Sustainable living: Clothing

In recent times, the topic around sustainable living has become so popular that I only occasionally get annoyed. Everyone is riding the wave of minimalism, of sustainable and in an effort to be interesting speaks or snares-unkeded, or makes daily reviews of supposedly sustainable products and articles. This is not sustainable at all, but businesses still have to live.

I start this column about a sustainable lifestyle because I want to tell a little more about my understandings and give some examples that I think are really sustainable. I use the English word because we are used to using it all the time, and yet I have a limitation in the title symbols of my articles.

Let me start from there what is sustainability?

“A system property to retain its basic characteristics when a parameter is relatively small.”

This is one of the most common definitions that anyone can interpret differently. My understanding of sustainability is:

reducing excessive consumerism, limiting the indiscriminate use of any type of products (food, cosmetics, household, that even construction).

Why am I saying things have turned out a little lately?

In my opinion, new and new products appear on the market personally, claiming to be resistive, but in most cases this is either not the case or there is some significant divergence in my and their views. After all, each company aims to sell its own merchandise, and playing it “sustainable” gets even more credit, and it’s a great advertisement. For this thing there is even a term, which I think does not have a specific translation into Bulgarian “greenwashing”. Certain companies present themselves as “green”, “eco”, “sustainable”, and in fact conceal a lot of truths related to their production, the workforce they use, as well as the materials.

In order not to get too annoying with this theory, I will continue with the essence of the topic I am talking about, namely how I “deal” with this thing and what clothes I choose to wear.

The first thing I limit myself from is shopping in fast fashion stores.

These are brands like HM, ZARA (and everything under the brand of Inditex), Mango, New Yorker, Terranova, Sinsay, LC Waikiki, and even more expensive brands that are not defined as fast fashion: Tom Tailor, Tommy Hilfiger, Guess and much more.

Why?

One of the main things that has always had a very important importance to me: the quality of the fabrics and the workmanship. All of the above are brands that create new items absolutely every season, that even several times in the season.

The fabrics from which clothes are made are cheap and poor quality, the cuts sometimes ridiculous, and the seams are sewn after another wear. Such a garment rarely lasts more than one season, which is also the idea of these companies – to buy more and more. That’s where the problem of environmental and water pollution comes from.

The other thing is that the clothing models that prevail are “trends”, not staying in time. Today you like a goofy furry jacket in bright color, but tomorrow it’s out of fashion and you stop wearing it.

The next extremely important thing is the production itself, the working conditions and salaries paid to workers in similar companies. I guess we’ve all heard at least once about the case of the clothing factory in India since May 13, 2013. The building collapsed over the heads of the workers and this incident ended with 1,134 killed and approximately 2,500 injured. All of this from lack of ness and from the poor working conditions in which employees were forced to work.

Disclaimer:

I own clothes from these brands, I’m not quite “clean.” I have those that have endured over time and turned out to be of super quality, but this is more of a rarity than something common.

My solution is to buy less, and when I do it is to comply with what I already have in my wardrobe. I don’t have a “capsule” wardrobe, although I practically do, but I don’t call it that. Every time I decide I need something, I ask myself “Do I really need it?”, I wait a while before ordering it, and if the desire has passed in a few days/week I give up. At least it works for me.

The apps that help me in my endeavor to shop more consciously are:

Cladwell – This is an app where you can add all the clothes from your wardrobe and before you buy something to see if it fits into your concept.

Good on You – This is an app where you can check different brands and how resilient they really are. There’s a rating system they’re evaluated on. Unfortunately, there are quite a few brands that are relevant on the Bulgarian market but are not present there. What I do in such situations is to do a short survey online and assess for myself whether the brand covers my sustainability criteria.

A few tips (if I may call them that) that I take myself and shop for.

  • I choose Bulgarian brands that I know produce in Bulgaria and use quality fabrics (such as organic cotton, for example, real wool or recycled fabrics). There are a lot of such brands on the market, as long as you do your research. I’m not going to be able to list everyone, but I’m going to set an example for Yvailo’sclothes , which are also vegan. In Sofia there are many bazaars of Bulgarian artists, where you can meet in person with the people who create beautiful clothes and accessories and ask them about everything related to their business.
  • I limit myself to shopping. Having more than 2 coats for winter is completely pointless, not to mention owning 10 sweaters and 30 T-shirts. In the end, I always end up wearing one coat and three or four sweaters, and the rest of the stuff just collects dust in the wardrobe. Buying a lot of items isn’t good at all.
  • I choose quality fabrics, well-sewn clothes with adequate cuts. I’m running away from trends because it’s never brought me anything positive.Buying something, I imagine I’il wear it for at least a few years.
  • I shop second-hand (!). Giving a second that even a third chance at a garment is a great way not to produce too much garbage. In second-hand stores you can find great things, at very low prices, that can last through time and serve you well.
  • I choose brands that have a history that I believe in, whose products I like, and I know they will stay in time. Below I will list a few sustainable foreign brands that I like:
    • Armedangels – this is one of my favorite clothing brands. Timeless models, use organic cotton, support small farms in India and pay their workers adequately. More information can be found on their website. In Bulgaria they can be found in Remix as well as in About you.
    • Didriksons – if you’re looking for a waterproof jacket, this is your brand. Established in Sweden for the production of fishing jackets to withstand all weather conditions. Didriksons try to be as transparent as possible from the production process, treating workers, as well as using the materials they put into their clothes. I own two jackets – one for rain and one winter, and I couldn’t be more pleased. Can be found in Remix and Mercari.
    • Patagonia – again exceptional transparency on issues with used resources, location of factories and sustainability in general. The brand is more common in Bulgaria than the previous two. I’m a big fan, but of course I shop by measure!

Of course, there are other brands that are making an effort to be more resilient. One of them is Levi’s. I shop their clothes mostly second hand, but I like that they have some vision and try to keep up with the weather and environmental problems.

The sites from which I draw information are many, but below I will leave a link to a “library” with links to various sustainable brands:

The library in the Use Less blog.

Here you can find some ideas for outfit that I share.

Here you can see an ageing article about a sustainable lifestyle, which will soon have a second part.

Sources:

Bulgarian Science Magazine

Forbes Magazine

Roxanne

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