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Ethical brand: where to buy your eco-responsible clothing?

Online store or brick-and-mortar store, new businesses aim to green the textile industry and highlight their actions for the planet. But, when exactly can we call a brand ethical? How to recognize them? We will go over the essential points with you to help you with your next purchases.

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Since the 1990s, fast fashion has invaded the fashion industry. The textile industry has become the second most polluting industry in the world, after the oil industry.

Polluting materials, disastrous carbon footprint, water pollution, encouragement of overconsumption, goods that travel around the world, catastrophic working conditions for employees... fast fashion is really not a viable model in the long term.

With these observations, fashion lovers decided to launch their slow fashion brand. This is what made us want to create Angarde. With thoughtful production and a lower carbon footprint, we want to give meaning to our production!

What is an ethical brand?

As an economic actor in our society, producers have a role to play in the future of our planet. Ethical brands have understood their social and environmental responsibility. And, they are committed to these two aspects. A sustainable brand must think about its entire production cycle, without neglecting social aspects. For example, she can work with people in reintegration, disabled workers or with farmers offering sustainable solutions as Angarde has chosen.

Sometimes, these brands carry out actions in parallel. This is what we decided to do at Angarde. In addition to our shoes, every year we donate 1% of our turnover to Surfrider Foundation Europe which works to clean up the oceans. More concretely, we organize cleanwalking sessions to clean coastal beaches. To find out more about our approach, you can consult our history and our 0 waste approach!

Paradoxically, brands concerned about the environment will not encourage you to make regular purchases. For the environment, the best consumption remains that which we do not do. The second most interesting option for our planet is reasoned and rare consumption. This is why producers seek to offer products that will last for years without being damaged.

Moreover, the end of life of your clothes and shoes should not be neglected. Even if your purchases are ethical, it is best to avoid incinerating them or throwing them away anywhere once you no longer use them. Angarde has developed a “Second Life” program to anticipate the end of your shoes. All you have to do is contact us, send them back and we will take care of the recycling and material recovery! This will make new shoes, which you might like. To encourage this gesture, customers receive a 15% discount voucher.

Production relocated nearby

Ethical production is local production. Relocating production to foreign countries has many consequences. First of all, not all countries are as careful as Europeans when it comes to human rights and working conditions. In Pakistan or Bangladesh, employees are often paid very little and their health is not protected.

In addition, distant production necessarily means that the clothes will have to travel. A country for the cultivation of raw materials, another for the design of clothing and yet another for their consumption. This makes the carbon footprint of each garment significant.

It is often difficult to locate the entire life cycle of clothing in a single country. But it is possible to largely relocate it and limit it to Europe.

Angarde works with partners in Italy, Spain and with Filipino farmers on a sustainable sector for its products.

In the textile industry, one of the most important factors for a sustainable approach is the choice of materials. For each fabric, the cultures and manufacturing models are more or less polluting.

What materials do ethical brands use and why?

Materials such as cotton, elastane, viscose and polyester are banned. Cotton cultivation is the third most water-consuming crop, after rice and wheat. It is a material which leads to significant consumption, while water is running out in certain regions.

Elastane is a polluting material. Because of its composition, micro-particles of plastic come off your clothes with each wash. These microparticles end up in the water. For viscose, it is its manufacturing process that is in question. It requires carbon disulfide, which is particularly toxic and dangerous to the workers who make your clothes.

As for polyester, it is a material derived from petroleum which consumes a lot of water and energy. In addition, polyester can be dangerous for the health of workers and those who wear the clothing. On the more practical side, this material causes significant perspiration.

However, there are more and more much cleaner alternatives! Ethical brands instead use organic or recycled cotton, linen, hemp or other recycled materials. These are quality products that do not require too much water or chemicals.

Upcycling, clean and sustainable materials, recycling… There are many solutions. Angarde strives to choose its raw materials carefully. Our shoes are made from recycled, upcycled or eco-designed materials.

Espadrilles in recycled linen, sneakers in upcycled grape, pineapple or cactus leather and slippers in recycled wool, all our models are made from clean and sustainable materials. You can even have access to the list of our materials .

How can you recognize an ethical brand?

When you are a novice, it is not easy to recognize the greenwashing of a truly responsible approach. The brands involved strive to be transparent. You will find precise information on the materials used, the manufacturing method and the location of production.

In Angarde, we measure our carbon footprint using Carbonfact. This allows us to measure our environmental impact for each of our shoes to improve. If the brand is serious, this type of information is made public.

What are the certification labels for eco-responsible production?

To help you sort between greenwashing and truly ethical brands, labels and certifications exist. But be careful, if a brand is not labeled, it does not necessarily engage in greenwashing. To obtain a label, you often have to pay for a study and not all brands have the means to do this at present.

  • Global Organic Textile Standard or GOTS

This GOTS certification is the guarantee of an organic textile made in an ecological way. It is an international label which focuses on production processes and respect for decent working conditions. GOTS certified clothing has no residue of heavy metals or other substances toxic to health.

  • Fair Wear by Fair Wear Production

This label is exclusively focused on the social aspect, and not the environmental one. The Fair Wear Foundation monitors working conditions.

  • Oeko-Tex

The label includes several different certifications. Oeko-Tex is particularly vigilant regarding technical standards. It checks the dangerousness of products for human health and the presence or absence of toxic products for humans and the environment.

  • Origin France Guaranteed

With this label, a significant part of the manufacturing of the products takes place in France. For the planet, that means less transport, and therefore greenhouse gases! This also means that jobs are created in France, under fair conditions.

  • Peta approved Vegan

Finally, this label focuses on animal testing as well as the production of products from animals. The downside is that there is no control and that it is obtained by self-declaration.

If in doubt, you can use the Moralscore website. On it, you can look at which brands respect your values ​​and principles and make your purchases accordingly. You now have all the tools in hand to make more ethical purchases and avoid products that are harmful to the planet, and to you!