April marks Earth month. And although we should be fashion-conscious throughout the year, this occasion is crucial for amplifying awareness about how the industry and our personal shopping habits affect the planet.
Everybody has at least one pair of jeans, but the material’s demand for resources contributes to water deprivation and increases the spread of harsh chemicals on the environment on garment workers, according to ethical brand rating website denim/#:~:text=In%20addition%20to%20the%20pesticides,to%20worker%20health%20and%20safety.”>Good On You. Clearly, there is a necessity for improved sustainability in the denim industry.
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“A good quality pair of jeans is made to last a lifetime, and luckily denim never goes out of style. That’s why it’s important to pick a pair of jeans that you won’t need to replace every couple of years,” says Esther Knight, founder of sustainable fashion brand Fanfare. “Focus on quality over quantity; and whilst a sustainable pair of denim jeans may cost more initially, you will get your cost per wear based on how much longer they last over fast fashion denim.”
She launched the brand in 2019 after working as a buyer in the fashion industry for over 10 years. Fanfare’s stunning pieces from cargo pants to statement jeans, recycled cashmere jumpers and brushed cotton shirts, prove that it’s possible to create stunning clothing that every It-girl wants to wear. Royal socialite Lady Amelia Windsor is just one of many sustainable champions who are fans of the brand.
Knight tells us how to make sure you are shopping denim in a a sustainable way:
How to shop jeans sustainably in 4 simple steps:
1. Check The Labels
“Green certifications are the easiest way to identify sustainable and eco-friendly denim brands, and you can check by looking on the label of the clothing . Denim fabrics that are considered sustainable should contain the Global Recycling Standard (GRS), Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), and the Organic Content Standard (OCS) label. These standards require brands to practise using recycled materials, sustainable processing of textiles made from organically grown fibres, and the use of organic cotton.”
2. Know the materials
“Denim from fast fashion brands is typically made with cotton and elastane. As elastane is a synthetic, it can’t be biodegraded after it’s been worn. Cotton is also the thirstiest plant used, which requires 10,000 litres of water to produce just one pair of jeans.”
“It’s important to check that the materials are made from organic cotton or post-consumer recycled cotton as these materials can be broken down and spun into a new fibre – which is what we do at Fanfare Label. This means that after the denim has reached the end of its lifecycle, it can be reused and resold to consumers, which embraces a circular model.”
3. Where are they made?
“Without audited factories, the use of chemicals can be unregulated which often results in poor working conditions. One way to check if a brand adopts ethical manufacturing processes is by looking on ‘Good on You’, which is an ethical brand ratings app. As denim is one of the most dangerous clothing items to produce, it’s important to check whether the brand practises health & safety amongst their workers.”
“Due to the hazardous chemicals in denim, it’s important workers are protected and corners are not cut in order to save costs. Luckily, ‘Good on You’ uses sustainability experts and analysts to evaluate brands on how their clothes are made, who produces them, where they’re made from, how workers are treated, and what environmental impacts that products have.”
4. End of life cycle
“Every second the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is dumped into landfill or incinerated. That’s why it’s a good idea to research whether the brand offers an aftercare service that either repairs, recycles or repurposes the denim. Even if the brand doesn’t offer the service directly, they may have partners that they offer the service with.”
“Fanfare Label strives to give an infinite life cycle to clothes which is why we offer our upcycling initiative; which allows consumers to send their pre-loved jeans to the team and they will revamp and reinvent them in a one of a kind piece.”
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