Are you ready to embark on an adventure that not only takes you to beautiful destinations but also allows you to travel more sustainably? By incorporating these conscious and regenerative travel practices into your journey, you can both reduce the impact of your trip and also save some extra cash!
(please note: some affiliate links are used in this post which means we may get a small commission)
Travel in the Off-Season
This is not only a great budget hack but it’s also better for the planet and local communities. Especially in places with high tourism, seasonal travel means a spike in resource use such as water and energy, as well as a peak in waste and pollution. All putting strain on locals systems, infrastructure and the environment.
Seasonal travel also doesn’t offer job security, employees can be laid off or put on unpaid leave during quiet times. So traveling off-season is also beneficial to hotel and tourism workers as well as local artisans and anyone whose income relies on tourism.
Whether you’re traveling by car or plane, extra weight leads to increased fuel consumption and carbon emissions. For example on airplanes a 1kg reduction in weight saves 0.02-0.03 kg of fuel per 1000 km (source) so if each passenger packed just a few kg lighter it could add up!
By traveling with just the essentials, you not only reduce your ecological footprint and makes it easier to carry your bags, but you also avoid paying additional baggage fees.
Choose Eco-Friendly Accommodation
There are fortunately sustainable hotel and accommodation options for all budgets! However unfortunately there is also a lot of greenwashing around hotels and tourism so you do need to be careful. Look for places that demonstrate a variety of sustainability initiatives (not just something like recycling), LEED certification, Green Keys, and/or places that also have a positive impact on the local environment or community.
Where to Find Green Hotels and Accommodation
Bookdifferent – find hotels with eco certifications as well as qualifications such as fair employee treatment, respect for local culture, sustainable management and other environmental practices.
IBEROSTAR – plastic-free hotel chain with other sustainability and responsible tourism initiatives.
EcoHotels – a database of certified hotels. However there is a large variety in sustainability initiatives among the listed hotels so we recommend doing further research.
Embrace the local experience and use public transportation whenever possible. Trains, buses, and trams are not only more eco-friendly than cars and taxi’s, but they’re also a fantastic way to save money. Many cities offer travel passes or discount cards that provide unlimited access to public transport, helping you explore on a budget.
Even better, try to use trains or busses get to your destination instead of flying!
Support Local and Sustainable Food
When dining out, choose restaurants that prioritize local, seasonal, and/or organic ingredients. Supporting local farmers and food producers not only promotes sustainability and supports the local economy but also ensures that you get freshest food! Additionally, eating at small, local eateries is often more affordable than dining in touristy areas and gives you a more authentic culinary experience.
Carry a Reusable Water Bottle and Utensils
Reduce your plastic waste by bringing along a reusable water bottle and utensils with you. Many destinations have water refill stations, allowing you to stay hydrated without purchasing single-use plastic bottles. Packing your own utensils is also an easy way to avoid unnecessary plastic cutlery while on the go. Plus you’re always ready for a spontaneous picnic in a lovely spot!
Instead of buying mass-produced plastic trinkets that are often made in other countries, choose souvenirs that are locally made or support community initiatives. Handcrafted items, artisan products, locally produced textiles, or artwork from local artists not only make for unique mementos but also help sustain the local economy and preserve craftsmanship.
Conserve Energy and Water
Adopt similar eco-friendly habits in your accommodation as you would at home. Turn off lights, air conditioning, and heating when you leave the room, and use water sparingly. These small actions can make a significant difference in conserving resources.
If staying in a hotel be sure to forgo daily cleaning and towel/bedding washing.
Explore Free and Outdoor Activities
Some of the best experiences during your trip may not cost penny. Take advantage of free walking tours, explore local parks, hike scenic trails, or have a picnic at the beach. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also immerse yourself and be able to appreciate the destination’s natural beauty.
Engage in Responsible Wildlife Tourism
If you’re eager to witness wildlife during your travels, choose responsible wildlife tourism operators. Avoid activities that exploit animals or disrupt their natural habitats. Opt for reputable sanctuaries, national parks, or wildlife conservation programs that prioritize animal welfare and education and stick to observation only experiences.
The increasing demand for sustainable shopping options in Edmonton in creating an exciting community of refillery, zero waste, and bulk stores. These stores promote sustainable practices and reducing plastic by offering customers the opportunity to refill their own containers and purchase products in bulk. Here are our favorite places to refill cleaning and personal care products as well as get other pantry and household essentials.
Nestled in the Ritchie neighborhood, Re: Plenish is a zero-waste store providing customers with a wide range of package-free products. From bath and body items like shampoo, conditioner, and soaps, to makeup, cleaning products, and sustainable lifestyle products, Re: Plenish has it all. With an inviting atmosphere and helpful staff, Re: Plenish is a must-visit zero waste destination.
Carbon Environmental Boutique
Located in photogenic Manchester Square, Carbon Environmental Boutique is a store for all things sustainable. This bright boutique offers a carefully curated selection of eco-friendly products, including a refill station for soaps, detergents, personal care items and cleaning supplies Carbon prioritizes sustainability and non-toxic ingredients and researches all products and suppliers to ensure they’re selecting the best products.
Earth’s General Store
Earth’s General Store has been a pioneer in the Edmonton sustainable scene for over 30 years. Located on Whyte ave, this store offers a selection of bulk and refillable products, ranging from organic food items and pantry staples such as beans and coffee, to personal care and household cleaning supplies. Earth’s General Store is committed to promoting sustainable living, they have a wide variety of plastic-free, vegan, fair trade, and organic options. The store also supports local farmers and suppliers, further strengthening the community’s sustainability efforts.
At their Queen Alexandra location Kolya offer refill options for soaps and bath and body products, as well as has a great selection of loose teas.
In particular, they are a fantastic store for anyone wanting to DIY their own skincare. Kolya sells a variety of carrier oils, butters, clays and more, as well as a variety of beauty containers and jars for making your own products.
Eco Chick Mobile Refills
As the name suggests, Eco Chick Mobile Refills is a mobile refill service that brings products directly to your doorstep, making it easier than ever to embrace a zero waste lifestyle. Eco Chick offers soaps, personal care items, laundry detergents, and more. They source sustainable products primarily from small, Canadian businesses, including cruelty-free and vegan options. Customers can schedule a visit and owner Rosie will fill your containers right from the van!
Edmonton is home to a growing community of refillery and bulk stores, offering an array of sustainable and package-free products. Whether you’re seeking zero waste solutions, organic pantry staples, or refillable personal care products, there is a store to check out!
The number 1 place to go organic is your underwear drawer and here’s why:
1. Avoid Toxic Chemicals in Your Underwear
One huge reason to switch to organic cotton underwear is to reduce toxic chemicals exposure, especially in such a sensitive area of the body. The clothing industry is notorious for lacking regulations regarding harmful chemicals, resulting in the presence of concerning substances in garments. PFAS, phthalates, NPEs, amines and Azo-Dyes, lead, and formaldehyde are some examples found in clothing.
While organic cotton does not guarantee the absence of harmful chemicals, certifications such as GOTS and OEKO-TEX ban and test for many hazardous substances used in production.
2. Cotton has Good Breathability and Absorption
Due to it’s natural fibre structure, cotton is one of the most breathable fabrics and an ideal choice for underwear and our skin in general. Cotton also is good at absorbing moisture, making it more comfortable. While synthetic fabrics tend to do the opposite – trapping air and moisture which fosters bacterial growth and potential infections. Even synthetic underwear often incorporates a cotton gusset because of its suitability for that particular area. Gynecologists regularly recommend natural fabric underwear as a healthier choice.
3. It’s Durable and Can Handle Regular Washing
While durability is typically associated with sturdy materials like denim, it’s equally essential for underwear due to the frequent washing it requires. Comparing natural and cellulose fibers, cotton performs better than bamboo, modal regarding abrasion and also holds up better than silk and wool with regular machine washing. While linen and hemp offer greater durability than cotton, they lack the softness cotton provides as underwear.
Fiber and material quality, especially longer cotton fibers found in organic cotton, contribute to the durability of the fabric.
Cotton farming also contributes to water pollution when pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers run off into local ecosystems, posing environmental and health hazards for the surrounding communities.
5. GMO Cotton has Worrying Long-Term Sustainability
The focus on long-term environmental impact is crucial when discussing the sustainability of organic cotton. While genetically modified (GMO) cotton varieties initially displayed some promising features, significant challenges such as resistant pests, secondary pests, and the emergence of “super weeds” is very concerning. These issues not only lower the yields initially promised by GMO crops but also have overall increased pesticide usage. This cycle of resistance then requires the need to continuoysly develop new strains and new herbicides and insecticides.
Thrifting guide for Edmonton. Where to shop for secondhand clothing including designer, vintage, trendy, budget-friendly, and charitable options. As well as where to sell, consign, and donate used clothing in Edmonton.
Good Stuff – High-end women’s apparel and accessories in the Glenora neighborhood.
Mod Uncorked – One of our favourites! They recently moved to a new off-Whyte location which showcases a large selection of trendy, vintage, designer, and popular brands (including some menswear!). No appointment necessary to consign.
My Favorite Aunt’s– Just off Whitemud Dr. this consignment store has a variety of classic and modern garment as well as home decor. Appointment required to consign.
Nu2You– Off-Whyte store with women’s designer and luxury clothing and bags. Appointment required to consign.
Red Pony – Another of our favourites! Red Pony specializes in Canadian brands and independent designers and also carries vintage – great for unique and sustainable pieces. Appointment required to consign.
Wardrobe on Whyte– Second-floor boutique on Whyte Ave with a selection of popular brands and classic pieces. Appointment required to consign.
Wrinkled – Whyte Ave women’s consignment boutique focused on trendy pieces and popular brands. Appointment required to consign.
LUXMRKT – Men’s consignment store on 124th street. Carry business and casual apparel. Appointment required to consign (must send photos first).
Used Clothing Stores
Plato’s Closet – Another Strathcona secondhand store, Plato’s Closet carries more affordable and fast fashion brands. No appointment required to sell, cash in hand.
Wildrose Vintage – Whyte Ave upstairs boutique with a large selection of 90s and Y2K unisex streetwear, primarily t shirts. No appointment required to sell.
Thrift Stores & Charity Shops
The most affordable secondhand shopping option, thrift stores typically offer a selection of donated clothing in a variety of styles, many use profits to directly support charities and non-profit programs.
Blenderz– “Pay by the Pound” secondhand clothing store and also Edmonton’s only no-export textile recycler – for a small fee Blenderz will recycle worn out garments. They also offer great sewing and upcycling workshops.
As far as we know, heels originated in 10th-century Persia, and, surprisingly or not, heels were meant for men only “to secure their feet in the stirrups and give them more leverage when fighting,” as L’Officiel points out. Wearing heels was a symbol of power and strength — and status, too, given that not everyone could afford horses at that time.
Persian royalty expanded the style to France in the 17th century, and soon, heels were widespread among wealthy European men. Not long after, women from the wealthier European courts began to wear heeled shoes to “achieve some of the social benefits they accrued.” That’s when heels started to be associated with sexuality and eroticism.
Since then and over the decades, trending heel types have changed throughout different generations under the influence of both male and female icons: from the pin-ups wearing high heels in the 40s, to the 60s when women were opting for kitten heels à-la Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” to the ‘70s disco era with platforms and clogs really gaining momentum also thanks to glam rock’s artists like David Bowie. And again: the return of the kitten heels in the ‘90s, with Princess Diana leading the way, then back to wedges and rock star-inspired platforms and cowboy boots in the ‘00s (think Freddie Mercury and the Queen, or Steven Tyler and the Aerosmith).
Some people may wonder how it’s possible that wearing high heels has persisted as a fashion trend until today, given how uncomfortable they can be. But if you’ve embraced walking in heels — high, low, thin, chunk, whatever they are — we put together a list of sustainable brands to keep in mind if you need to get a new pair.
(please note: some affiliate links are used in this post which means we may get a small commission)
The name itself carries this brand’s mission: No Animal Exploitation. NAE is an established brand responding to the growing demand for vegan shoes and accessories since 2008. Locally manufactured in certified and ethical factories, NAE’s heels collection includes both décolleté and open-toe sandals. A special mention to the natural cork-made heeled sandals, a true Portuguese signature!
Price: USD 98-123
Size range: US 5-10 Values: Sustainable materials, Recycled/reclaimed materials, Vegan, Factory transparency Availability: Based in Portugal, ships worldwide
AERA is a New York-based brand known for its luxury slingbacks, pumps, sandals, and boots. The 100% vegan shoes are entirely made in Italy by manufacturers committed to using “lower plastic-content materials and materials with an increased percentage of recycled content.” If you’re on the hunt for heels to treasure that do not compromise on quality, style, and comfort — this brand may easily become your go-to.
Price: USD 425-850
Size range: US 5-13 Values: Sustainable materials, Recycled/reclaimed materials, Vegan, Gives back, Plastic-free packaging, B Corp, Carbon neutral shipping Availability: Based in the US, ships within the US
Apple leather, coconut husk fibers, and bio-based lining from wheat and barley byproducts are just some of the innovative materials this brand adopted for its iconic boots. Designed with a square, comfortable heel, Sylven New York’s range of sustainably made boots includes classic plain-color pairs as well as two-tone, squared-toe, 70s-inspired pieces that make a statement.
Price: USD 345-450
Size range: US 5-11 Values: Sustainable materials, Recycled/reclaimed materials, Vegan, Factory transparency, Plastic-free packaging Availability: Based in the US, ships worldwide
Pioneering transparency and social responsibility, Nisolo is known to be one of the best-in-class US-based, sustainable shoe brands. The brand’s selection ranges from seasonal, classic sandals and boots, to mules and clogs you can wear year-round. While Nisolo is committed to continuously improving and testing out new animal-free leather alternatives, for now, the brand uses leather “as one of the more sustainable options available for high-quality, durable footwear and accessories when it’s made and processed responsibly.”
Price: USD 170-240
Size range: US 5-11 Values: Recycled/reclaimed materials, Factory transparency, Plastic-free packaging, B Corp, Take-back recycling program Availability: Based in the US, ships to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many European countries
The sleek design of VEERAH’s vegan sandals, pumps, and boots will make your eyes glisten if you love your footwear with neat lines and elegant colors. This brand’s shoes are made using apple leather, algae foam insole cushions and other natural, repurposed, and vegan materials. VEERAH winks at your bolder self offering a series of versatile accessories like chains, straps, and brooches you can add onto your shoes, and change up the style when you feel like it.
(psst. use coupon code VERENA for 10% off Veerah!)
Price: USD 228-448
Size range: US 5-11 Values: Sustainable materials, Recycled/repurposed materials, Vegan, Factory transparency Availability: Based in the US, ships worldwide
Vivaia’s low-heel shoes scream comfort from all angles! Made using innovative fibers such as rice husks and Artemisia argyi, together with recycled materials, these shoes are incredibly lightweight, wide-feet approved, extra breathable, as well as foldable and portable. Pick your fave among kitten heels, wedges, or chunky heels.
Price: USD 60-255
Size range: US 5-10 +custom Values: Sustainable materials, Recycled/repurposed materials, Gives back, Plastic-free packaging, Low-waste production Availability: Based in the UK, ships worldwide
This US-based, Mediterranean-inspired brand makes “authentic Spanish espadrille wedges.” Biankina’s espadrilles are crafted from natural jute and organic cotton canva upper: clean, ultra-comfortable, and breathable materials. Its wedged version includes soft cotton ankle tie laces for those who long for extra comfort but don’t want to give up on walking a few inches from ground.
Price: USD 115-125
Size range: US 6-10 Values: Sustainable materials, Recycled/repurposed materials, GOTS Certified, Vegan, Gives back Availability: Based in the US, ships worldwide
If stilettos don’t scare you, you’ll fall in love with Prota Fiori’s range of strap sandals, elegant pumps, and sock booties. The brand manufactures its high-quality shoes from plant-based and environmentally friendly materials such as apple and grape skin. Founder Jennifer Stucko also committed to designing and making footwear using traditional Italian craftsmanship methods to preserve the historical authenticity and ability of artisans from the Marche region.
Price: USD 375-895
Size range: US 5-12 Values: Sustainable materials, Recycled/reclaimed materials, Factory transparency, Plastic-free packaging, Gives back, B Corp Availability: Based in the US, ships worldwide
We’ve been busy and I unfortunately didn’t have time to photograph my daughter’s fall/winter capsule so I wanted to make sure to post her spring/summer wardrobe.
I now have a preschooler who is more interested in choosing her clothes and has opinions about what she likes to wear. So this capsule was more of a collaboration, and I loved it! She picked out some favourite pieces from the thrift store and we built the rest of the capsule wardrobe around those.
It’s been a HOT spring. Typically I’d have some more longer options and layers and we’d transition capsules a little later but the weather has been way warmer than usual so this capsule mainly has shorts, tees, and tanks.
We have more weekly activities. My daughter goes to Forest School once a week and gets very muddy so we have a specific outfit for those days that are older and easy to clean. So also does some sport activities so we made sure to have stretchy and comfy options for those.
She likes wearing dresses. While I previously opted for a more gender neutral wardrobe now that my daughter is older we’re incorporating more things she likes and she gets to experiment with her style. She picked out a few dresses at the store
Spring/Summer Capsule Wardrobe
Even though my daughter picked some items and colours, we still managed to create a very versatile wardrobe with lots of outfit combinations.
When determining how many pieces we need, I always plan kids capsule wardrobes around the number of outfits needed before it’s laundry time. We do laundry roughly once a week, so for this capsule I aimed for 10 outfits. My daughter usually wears shorts or leggings under her dresses so we went with 10 bottoms and then a few more tops/dresses so have a little variety.
Because it’s been so hot one layering piece is fine and then for outerwear we also have a rain coat and puddle pants.
For parents, children’s wardrobes can be overwhelming – the constant cycles of out-growing pieces and buying new clothes, dealing with cluttered and overflowing drawers, and trying find matching outfits. The solution? A capsule wardrobe – a seasonal curated collection of essential, versatile, and stylish garments that can be mixed and matched (even by the kiddos) to create countless outfits.
Capsule wardrobes create a organized and clutter-free closet where you can put outfits together with minimal thought, because decision-fatigue is very real as a parent. It also typically it means you only need to shop for new clothes 2-4 times per year, which really adds up in time saved.
I’ve been doing a capsule wardrobe for my daughter since she was a baby and it’s the perfect concept for growing kids! Allowing us to not only be more sustainable but also save money and prevent clutter.
So how do you build a capsule wardrobe for kids? Here are 8 steps to follow:
1. Take Inventory
The first step is to see what you already have in their wardrobe or maybe in storage – what still fits for the upcoming season? Do you have any gifts or hand-me-downs that are the right size? This is a good base to build your capsule around.
The seasonal change is the perfect time to clear out anything that no longer fits and pack away out-of-season items, like shorts or winter coats, so they’re not taking up space and adding unnecessary clutter.
2. Plan for the Weather
The temperature and weather is of course key to what clothing you’ll need. Will you need long or short sleeves and pants? What kind of outerwear will they need? You also need to decide if you’re doing 4 seasonal capsules or combined spring/summer and fall/winter capsules.
Don’t forget about layering options, especially if you live in a climate with fluctuating temperatures. Spring and fall in particular are the most important for having layers – cardigans, lightweight jackets, and hoodies are excellent for layering and adapting the wardrobe to seasonal changes.
3. Assess Your Child’s Needs
Consider your child’s lifestyle and upcoming activities. Think about how much time they spend outside, what activities do they regularly/frequently participate in, and are there any specific clothing requirements? This might include things like:
Clothes that are okay getting dirty/stained
Outerwear for specific activities (such as rainwear or snowsuits)
Reinforced “play” clothes if they regularly damage items
Formal clothes for regular events/gatherings
4. Decide on a General Color Palette
Pick your neutrals and have an idea of the colors you’d like for a cohesive capsule palette.
Your colors will likely will be guided by the clothing you already have, and maybe pieces your child loves. Therefore think about what additional colors or neutrals can best tie the existing colors together to give you lots of combinations.
Remember though that not everything needs to go together and match, but having a color palette will make shopping easier.
When going for prints, try to choose prints and patterns that incorporate a few of your colours so they can go with a lot of items, and again keep prints in one category (eg. tops/dresses or bottoms) to make mixing and matching easy.
5. Incorporate Signature Pieces & their Personal Style
Plan for a few statement pieces or colors to infuse personality into your child’s capsule wardrobe. This could include favorite graphic t-shirts, a fun dress, or unique layers. This is a great opportunity to get older children involved in the process if they like having a say in their clothes/style. Have them pick out some colors or select items and then build the capsule to incorporate and maximize those pieces.
These signature garments can add personalty and make the process more fun while still being versatile enough to mix and match.
6. Determine How Many Items
This will depend primarily on how often you do laundry and how often your kids require a change of clothes – is it daily or more frequently? We do laundry about once a week so I plan for my daughter to have at least 7 outfits, plus at least 3 extra because typically 1-2 times a week she may get dirty and need an outfit change. I also like to have at least 1 “fancier” option for events.
I also should note that I always have an emergency change of clothes in my bag which isn’t part of my preschooler’s capsule wardrobe and rotation of clothes, but old clothes for just in case.
Then create a list of how many tops, bottoms, layers, dresses, or other items you still need to get.
7. Go Shopping
Now it’s time to get any remaining pieces to complete your capsule wardrobe. We love secondhand shopping for kids, both for budget and sustainability reasons.
Here are some things to consider when shopping for a children’s capsule wardrobe:
Quality and Durability
The idea is the clothes will get a lot of use. So look for well-made, durable garments that can withstand the wear and tear of active children. Look for quality fabrics that are easy to clean and maintain, ensuring longevity for the clothes in your child’s wardrobe.
Comfort should always be a top priority when selecting clothes for children – if they’re not comfortable they won’t want to wear them. Opt for soft, breathable, natural fabrics that allow freedom of movement.
Children can grow fast so try and find clothes that will last at least the whole season. Look for clothes that allow for growth and flexibility, and consider sizing up if it makes sense and won’t compromise comfort.
8. Organize and Maintain
Finally, after you’ve assembled the capsule wardrobe pieces, organize them in a way that makes getting dressed a breeze. Clear out any unnecessary items and designate spaces for each category of clothing. Encourage your child to take part in maintaining the wardrobe, putting clean items into their places and teaching them about organization.
Is it a lot of work?
After reading this you may be thinking; this sounds like more work! A common reason people have for not doing a capsule wardrobe the the work of putting it together. But here’s the thing, if you look at an entire year it’s actually way less work than constantly having to shop for and replace items, never mind the clutter and stressful times getting dressed. It is more work to plan a capsule but you only need to do it 2-4 times per year!
In my opinion, the amount a capsule wardrobe has improved my own and my family’s life and decision fatigue makes the extra work a few times a year well worth it.
Building a capsule wardrobe for children can revolutionize the way you approach dressing your little ones, and helping them dress themselves. By focusing on essential, versatile pieces, you’ll save time, money, closet space, and have a lighter impact on the planet, all while ensuring your child is comfortable and stylish. Remember, the key is to create a collection that suits your child’s needs, reflects their personal style, and provides endless mix-and-match possibilities. With a well-curated capsule wardrobe, getting dressed will become a stress-free experience.
Pride month is around this corner and big brands like Amazon, Target, Walmart, GAP, SHEIN, and so many more are “celebrating” by rolling out their pride collections. Not only are large corporations often accused of rainbow-washing but these fast fashion garments were likely made in unsustainable and exploitative conditions. Good on You looked at 20 popular fashion brands with pride apparel and found 0 of them pay a living wage. Additionally, many of these garments are made in countries where it is illegal to be gay.
Instead of buying your pride clothing from these shady corporations, we’ve researched and collected a list of small businesses (many queer-owned) who are sustainably and ethically making pride shirts and rainbow merchandise and actually deserving of support!
And of course don’t forget DIY and secondhand are amazing, sustainable options for pride too! 🌈
Where to Find Ethical Pride Clothing
(please note: some affiliate links are used in this post which means we may get a small commission)
One of our favorite slow fashion brands! Anne Mulaire is a queer and indigenous owned brand with deep-rooted values. Their garments are all made in their Winnipeg studio where workers are paid a living wage. They also have fantastic circularity and sustainability initiatives such as their zero waste and resale programs.
A Canadian queer-owned line of body and gender-affirming swimwear and lingerie custom made for all sizes, shapes, abilities, and gender expressions. Their garments are made in-house in Montreal by their diverse team. Origami Customs built ethical labour and sustainability into the foundation of their business from the start. Additionally they also donate to various organizations including donating gender-affirming garments to those who can’t afford them.
I spoke with owner Rae Hill recently (check out our interview here) and am so impressed by how they’ve built an apparel business with such a positive impact and incredible community support.
Origami Customs has many great products but for rainbow apparel, most of their swimwear is available in a rainbow print! They do free custom sizing and fit for everyone.
A queer-owned brand creating unique upcycled clothing. Zero Waste Daniel developed their innovative “re-roll” technique as a way to repurpose fabric scraps and remnants into a modern patchwork fabric. All ZWD pieces are one-of-a-kind and made in their NYC studio. They have even collaborated and created custom garments for many famous drag queens such as Shea Couleé and drag activist Pattie Gonia.
While Zero Waste Daniel doesn’t specifically made rainbow shirts, their mixed print reroll pieces (pictured) showcases a variety of colors and colorful prints that work perfect for both pride celebrations and everyday wear. Their garments are available in sizes XS – 3XL.
TomboyX is a queer-owned, USA based brand and working on various sustainability initiatives. They work primarily with WRAP and Fair Labor Association factories and say they are, “hoping to have all facilities certified soon”.
Their Rainbow Pride collection includes underwear, activewear, and apparel with both bold and subtle rainbow designs. Their garments are available in an inclusive size range from 3XS – 6XL.
Take one look at Lucy & Yak and you can tell this brand loves color and rainbows. While not queer-owned Lucy & Yak highlights and celebrates diversity and supports LGBTQ+ organizations. They are UK based, use sustainable fabrics and have a take-back circularity program.
Lucy & Yak has rainbow options in many styles. Their garments are available in sizes 4 – 32 UK or XS – 4XL.
One of our favorite organic sock brands, each pair of comfy Conscious Step LGBTQ socks donates $1 to The Trevor Project. Their socks are ethically made from organic and fair trade cotton and are also vegan certified. They have many certifications to back-up their sustainability and ethical manufacturing claims – Conscious Step socks are made in India in a factory that is OEKO-TEX, GOTS and Fairtrade International certified as well as audited by WRAP and SEDEX. (Learn more about these certifications here)
I’ve worn Conscious Step socks for years and love the quality, fit, and fun prints!
Organic cotton underwear brand with a cute rainbow stripe pride collection. Thunderpants is transparent about their sourcing and supply chain with some certifications such as GOTS and Fair Trade. They have USA, UK/EU, and NZ branches which are each made locally and they detail their ethical standards on each site.
One-of-a-kind, genderless pieces made in NY from upcycled and reconstructed materials. Since each piece is unique their collection is ever-changing, but for rainbow/colorful options definitely check out their granny tanks (made from upcycled crochet blankets) and variety of accessories. They also occasionally have “junk drawer” shorts in stock with little rainbows and other small details.
Looking for ethically-made pride flags from a queer-owned business? Pride Flag SD has a variety of queer identity flags in different sizes. Their flags are locally hand-sewn in San Diego from outdoor/weather-resistant nylon strips. They prioritize living wages and making high-quality flags that will last year after year.
This queer-owned jewellery brands creates gender-free jewellery including everyday pieces as well as wedding and engagement rings. Their pieces are ethically made in-house from 100% reclaimed gold and they offer inclusively-sized rings from 2-16.
Finally, Etsy can be a great place to find pride merch and small, queer-owned businesses to support! Just note that not everything on Etsy may be ethically made as Etsy does allow shops to sell goods from third party manufacturers. Message the shop owner if you have questions!
And brands we missed with rainbow products? Please share in the comments!
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.