By Julie Johnson
A conversation with NC State University’s Richard Venditti—a professor in the university’s College of Natural Resources—started my journey to becoming an eco-savvy shopper interested in slow fashion. It changed the way I think about clothes…
That conversation was the first time I’d heard about micro-plastics, the pesky particles that end up in our water and air partly as a result of washing clothes. At the time, Dr. Venditti and his team were working with Cotton, Inc, to learn more about what happens to the tiny fibers that come off our clothes when we wash them.
They found out cotton fibers biodegrade more easily in the environment, but synthetic materials like polyester and polyester blends live on as micro-plastics in our water and air.
From then on, I started thinking differently about clothes. When I needed something new, I started looking more to slow fashion brands, apparel made from 100 percent natural fibers instead of poly/cotton and other blends. I also started seeking out ways to recycle the clothes I’d stopped wearing that were still hanging in my closet.
Recently I’ve been thinking about how more knowledge about this issue might convince more consumers to change how they shop, and that question has me wondering how their decisions might impact brands.
There’s no doubt consumers are more environmentally conscious than ever. A 2019 Nielsen study found 73 percent of consumers around the world are willing to change the way they shop if it means doing good for the environment. What does that mean for brands that are pushing for slow fashion and working hard to integrate sustainability into their products and processes?
Here are five things environmentally savvy clothes shoppers are looking for from slow fashion brands:
Helping consumers make good choices for the environment that, in turn, help sustainable brands sell more products equals an all-around win for slow fashion, and that's good for people, planet, and profits.