'The True Cost'
what is 'low impact' fashion?
This post includes items gifted to me by Organic Basics.
‘I see it, I like it, I want it, I hesitate to buy it because I question the environmental impact of its production process.’
Ariana Grande, 7 rings [ Eco Remix ]
When I started out with slow fashion, I knew nothing about how the heck any of the clothes in my closet were made, let alone the damage that process was doing to the planet. And whilst I soon discovered that fashion was harming the earth, I still didn’t understand on a practical level * how * this took place, in what form, and why brands weren’t doing anything about it.
I’m so excited to be working with one of my favourite ever sustainable and ethical brands, Organic Basics, on today's blog post. They’ve created the ‘Impact Index’ - a behind-the-scenes look at the environmental impact of every step of their garments’ production process, as well as how this compares to traditional industry methods.
I'll be diving into the plastic-free sea of ambiguity that is the phrase ‘low impact fashion’, a look at the fashion industry’s eco impact vs that of Organic Basics, and sharing an exclusive 10% discount code created especially for YOU to use on any of their planet-friendly pieces!
what does 'low impact' mean?
( was there ever a more pertinent website? ) define the 'impact' in this context as 'human impact on nature and on each other'. Built on an innate focus on the discourse surrounding human action and its consequential environmental effect, the 'low impact' lifestyle is sort of an accessible take on that of the self-explanatory 'zero waste' movement.
Of course, 'low impact' and 'zero waste' dictate a myriad of day-to-day changes we can make to minimise our eco footprint - from metal straws to mason jars aplenty - but when it comes to something with an intangible cause, such as our mass-consumption-led shopping mindset, through which lens can we effectively approach and apply the phrase 'low impact'?
Let's discuss where we're at with fashion's impact and how we can switch up our buying habits.
what is the impact of the fashion industry and how can we lower it?
The aforementioned 'impact' infers the practical effects of two primary elements: our influence on nature, and our influence on each other. 'Sustainability' as an act in and of itself focuses on conservation and consistency and, of course, the physical effects of our actions play a key role in this.
When it comes to fashion, this division is illustrated by the labelling of garments 'ethical' and / or 'sustainable'. In its simplest terms, 'ethical' focuses on who was involved in the making of our clothing, and 'sustainable' explores how our clothing was made. Despite their differing bases, both are crucial factors when analysing how low the impact of a garment is.
A perfect example of our clothing's impact on the environment is the shrinking Aral Sea, pictured below.
the aral sea, 1989
the aral sea, 2014
why is the aral sea shrinking?
Once the fourth largest lake in the world, Kazakhstan's Aral Sea was transformed into farms - largely for the production of cotton - in the '60s. Cotton, a hugely popular and widely utilised material across the international textiles industry - in fact, it makes up nearly half of the total fibre used to make clothing today - requires an alarming volume of water; just one pair of jeans uses up to 1,800 gallons to be made.
With Organic Basics' emphasis on the utilisation of organic cotton, they've created a summary of how this alternative to the widely-used fibre can, in fact, make a significant difference to a garment's use of environmentally-impacting resources.
Furthermore, it is often sprayed and saturated with a multitude of toxic pesticides to protect crops, whilst these chemicals' fumes do the exact opposite to the people who are working on the crops. This alone underlines where the power players in the industry place their priorities.
the impact index
Once a piece of clothing is beyond the brand and in the hands of a consumer, they no longer have control over its impact. But there is a whole lot they can do to lower its potential impact before and after purchase during every step of a garment's production, which is something Organic Basics are working towards. In the mean time, the Impact Index focuses on how their garments are affecting the planet from crop to customer. Here are the steps they're looking at:
With a focus on their Organic Cotton and TENCEL Lyocell collections, Organic Basics approached the impact of their clothing with emphasis on the following factors:
Let's look at how Organic Basics' work compares to traditional industry materials...
To read the full Impact Index Report, click here.
want to start buying low impact clothing?
I'm so excited to share this brand with you, and to make it even easier for you to start out with low impact clothing, Organic Basics have created an exclusive discount for you to use on any of their pieces - use code 'NATIOB2' at checkout for 10% off! Ooh, and do let me know which pieces you choose and what you think of 'em!