Today, March 21, is the International Day of Forests, but what does that mean? Living in a fairly green country with access to a lot of resources, it is easy to forget the impact of forests on the world as a whole. There are a lot of factors that impact our forests, but apparel is a huge culprit when it comes to protecting them. Luckily, we have some sustainable brands that are here to help!
The UN states that one-third of the earth’s land is filled with forests. These forests provide safety, food, medical needs, resources and careers to about 1.6 billion people all around the world. We disregard everyone dependent on these necessary resources to survive when we lack understanding or care for our forests.
“Healthy forests mean healthy, resilient communities and prosperous economies.”
Fashion is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to deforestation and pollution of forests. According to American Forests, each year over 100 million trees are cut down and about 20% of all industrial pollution stems from fabric production.
Some of the worst secret offenders of forests? Rayon, viscose, and modal. These are sneaky fabrics because they are technically cellulosic fibers (fibers made of plant-based materials). However, during the composition process, over 60 percent of the actual fiber is wasted, making the process inefficient and wasteful of the sacred resources.
First of all, why is forest-friendly fashion important?
When we protect our forests, we are also protecting other individual’s homes, livelihoods, and sources of food. As individual people, we might not be able to save the environment on our own. But if we collectively make small, significant steps in the right direction, we can make a difference together.
Read about how one ‘miracle tree’ has multiple benefits for an FH community
Despite what you might have thought, yes, it is very possible to wear forest friendly fashions and not look like post-fall Adam and Eve.
What does forest-friendly fashion look like?
There are a few things to consider when looking for products.
- Pick organic cotton, or if possible hemp, which requires half the land per ton to grow than cotton does, which decreases the demand for deforestation, and also uses 50 percent less water than cotton does. Organic cotton also uses fewer chemicals, which can be extremely toxic to both farmer and consumer.
- Look for polyester made from recycled materials.
- Opt for new garments that are made from a single material and recycle them once their purpose has been completed.
- Buying second-hand is ALWAYS a good option to extend a garment’s life and ensure that you aren’t wearing the same outfit as someone else.
How can I hop on board?
If you don’t have the time to examine every single clothing label you encounter, take a look at some of the following brands that are taking these forest-friendly steps into serious action.
This “Made in LA” company uses 100% GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) cotton and also produces all of their products within a 5-mile radius of their headquarters. MATE combines both sustainable and ethical production practices.
“The future of clothing is clean.”
2. Wawwa Clothing
Wawwa is thoughtful of the environment from production to packaging. In their fabrics, Wawwa used both organic cotton and recycled plastic from the sea. All products are PETA approved and the packaging is compostable. On top of that, the company has planted over 1,000 trees.
“Clothing that puts the planet and people before profits.”
3. MATT & NAT
This company created handbags using vegan leather and makes the inside linings of each bag from 100% recycled plastic bottles. They have recently incorporated recycled tires and cork into some of their newer products and will continue to search for more recycled and vegan products.
“Live beautifully is our mantra. Its meaning is broad yet easy to understand; simply put we take care of our planet as it takes care of us.”
SHEMA started their company on the basis of ethical practices. They employ survivors of human trafficking as well as those marginalized by society. In their clothing, they use organic cotton and biodegradable packaging. As a new company, SHEMA is very transparent about the areas they need to improve in, and any changes they want to make moving forward. SHEMA understands that making changes is a process, and are asking for the same grace we should be giving ourselves. Every lifestyle change is a process, but taking care of our forests shouldn’t be difficult.
“We see faces when we look at apparel.”
Shopping forest-friendly is just another one of the many ways you can help the most vulnerable around the world. Click here to learn about other ways you can be an advocate.
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