Making clothing is a costly business, not just economically, but environmentally and socially as well. When cottons and other plants are processed for clothes, it can take a lot of water and lots of energy. For example, to make one cotton shirt it can take 2,700 liters of water. That’s enough water for one person to drink for about 2.5 years!

Workers producing clothes are often underpaid. The waste products from clothing production is sometimes dumped into waterways and agricultural fields. To choose clothing sustainably, consider the entire process. Look for fair trade and organic cotton or other fabric materials. Read the “about us” section of the brand’s website to learn about their policies. See if they are addressing all of the sustainability issues that are important to you.

Shopping at consignment and thrift stores promotes economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainability. Buy something you need secondhand. You might be surprised at what you can find in like-new or gently-used condition. Depending on where you shopped, you might even find yourself feeling good about supporting a worthwhile cause.


  • Buy from companies that use sustainable materials and fair trade labor
  • Think about what you really need while you are shopping
  • Shop at secondhand stores, you never know what deals you’ll find
  • Resources:
    Fair Trade Clothing
    EcoFriendly Brands
    Apparel’s Environmental Impact
    True Cost
    Cashmere’s Cost
    What to Wear to be Kind to the Planet
    Your cheap clothing is killing the planet – but it doesn’t have to

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