Vote With Your Wallet!:
A quick guide for measuring a retail store's sustainability
by Collin Anderson
Are all retail brands bad? No! New, doesn’t necessarily mean evil. There are many different brands across the globe who are doing their best to try and produce new, quality and sustainable apparel. However, a large majority of retail stores, specifically Fast Fashion brands, are damaging the environment and reliant on malicious business practices. As a consumer it is important to be able to differentiate between these brands. Consumers vote with their wallets. When consumer tastes shift toward more sustainable companies, brands which rely on cheap labor and unsustainable supply chains will be forced to adjust. Thrift Collective’s goal isn’t to become the sole distributor of clothing, rather its to expedite the transition of clothing to a more sustainable source. If you are an avid shopper, here is a quick checklist to see if what you are buying comes from a more sustainable source.
The first check is to see what material makes up the product. Any synthetic materials made of rayon, polyester, neoprene etc. are significantly more damaging from a production standpoint since they are derived from plastics. It is much better to shop for clothes which come from natural materials like cotton. Ideally, if you can find any clothes made with recycled fiber, those would obviously be the least damaging. Next, it is important to look up how the product is made. Many companies cut costs through horrendous labor practices which damage the local economies around their production facilities. If the brand who makes the piece outsources its labor, see if they say anything about conforming to sustainable labor practices. Lastly, do a quick search on what the business says about sustainability. Are they currently trying to reach any sustainability goals? You can also look at the fashion sustainability index to see if the brand actually backs up what they say with action.
The Bottom Line. It's all about transparency. Brands which are honest with their employees and customers normally do a significantly better job of reaching sustainable production practices. If you are struggling to find the answers to these questions, or if it seems like the company is hiding something, they probably are! Taking these few minutes to find these answers will give you a better understanding of the product you are buying and allow you to vote with your wallet!