Becoming more aware of the increasingly unsustainable environmental and social costs of fast fashion in a throw-away/disposable society has pushed me to reconsider where I purchase my clothes from and how often I purchase non basic pieces. There’s no single set of rules that results in the perfect ‘sensible & conscious’ consumer but for me if I were to purchase any items that I ‘want’ and don’t really need, I’ve turned to ethical brands – even though they are not all sustainable(as there are new garments being produced but most brands manufacture these garments out of more durable fibres such as Tencel or organic fibres such as organic cotton), their production processes give back to the community in the sense that workers are being paid fairly and are treated like humans(which should be a given standard but in today’s society isn’t). What I’ve found with ethical and sustainable brands at relatively affordable price points is that they often lack freedom in design – or so I feel but when I found the following items from the brands I’ll be talking about below, you’ll see how I came to the final decision of purchasing these pieces.
Note: In no way, shape or form are the following reviews sponsored nor do I receive any monetary commission from mentioning them – they have been purchased with my money by my own will, as explained in my disclaimer.
I saw this brand being mentioned in an Instagram post by someone I followed so I checked out the site. Doing textiles & design in highschool, we learnt about bamboo as a fibre briefly but I never got around to purchasing any bamboo clothing. Finally, I could get my hands on some odour resistant, anti bacterial, moisture wicking (for the most part) items. In retrospective, these pieces are affordable given the quality and beneficial fibre properties they perform. The underwear were around $13AUD each and the sports socks were $9.95/pair. The only downside is the lack of sizes as the S/M size which is the smallest size would be heaps loose for me if I didn’t exercise (let’s be real). I would consider this brand as both an ethical and sustainable brand in the sense that they use alternative fibres that do not produce as heavy as an environmental impact as the current fibres that are being commonly used.
See my full blogpost here for a more indepth review.
Nico from Well Made Clothes
The first ethical piece of clothing that was not thrifted was from Well Made Clothes – I still haven’t worn it to this day as the weather was really cold when I finally received it as there were delivery issues. The material and construction is sturdy and reliable and I think it’s made from Modal which is a
‘bio-based fiber made by spinning reconstituted cellulose from beech trees. It is about 50% more hygroscopic, or water-absorbent, per unit volume than cotton is. It is designed to dye just like cotton, and is color-fast when washed in warm water. Modal is essentially a variety of rayon’ [Source]
Once again, I feel like this brand is an ethical and sustainable brand combo with more focus on the ethical side. I did purchase this on sale for $49 AUD so that was affordable but generally most of the prices on WellMadeClothes are higher by a margin than the usual prices you would pay for a similar looking garment of a poorer quality from a fast fashion chain.
Read the full review here.
Discovering Ren Hang’s works late 2016, I instantly became a huge fan of his works and when one of my favourite Instagrammers 57px ( https://www.instagram.com/57px/ ) created this design to honour his legacy . The text, which was taken from one of his poems, reads:
‘life is indeed a precious gift, but sometimes i feel it is given to the wrong man’
which as cliché as it sounds, resonated with me strongly as I’ve always explored, and have continued to explore and challenge the purpose of my life and reason for my existence (are they technically the same things?? idk but you get what I mean) and some thing that keeps me going is reminding myself that life is not a gift or a curse when you are born in that instantaneous moment, it is what happens after and your outlook, actions that determines so. (You get the point haha)
The quality of this crewneck was surprisingly good for the price it was being sold at: $38 USD which is roughly $53 AUD and it includes shipping. On top of it being affordable, this is produced under ethical conditions as outlined on the website.
You can check out more products here.
This brand does use sweatshop production to produce garments, the eyelets on the sleeves of this Talos crop were hand hammered and normally with hand hammered eyelets, it can be a strong hit or miss but I could find no fault with this – it was so securely hammered in.
This is my most current and most expensive ethical piece – it cost around $90 AUD including shipping.
Unfortunately, the dye fix on the top is not the greatest – I might have to look for a dye to redye it as it’s fading fast – I’ve like washed it twice and the colour was fading from the first wash.
Read more on my first purchase experience with NunBangKok here.
Whilst not all ethical clothing brands are sustainable, they are the epitome of worker’s rights (which should be a given standard but unfortunately in today’s consumeristic society isn’t) Whilst there is the increasing emergence along with the increasing awareness of the inhuman conditions that factory garment workers are exposed to on a daily basis, there isn’t enough value being placed into the craftsmanship and history of a garment from the origins to the production to the effects as these issues are easily swept under the rug in today’s accumulation of issues.
Learning more about the processes that go into the production of items we, as consumers consume has made me re evaluate my values – if one consumer is able to make a small change in their consumption choices, then another consumer will be able to do the same thing and hopefully in the future these social and environmental issues will improve.
Always remember that shopping ethically does not require spending $$$ – you can start from thrift shopping at revamped clothing stores and buying preowned but in brand new and good condition garments from markets.
Thanks for reading – any advice/feedback is greatly appreciated!