Your Guide to Finding Answers
Here's our guide about how you can best determine a sustainable brand amongst the Greenwashed forest.
We recently did a survey where we asked a group of peeps what their favourite sustainable brand is?
“Original Weekend, duh?!”
Sure, that massaged our ego, but we wanted to know more about what you consider to be a “sustainable brand”. And, yes, there where a number of answers which presented a gap and problematic brands appeared in numbers we are uncomfortable with.
But we know it’s hard! How do you distinguish between brands doing their bet to minimise impact and make sustainable choices over brands who use greenwashing to push their fast-fashion agenda, ticking an arbitrary box whilst their business model is run solely for profit at the expense of people and planet?
With the state of greenwashing globally, where brands present themselves as having a sustainable agenda, whilst simultaneously pushing fast-fashion models, low quality high waste products, exploiting workers through the supply chain, and using fabrics and processes detrimental to the planet, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to navigate. So much so that the ACCC has launched a campaign to crack down on businesses misleading consumers with claims of sustainability.
You can read their press release about it here: https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/accc-greenwashing-internet-sweep-unearths-widespread-concerning-claims
Whilst information can be frustrating to find, and we know transparency is an issue in the fashion industry, we want to help you find the information you’re chasing a little easier and the journey to a sustainable lifestyle smoother. Because you’ll not only look better for it, you’ll feel better too and you can brag to all your mates about it, go on we know you want to.
So here are our top tips to help you choose a sustainable fashion brand to style your best days (and every day, really!):
Choosing better fabrics
Choosing fabrics that are better quality will not only benefit you, but the planet as well. We recommend first and foremost looking for natural and organic fibres, such as organic cotton, wool, hemp, and linen. These fabrics have endearing qualities such a breathability, comfort and will naturally biodegrade over time. Natural fabrics will also wash and wear better, lasting longer than cheap alternatives, so you’re investing in pieces that last. Buy less, buy quality.
If a product can’t be suitably made from a natural fibre, such as swimwear. We suggest looking for the next best thing. Recycled or regenerated fabrics. Hey bingo bongo, that’s what we do right here! Fashioning quality men’s eco swim shorts out of post-consumer plastic bottles, giving them a second stylish life.
Fabrics we do what we can to avoid are virgin polyesters, acrylic, nylon, and rayon.
Check out the brands accreditations and assurances
Do they have a policy on workers rights? What about sustainability goals? Yes, great! But also, what are they doing to ensure these practices aren’t just statements and they are making impactful progress in relation to these important topics?
The best things you can look for here are accreditations and a comprehensive understanding of their supply chain. This is where we look for things like accreditations and third-party involvement. For example, at Original Weekend we only use Global Organic Textile Standard organic cotton across our tops range – so you know it’s been tracked from farm through to factory floor. We also only partner with third-party accredited manufacturers to ensure high ethical standards are maintained for worker benefit.
Packaging and Shipping
There’s nothing more exciting than receiving your new online order, but then (sigh) you have to sift through mountains of plastic to find that treasure you ordered. Then what are you supposed to do with all that packaging?!
Look for brands who opt for environmentally responsible shipping and packaging. This includes using biodegradable and recycled/recyclable packaging and partnering with carbon-neutral shipping providers including, but not limited to, Australia Post.
This one might be a little trickier to find out – but brands that really value their commitment to the cause will also opt for lesser impact freight options such as choosing Sea freight over Air freight – that’s what we do!
A brand on this journey should be considering all of these points, actively looking at ways to reduce their impact across the supply chain.
Does this brand look at all aspects of the business through the sustainability lens?
This is a big one and a huge greenwashing Red Flag if they don’t. A brand cannot genuinely claim to be sustainable if they are only applying sustainable practices to a small group of a larger range. Sustainability is a mindset and a goal. No one brand is perfect, but sustainably minded brands know this and will always be looking for ways to improve, to reduce impact.
We don’t want you to feel overwhelmed. So how about this…
Let someone else do the hard work for you?!
With the minefield of information coming at you whenever you click on a site or enter a store, how can you be so sure? Well, it’s easy when there are businesses dedicated to providing clarity on your sustainability journey, who have done the groundwork for you.
Check out the Good On You app, where you can search a brand and find an easy 5 point rating from We Avoid to Great. Good On You rates brands on three core principles: Planet, People and Animals. Assessing a brands impact on these aspects across supply chain and measuring against best industry practices.
We’re chuffed to say we get Good! And we’ll be forever working towards Great! You can find our rating breakdown here: https://directory.goodonyou.eco/brand/original-weekend
We hope this blog article makes finding your next favourite sustainable brand a little easier. And if we've done our part right, next time we ask what your favourite is we'll hear a lot more "Original Weekend!"
Original Weekend is a sustainably minded menswear brand owned and designed independently in Melbourne, Australia. Our mission is to make quality men’s t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, and the best men’s swimwear that work to reduce harm to planet and people, while lasting for seasons to come and making you feel amazing through unique print design, feel good colours and the best fits. Because everyday should feel good, and our pieces bring the joy.