How to Understand the Carbon Footprint of the Clothing You Buy

You might be wondering: What does carbon have to do with fashion, anyway? Before we dive in, let’s cover the basics: a carbon footprint is the estimated amount of greenhouse gas emissions from a product you might buy, a company, or even a country. The vast majority of human-produced greenhouse gas comes from carbon dioxide, which results from burning fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, and oil. This is bad news for Planet Earth - heightened levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have catastrophic effects by trapping heat, ultimately raising global temperatures.

And when it comes to the clothing you buy, it might surprise you to learn that the fashion industry emits about the same amount as the economies of France, Germany, and the UK combined - yikes! While large-scale systemic change is needed to reduce the most harm to the planet, our individual habits and choices do make an impact! 

Here are our 5 top tips to reduce your personal carbon footprint when shopping for cute, sustainable clothing and accessories:

Sourcing that’s local to the makers

We often think about “local” as local to where you live. But when it comes to fashion, most things you’ll buy aren’t fully sourced and made in your hometown. Instead, think about local sourcing as local to the producer: how far do the materials have to travel before they are made into a piece you want to buy and add to your wardrobe? 

Rattan Placemat | Wearwell Sustainable, Ethical Clothing and Home Goods

Rattan Placemat

Brands like Manava, Faire Collection, and Mercado Global source their materials - from fibers to fabrics to leather to beads - close to their production location. This reduces the overall emissions from transportation throughout the manufacturing process. Definitely a case where less is more! 

 Rosa Tote, Blue and White | Wearwell Sustainable, Ethical Clothing and Accessories

Rosa Tote, Navy Dash

Recycled materials and renewable energy sources

Look for brands that incorporate recycled or deadstock materials into their products. From jeans to socks, recycled cottons and wools are easier to find than ever before. Here at wearwell, you’ll see that the majority of our brand partners use recycled, upcycled, or deadstock materials.

We make it easy to find them, too! Look for these badges when searching for your next sustainable find: 

Impact Badge Icons | Wearwell Sustainable, Ethical Clothing and Accessories

 

Casual Sock, Green Basil Marl Waffle | Wearwell Sustainable, Ethical Clothing and Accessories

Arvin Goods, Casual Sock in Basil Marl Waffle

We love how our brand partner Tonlé focuses on zero waste to amp up their positive environmental impact. They use deadstock fabrics sourced locally to their makers, use plant-based dyes, and even have solar panels on the roof of their production facility in Cambodia.

Rita V-Neck Top, Black | Wearwell Sustainable, Ethical Clothing and Accessories

Rita V-Neck Top, Black

Slow and steady helps the planet

How things are transported is just as important as distance when it comes to your carbon footprint. Similarly, how quickly something arrives at your doorstep can speak volumes about the energy needed to get it there. 

Automatic two-day shipping can be an indicator that environmental sustainability is not that company’s priority! Consider consolidating purchases (just one of the great things about shopping from our marketplace of 45+ brands!) and choose slower shipping options whenever possible.

Buy high-quality pieces and care for them

One of the best things we can do to lessen our individual carbon footprint is to consume less overall. And when it comes to our closets, buying high-quality pieces and taking care of them goes a long way! 

 The V-Neck Tee, Midnight | Wearwell Sustainable, Ethical Clothing and Accessories

The V-Neck Tee, Midnight

If you’re looking for a place to start, focus on your basics when they need replacing. The V-Neck Tee and The Sweatpant from The Standard Stitch are our go-to wardrobe essentials and they’re made to last, using recycled cotton and materials. Try out the Corey Rib Dress from People Tree for a totally timeless, office-ready style.

Corey Rib Dress, Khaki Green | Wearwell Sustainable, Ethical Clothing and Accessories

Corey Rib Dress, Khaki Green

Load up the laundry! 

When it comes to clothing care, doing full loads of laundry is a simple way to minimize your impact on Mother Nature. Running a full load of laundry will also cut down on microplastic pollution and it’s a more efficient use of water - a win-win all around! Dropps is one of our favorite sources for clothing care how-to’s. They offer toxic-free laundry products and a wealth of knowledge on how to give your clothes an extra-long life.

For more clothing that lessens your personal carbon footprint, head on over to our collection of New Arrivals.

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