Unsurprisingly, the fashion industry is slow to hold itself accountable for testing chemicals used on clothing or for being transparent about which chemicals have been used on clothing it is selling.
Stories like this often carry accompanying messages that lament the inability to do much about the problem. Luckily for us, we know that we have some options like:
- Avoiding synthetic fibers :: They are far more likely to involve toxic chemicals. Looking for natural fibers is certainly a good starting point, however even natural fibers can be subjected to pesticides and toxic dyes. So an even better option is..
- Looking for organic fibers :: GOTS certification is nice. Organic fibers are not necessarily pesticide free, however. There are some substances that are allowed within organic practices.
- Looking for natural + plant dyes :: This can mean different things, because an inorganic mordant may be used to set even these dyes.
- Looking at small brands :: The smaller the brand, the more transparency can be offered about the conditions in which the fabrics were grown and the dyes + chemicals to which the fabrics have been subjected. Read about their processes + ask questions.
- Choosing linen or hemp :: Both of these fabrics require less chemicals (+ water) to grow. They are often more durable + long lasting as well.
- Choosing undyed fibers :: These can look amazing + might also provide a great opportunity for some natural dyeing experiments. Color-grown cotton + wool are incredible options too.
- Shopping for our own fabrics :: Buying fabric that has a beautiful, transparent story attached is possible! Real treasures result!
- Wearing the natural fibers already in our own closets :: Not only do synthetic fibers involve more chemicals, they shed plastic microfibers with every wash. Moving away from synthetics is a positive move. Many of us already have enough in our closets to not need to do much (if any) replacing were we to let go of the synthetic fibers already in our closets. Maybe just consider it? ;)
- Giving feedback :: Letting brands know what we love about their choices + what we would love to see them improve upon is extremely important! We know that better is possible. Let's work together toward positive change!