by Neve Kelley

Sustainable practices are now mainstream.

Everything we create has an impact on our planet. There are multiple things severely threatening it, but clothing production is one of the biggest. While there are so many “traditional” clothing companies actively worsening the problem, there are increasingly more brands embracing change for the future. 

Patagonia is one of the well-known brands that acknowledges and addresses their environmental impact. Created by a group of climbers and surfers, the company was built to limit ecological impact and create products that could benefit our Earth. As they note on their website, “At Patagonia, we appreciate that all life on Earth is under threat of extinction. We’re using the resources we have—our business, our investments, our voice and our imaginations—to do something about it.” To reduce their carbon footprint, 64% of the materials Patagonia is using comes from recycled fibers. Switching to these recycled materials cut down nearly 3,000 metric tons of CO₂e, which is enough energy to power 350 homes for one year. Patagonia also strictly uses organically grown cotton, which reduces water consumption and carbon emissions by 45%. Setting the standard for transparency, Patagonia’s website encourages customer engagement by providing insight into how their clothing is made. Learn about Patagonia’s Environmental and Social Responsibility Programs here and here.

Reformation is another widely popular eco-friendly brand. Initially a vintage store, they quickly transitioned to produce eco-conscious clothing. Each week, they put out small quantities of limited-edition pieces, making their production right-sized for their demand. With a mission to bring sustainable fashion to everyone, Reformation is becoming the future of fashion. By sourcing electricity from 100% wind power suppliers, recycling, composting, and donating or recycling their textile waste, Reformation helps to ease the burden that the fashion industry has placed on the environment. The brand has a goal for zero waste—they currently recycle 75% of their garbage and hope to soon surpass 85%. The clothing company has also adopted Environmentally Preferred Purchasing policies, meaning almost everything they need to operate their business is environmentally friendly. Plus, they have been 100% carbon neutral since 2015, which means they have balanced their carbon emissions out through climate action and have achieved net-zero carbon emissions. Reformation is clearly investing in and changing the future of the fashion industry, and our planet. Visit this site to read more about Reformation’s sustainable practices.

These are just two of the many brands pushing for fashion to become more sustainable. While it can be a significant lifestyle change for some of us to switch to these sustainable clothing brands, I encourage you to investigate it! We are not able to control many of the things that threaten our planet, which is why supporting sustainable fashion is particularly important. We have the power to make a change—and even a small change can go a long way. 

About Neve Kelley

Neve Kelley and is an International Baccalaureate student at Richwoods High School. In addition to being in an academically rigorous program, she is heavily involved in community and school theatre productions. Kelley takes private voice lessons, training in musical theatre and opera, and has been involved in choir and madrigals. Kelley is also a writer for the news section of the school paper, a Student Council senator, in various school clubs, and active in community service. Most Recently, she became a volunteer for Her Drive, a nonprofit aimed at providing bras, mensural products, and general hygiene products to help end period poverty. As part of that effort, she hosted a month-long drive in Peoria to help those in need.

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