly know all of the health and environmental impacts of fragrances, even though many of us use fragranced products every day.
How to Avoid Fragrances
When it comes to fragrances, it’s better to be on the safe side and minimize exposure. Here are a few tips:
1. Read the ingredients
Be aware that if a product is marketed as “unscented” or “fragrance free,” this isn’t a guarantee that the product doesn’t contain undisclosed scented ingredients. (Confusing, right?) Some manufacturers add scent to neutralize or mask potentially unpleasant odors from other ingredients. It’s necessary to actually read the ingredients list, and if “fragrance” or another ambiguous term such as “perfume,” “parfum,” or “aroma,” is listed, try another product. Or, consider doing some research — sometimes on the brand’s website they’ll disclose more information about their exact fragrance ingredients.
2. Find safer products on the Environmental Working Group’s site
There are some heavily fragranced products you can skip altogether: check out My Green Closet’s article, “Why You Should Stop Using Fabric Softeners & Dryer Sheets.” By streamlining the products you use regularly, you will not only save money but will also expose yourself to fewer chemicals.
4. Wear protective gear
When working with fragranced cleaning products, consider wearing a mask and gloves to limit exposure.
5. Get some house plants
Did you know many common houseplants help filter indoor air? A NASA study on three common pollutants — benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene, which are often found in fragrances — found that certain house plants such as Pothos and Peace Lily are excellent air purifiers. Another great excuse to fill your house with plants!
Special occasion dress rentals are the perfect time to get that dream dress without the huge price tag, without worrying about dry cleaning, and without it hanging in the closet unworn for years after.
Here’s where to rent wedding, formal, photoshoot, and prom dresses in major Canadian cities and online.
Our favorite for their excellent selection and customer service. The Fitzroy has an extensive collection of formal and special event dress rentals including bridal and wedding dresses, prom dresses, bridesmaid dresses, black tie dresses, maternity photoshoot dresses, cocktail dresses and more!
While they mainly focus on monthly subscriptions for everyday and maternity wardrobe rentals, Sprout Collection also has a selection of cocktail and occasion dresses that can be rented for a week – perfect for parties or wedding guests!
Our favorite for their fantastic selection and customer service. The Fitzroy has an extensive collection of formal and special event dress rentals including bridal and wedding dresses, prom dresses, bridesmaid dresses, black tie dresses, maternity photoshoot dresses, cocktail dresses and more!
Whether you fully understand it or not, chances are you’re already participating in the metaverse. While there is still much debate on what a truly immersive metaverse experience is, proto-metaverse worlds have existed for years, and are gaining popularity by the day. According to BoF, 72% of US consumers have accessed a virtual world within the last twelve months, with more than half showing interest in purchasing an online asset. This includes the virtual worlds created by the online gaming industry, and the use of metaverse technology driving employee collaboration in the hybrid workplace.
So, what is the metaverse, and what does it mean for the fashion industry?
The metaverse refers to a 3D virtual realm where users can shop, work, socialize, and perform all the actions of their physical reality from the comfort of their homes. While the term has been used to signify a shared space, games like Roblox and Fortnite have created virtual realities that boast an estimated 50 and 25 million daily users, respectively. According to Vogue Business, the popularity of gaming has lifted the gaming industry—which is a huge part of the metaverse—to a $222 billion valuation. As a result, fashion brands have accelerated their efforts to stake their claim in the industry.
More and more, people are dressing their avatars in the metaverse—and are often willing to pay for more choices. The popularity of digital wearables, and events like the first-ever Metaverse Fashion Week in 2022—with brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Estée Lauder, Etro, and Tommy Hilfiger—could be a positive sign for those who are concerned about oversupply and waste. Sensorium points to “massive margins” for retailers, but also the possible elimination of excessive inventory. With a digital-first approach, brands can increase customer engagement, access secondary market profits, and only create physical garments when they choose to, or on a demand basis.
The benefits to the environment could be tremendous. Fashionabc puts this in context when they make mention that the production of digital clothing emits 97% less carbon dioxide and saves a whopping 3000 liters of water per item than the physical alternative. If brands actually made the shift to producing more digital clothing than physical clothing, this would create a more sustainable fashion industry. As such, it should be safe to assume that this substitute would contribute positively to the shift towards sustainability.
Are Fashion Brands Actually More Sustainable Because of the Metaverse?
The emergence of the conscious consumer is putting pressure on brands to leverage technology to improve their production and supply chain processes. However, this commitment is yet to be truly realized for most brands. On the other hand, selling garments in the metaverse enables brands to increase their revenue with a limited impact on the environment. Some of the brands engaging with customers in the metaverse include the creation of Gucci Garden and Gucci Town and the pioneers identified by The Drum—Burberry’s partnership with Mythical Games on the Blankos Block Party game, Balenciaga’s creation of a virtual pop-up store in Fortnite, and the launch of the Louis Game which includes custom Louis Vuitton clothing and collectable NFTs.
In a January 2023 article, Glossy explores H&M’s alleged promotion of sustainability in the metaverse. Unfortunately, critics have slammed their efforts, starting with H&M’s appointment of Maisie Williams as a sustainability ambassador in 2021, citing her lack of experience in the field. The Swedish fast-fashion giant then launched their PETA-approved digital fashion collection. This along with their 2023 Roblox launch, has seen the brand come under fire for advocating circular fashion in gaming without fulfilling their environmental promise in their physical production practices.
In light of this, while the metaverse could provide many benefits, fast fashion and luxury brands still have a long way to go when it comes to enacting ethical practices and reducing the production of physical garments. According to Good On You, these retailers use digital fashion as a marketing tool to attract more customers rather than address their processes. Unfortunately, this alternative revenue stream has an additional impact on the environment, as brands use energy-intensive NFTs to increase digital customer engagement like Adidas x Prada, Chito x Givenchy, and Bulgari. While the effects of NFTs are less than physical production, using them as a marketing tool instead of an opportunity to lessen production compounds their overall environmental impact.
On the bright side, the digital realm provides a platform for creators to enter a highly profitable market with the potential of bypassing traditional gatekeepers. Moreover, fashion enthusiasts can turn their attention to purely digital fashion brands like The Fabricant and The Republique. The former was made famous when Richard Ma, a businessman from San Fransico bought a £7,500 maxi dress for his wife—a digital garment photoshopped onto her picture—as referenced by Singapore-based FEMALE magazine. On the other hand, The Republique has a comprehensive collection in their digital store with vests and t-shirts starting at more palatable price points like £3. These and the many other fashion brands participating in this space are a testament to the endless possibilities for metaverse designers, consumers, and the real proponents of sustainable fashion.
(please note: some affiliate links are used in this post which means we may get a small commission)
Londre Bodywear‘s sustainable one-piece swimwear and bikinis are described as “insanely flattering” and “the most flattering swimsuit”. So when looking for new swimwear I decided to test these claims!
I took Londre’s crossback one-piece on a recent trip and as a size-L, petite woman in her 30s with a mom-bod I wasn’t sure how the revealing cut was going to work for me. I especially wanted to see how the swimsuit worked on a larger bust (DD/E cup) since most styles don’t look very supportive.
After some testing here’s my review:
Style and Fit
I honestly think it’s impossible to not look good in one of Londre’s swimsuits and their flattering claims are well-founded however whether you actually feel confident, sexy, and comfortable is another story.
The suit shows a lot of skin which I learned was a little too much for me. While I’m usually very comfortable showing some skin at the beach, the cleavage + side boob + cheeky cut all at the same time pushed my comfort. I ended up wishing it was either higher cut at the neck, had more fabric across the bust, or more coverage on the bum. I often felt like I wanted to pull it up or down for a little more coverage but that of course just makes the other side more revealing.
*Important to note though: I went on the trip with my in-laws which certainly contributed to the feeling of showing too much skin and I mostly wore my other swimsuit when hanging out with family. It wasn’t the best scenario to wear a revealing swimsuit, and I likely would have felt more comfortable if it was just with my partner or friends. I’ll update this review once summer comes and I have more opportunities to wear it in other situations!
Although the suit definitely delivers on it’s promise of being flattering. The material is very stretchy and compressive and they clearly spent a lot of time developing their cut to hug and highlight curves, and create beautiful shapes.
With that said though, since they do make such high quality sustainable swimwear and clearly have flattering and well-fitting cuts, I’ve actually ordered another suit from them, the Bond Rashguard. I plan on doing a lot of swimming and water activities with my family this summer, so I think it will be a great suit for more sporty/active things and also have some protection from the sun! Very excited to test it out this summer.
I found their size chart to be accurate and the size I went with based on my measurements (L) worked well and was true to size. They also have a very helpful “Calculate my Size” feature which will recommend a size based on whether you prefer a tighter, regular or looser fit, and you can see how it will fit across your bust, waist, and hips.
Even though I went with a slightly looser fit in some areas, it still felt compressive and snug, even when wet. The recommended size fit how I expected it too which is always great (especially when ordering a swimsuit online!) Although if it doesn’t fit they do offer free exchanges.
Londre has an inclusive and plus size range with sizes from XS – 5XL available. They also have some one-piece options for people who are taller/have longer torsos.
I choose the crossback one-piece suit because it is supposed to be a more supportive version of their most popular suit, The Minimalist. While I wouldn’t recommend this suit if you’re looking for good support and want do a lot of swimming or water sports, it still surprised me the amount of support it gave with so little fabric across the bust.
The support all comes from how compressive the fabric is – so there are no cups and nothing under the bust for support. This means that especially if you have large cups like me, your breasts will move and shift around. I felt secure enough that I wasn’t going to slip out but still needed to do some readjusting, especially when swimming and playing in the water.
If you are looking for a little more support you can choose a tighter fit on the bust using their ‘Calculate my Size’ tool, or some of the two-piece swimsuit styles provide support under the bust.
Quality & Price
The key element to Londre’s flattering suits is their high-quality fabric which has great stretch and retention and is double-layered for opacity and compression. This is definitely not filmsy swimwear!
The suit is also clearly well-sewn and made to last. Since Londre manufactures locally in Vancouver they are also able to regularly visit their factory, ensuring not only ethical manufacturing but also quality construction. Londre claims their workers are paid “above living wage” which is what I always want to hear.
Londre’s swimwear ranges from $138 – $168 CAD for one-pieces and $78 – $148 CAD each for tops and bottoms. Which I think is a fair price, especially considering you are getting a very good-quality, sustainable, and ethically-made swimsuit.
If the price point is out of your budget though, keep an eye on their ‘Final Few’ section and they also have sales a few times a year.
Sustainability & Fabric
Londre uses a fabric made from primarily recycled plastics bottles, blended with some Chitosante (an anti-bacterial and odor-resistant fabric made from byproduct shellfish shells) and spandex/elastane. Their fabrics are also Oeko-Tex certified and all water used in production is recycled in a closed-loop system.
Note for vegans: Since Chitosante comes from shellfish shells some vegans avoid it, however some are also okay with it because of the byproduct and waste aspects. It’s a very personal decision.
In their production and cutting Londre works to minimize waste, and also has a recycling, take-back program for old suits.
Additionally, Londre gives back to ocean clean-up, reforestation, and coral reef restoration projects.
Throughout our lives, we spend an average 33 years in bed, according to The Huffington Post. That’s an enormous 26 years sleeping and 7 years (seven!) trying to fall asleep. The very least we can do is to give this time the value and attention it deserves.
Picking the right nightwear could really help improve the quality of your sleep. So what should you look for when choosing what to wear in bed?
Comfort: this often comes down to finding your correct size. If you opt for a pajama that’s too big or baggy, you may end up finding it uncomfortable to turn over in your sleep; on the other hand, overly tight clothing may even cause circulation problems.
Materials: go full-on breathability and thermoregulating fabrics. If you sleep hot, have hot flashes or have night sweats, you definitely need to choose different sleepwear than if you typically sleep cold. (Tencel or linen tends to be cooling and better for hot sleepers, or for cold sleepers try thicker cotton.)
Design: for instance, while the button-down shirt and pants sets every sleepwear brand is selling these days are admittedly cool, some may find the design and buttons uncomfortable, especially if you’re used to sleeping on your stomach.
We put together a list of the most ethical PJs and nightwear for all tastes and needs, so you can all get that Ahhh! feeling when you lay down in bed after a long day.
(please note: some affiliate links are used in this post which means we may get a small commission)
Pact is great if you’re looking for organic cotton pajamas for the whole family. The brand makes basics and clothing for women, men, and kids in Fair Trade certified factories in India. All of Pact’s collections are crafted with GOTS certified organic cotton and its sleepwear line is soft, breathable and stretchy enough to be the perfect choice for those who toss and turn all night.
Each Coyuchi product is planned with “a meticulous focus on comfort, quality, and natural beauty”. Inspired by the pristine shores of its birthplace in Point Reyes, California, the brand produces home textiles and loungewear in the warming shades of soil and earth, and the cooling aqua blue palettes. Coyuchi’s collection of 100% organic cotton pajamas for women and men, sleep shirts, and knit cotton nightgowns aims at making every night feel like a slumber party.
If you’re on the hunt for a pajama set you can put a pair of heels under and wear on a night out, you’re in the right place. Underprotection is a Danish brand that makes lingerie, swimwear, and loungewear using sustainable fabrics like TENCEL™ Lyocell, organic cotton, recycled materials, and innovative fibers crafted from banana leaves and milk. The brand has recently launched a take-back program to recycle or upcycle your Underprotection pieces, worn out from being (no doubt!) your favorite items.
Known for their great basics and loungewear, MATE the Label also has a stylish collection of pajama pants, shorts, shirts, tops, and robes made from a comfy blend of Tencel and organic cotton. They also have a recycling program where to can send back your old clothes.
They are a Californian brand though and through, both with their effortless style and being based in LA all their manufacturing happens within 15 miles of their office.
Printfresh is the go-to for those who love prints and colors, even in bed. This lifestyle and sleepwear brand is inspired by plants and animals, and all of their sleep sets are 100% cotton. Founder Amy believes that “there is a way to produce products with great care”, and she and her team do that by cutting down waste and emissions throughout production and shipping, by using natural fabrics like organic cotton, and by keeping an anti-fast fashion approach overall.
Price: USD 84-248
Size range: 2XS – 6XL
Values: Sustainable materials, low waste production, vegan, gives back
Looking for linen? Q for Quinn has a small collection of natural (undyed) linen sleep and loungwear. Since Q for Quinn was born from trying to find clothes that are gentle on sensitive skin and eczema, they carefully select their fabrics. Their sleep collection contains no dyes and is also Oeko-Tex certified.
Q for Quinn is also a GOTS certified brand and ethically makes their socks, underwear, and apparel in Portugal.
Araks makes luxury pajamas, loungewear and slips in organic cotton, organic linen, and OEKO-TEX 100 certified silk you don’t want to take off in the morning. Zoom calls don’t need proper pants anyways, right? And if you’re obsessed by colors and their infinite combinations as much as this brand’s founder is, check out how and where she gets her inspiration from.
This UK-based brand makes organic women’s pajamas and loungewear — including robes and slippers — following artisanal techniques and taking inspiration from traditional Rajhasthani block prints. Dilli Grey is working hard to keep cutting down on its carbon emissions and plastic usage, and the brand is also investing more and more energies and resources into extending the size range of its products, always making sure that the designs “fit and flatter both ends of the spectrum”.
This small US-based brand makes basics and essentials including casualwear, loungewear, and sleepwear. Yes And’s sleepwear collection caters to all tastes as it includes the classic shirt and pants sets, basic tank and shorts, and also tunics and night dresses — all made using 100% organic cotton (farmed through regenerative techniques) and low-impact dyes.
Established in Copenhagen in 2017, Tekla offers an elegant collection of sleepwear for everybody. All its pieces are developed with a timeless perspective, “made to be lived in and made to last”. At Tekla, they do not define the brand as “sustainable” — because “bringing new products into the world is fundamentally at odds with the definition of sustainability” — but they do strive to be more responsible. The brand only uses natural and renewable fibers and it’s committed to full transparency and traceability.
Price: USD 110-170
Size range: XXS – XL
Values: Sustainable materials, OEKO-TEX certified, factory transparency, gives back
Boody makes sleepwear and nighties for women, men, and kids, crafting all its products from breathable and soft bamboo fabric (read more about bamboo clothing here). The brand is not only committed to using organic materials but also to investing in “innovative ways to upcycle, recycle and reduce waste”. You’ll love Boody’s simple designs if you like to sleep well, but without too many frills.
“Created for nappers, loungers, dreamers and explorers”, General Sleep’s unique range of pajama sets, robes, and slippers are a true definition of relaxation and comfort. And beauty, of course. We can easily imagine ourselves sipping our morning coffee in the GOTS and OEKO-TEX certified Camilla Set while on holiday on a Greek island. Ahhh.
Merch, company, and event printed tees are typically not very sustainably made, but a few companies are trying to change that. If you’re looking for more eco friendly t shirt printing or other sustainable custom clothing, check these companies out:
(please note: some affiliate links are used in this post which means we may get a small commission)
Through Known Supply you can getFair Trade certified, organic cotton, custom apparel including t shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, tote bags, beanies, tanks and more. Items can be silk-screened, embroidered, or ordered as blanks for your own printing.
How They’re Better
Known Supply calls themselves a human brand – “reimagining apparel production in a way that honors and celebrates the people behind the clothing we buy.” They are Fair Trade certified and each garment comes with the signature of the person who made it.
Their tees are available in sizes XS – 4XL
Costs & Minimums
Costs vary depending on the apparel and project. Use this form to get a quote and more information about working with Known Supply.
Known Supply has no minimums, but they are selective with who they work with.
Known Supply is based in the USA and ships to some international countries.
Teemill’s print-on-demand service and dropshipping platform is primarily catered to artists, designers, influencers, musicians, and charities who want to set up their own merch store or run a fundraising campaign. However they also offer custom printing on their sustainable t shirts starting at single items.
How They’re Better
Teemill uses 100% organic cotton t shirts which are made using renewable energy. The whole company is carbon neutral, they use plastic-free packaging, and the tees and inks are Oeko-Tex certified.
They also have a circularity program where any of their t shirts can be sent back to be recycled into their Remill fabric – 50% recycled cotton, 50% organic cotton.
T shirts are available in sizes XS – 4XL
Cost, Minimums & Lead Time
Their drop-shipping service is free to use. You set the price of your T shirts and the profit you wish to make, basic tees start at £15.
Their costs for orders of custom printed basic t-shirts through TeemillFactory range from about £15 (for 1) to £7 each (for 150+) and there are additional discounts for orders over 200.
They have no minimums. For larger bulk orders (200+) the lead time is 10-15 business days, but with smaller orders it’s 5-7 business days.
Teemill is based in the UK and ships to most international countries.
Last Shot Apparel offers custom printed or embroidered t shirts, sweatshirts, toques and bags made in Canada from reclaimed and deadstock materials.
How They’re Better
The company was created when founder Briggs Gibbins wanted to find a solution to the unsustainabilty of company event merchandise. So instead of adding to the excessive amount of new textiles created, Last Shot Apparel uses 100% deadstock materials (leftover and unused fabrics from textile mills or production runs).
Since they exclusively source deadstock, slight color and fabric variations within large orders should be expected but LSA tries their best to source matching fabrics.
Their garments are available is sizes XS – XXL
Cost, Minimums & Lead Time
Adult shirts are $24 cad (t shirts) – $35 cad (sweatshirts), and a 20% discount is offered for orders over 15.
They have no minimums and lead time is 14 business days.
Last Shot Apparel is located in Canada and ships international.
Through Print Natural you can order sustainable, organic, and fair trade clothing custom screened with eco friendly inks. Through their partner brands they offer t-shirts, tanks, sweatshirts, hoodies, tote bags, kids tees, and baby onesies which can be printed with your design.
How They’re Better
Screen printing inks are often made of plastics and can contain toxic chemicals. However Print Natural uses Oeko-Tex certified, vegan, water-based inks which also meet GOTS and Soil Association requirements.
Print Natural does not manufacture clothing themselves but instead partners with 6 brands to offer a wide selection of clothing styles and sustainable features to choose from.
Focused on transparent and ethically made apparel, The Good Tee offers not just t shirts, but also tanks, sweatshirts, and other clothing made from Fair Trade and GOTS certified cotton.
How They’re Better
The Good Tee is involved in their entire supply chain from farm to finished garment ensuring ethical policies and sustainable practices are followed.
Their tees are available in sizes XS – XXL
Cost, Minimums & Lead Time
Their classic tees and apparel can be purchased as blanks for your own customization or they also offer printing services for larger orders.
A minimum of 250 units is required for customized orders and they have a lead time of 3-5 months. Find more information about their custom and wholesale orders here or fill out this form to get a quote.
The Good Tee is based in Canada and ships internationally.
The Ethical Tee Company offers custom printing, embroidery, as well as print-on-demand services on a variety of apparel options including t shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, tanks, bags, children’s and baby clothing.
How They’re Better
They have 3 collections depending on what features you’re looking for:
Earth Positive Collection, made from 100% organic cotton (GOTS certified)
Salvage Collection, made from 60% recycled cotton, 40% recycled polyester
Fairshare Collection, made from 100% fair trade, organic cotton (GOTS and Fair Trade certified)
Additionally all their products are PETA Vegan Certified and made in Fair Wear audited factories, and the Earth Positive and Fairshare collections are made with renewable energy.
Varies by garment but their largest size range is XS – 5XL
Cost, Minimums, & Lead Time
Use this form to request a quote for your project.
Minimum order of 10 units for custom order, no minimum for print-on-demand service. They have a lead time of 3 -4 business days
Ordering and Location
The Ethical Tee company is based in the UK and ships internationally
Through Farm Fresh Clothing Co. you can get custom t shirts, tanks, sweatshirts and bags all made in America from organic cotton. They offer both printing and embroidery services.
How They’re Better
Proudly made in America, Farm Fresh Clothing Co.’s apparel is made in a Californian factory who pays a living wage. Their garments are made from GOTS certified organic cotton and they use water-based inks.
Women’s tees are available in XS – 2XL, and men’s in XS – 3XL.
Purchasing sustainable and ethically made clothing is a great way to build a conscious closet, but is it possible to overconsume, even when the products themselves are created with ecological integrity?
Overconsumption is defined by Oxford Languages as “the action or fact of consuming something to excess.” In the case of fashion, this means purchasing too many garments.
Overconsumption looks like:
Buying a shirt in every available color
Owning dozens of pairs of shoes
Buying into every trend and microtrend
Purchasing dozens of clothing items every month
Buying something new when what you already own can be reused or repaired
How Overconsumption Occurs
Overconsumption often occurs when we try to keep up with the latest trends. As the trend cycle accelerates, trends have a shorter shelf life and oftentimes only remain popular for a few weeks to a year. Buying into trends every month results in purchasing a lot of unnecessary clothing items that will likely go out of style within the year.
In this day and age, we are constantly exposed to advertising via social media and influencers. It is easy to feel pressured to shop in excess to stay “on trend” and dress like the celebrities and influencers plastered all over social media, or to fit in with your peers. This desire to dress relevantly leads to overconsumption of garments. To learn more about how to tune out these outside forces and build your unique personal style, read My Green Closet’s “How to Develop Your Personal Style in a World of Influencers and Microtrends” article.
In addition, overconsumption commonly occurs when we believe buying an item will make us happy, fill a void, or give us a sense of control—this is why the term “retail therapy” is so well known. Shopping with friends can be fun and shopping by yourself can be relaxing, yet these activities can also lead to mindless spending.
Fashion brands are also responsible for driving this thirst for overconsumption. Brands are profit-driven, working to sell as many garments as possible. Brands engage in excessive production of items, convincing consumers each new item is worth purchasing. Rather than producing clothing to meet consumer needs, many fashion brands push out trendy items that are only meant to be worn for a season and then replaced.
Fast Fashion vs. Sustainable Clothing Brands
Before we delve into whether it is possible to overconsume sustainably made clothing, it is important to highlight the differences between sustainable brands and fast fashion. The main differences relate to environmental impact, worker conditions and wages, and garment quality. One of the pillars of sustainable fashion is ecological integrity, meaning sustainable fashion brands work hard to reduce waste, energy use, water use and carbon emissions; use recycled and natural materials; and avoid harmful chemicals during production. Social justice and equality are also characteristics of sustainable fashion, while fast fashion does not prioritize providing workers with living wages and safe working conditions. Lastly, the quality of sustainably made garments is typically higher quality than the fast fashion alternatives that are made with cheap materials and extremely fast production times.
Is It Possible to Overconsume When Shopping Sustainably?
Now that we know sustainable garments are better for the environment, ethically made, and made to last, is it still possible to overconsume when purchasing from an eco-friendly source? The answer is yes.
Overconsumption is buying in excess, and it is possible to buy too many sustainably made items. Going on a shopping spree and buying 20 ethically made items, for instance, is still overconsuming garments.
Buying into every trend, even if you are investing in sustainably made garments, is also overconsumption. It is not sustainable to keep up with trends; purchasing an entirely new wardrobe each season involves shopping in excess.
How to Prevent Overconsumption
Acknowledging overconsumption habits is the first (and an important) step in correcting this behavior. Self-awareness leads to change. One effective way to prevent overconsumption is to create a capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe is a small, curated collection of clothes you mix and match to create a variety of outfits. In these wardrobes, quality trumps quantity. Explore My Green Closet’s capsule wardrobe articles to learn how to curate the perfect capsule wardrobe.
It is important to remember that throwing out your entire current wardrobe and replacing it with newly purchased, sustainably made clothing counts as overconsumption. If some items in your closet were purchased via a fast fashion retailer, there is no reason to throw these items out simply because of their tag (it is both wasteful and unnecessary). A good way to avoid purchasing in excess is to gradually add sustainable items into your wardrobe as you need them.
Other tips for preventing overconsumption:
Create a shopping list prior to going out and stick to it