In recent years, sustainability has become something of a buzzword for several industries. Sustainability is influencing conversations about everything from transit and energy to food and clothing. One place where the discussion about sustainable, ethically produced goods is starting to have a big impact is the world of winter clothing. Consumers, especially young people, are increasingly interested in making ethical choices and finding sustainably-produced clothing.
Winter coats have often been fraught with controversy. The use of fur has been controversial for decades, now. No one can forget the PeTA protestors who would splash people in fur coats with paint. Canada Goose coats have even been controversial for their use of goose down and coyote fur. At the same time, some synthetic fibers are not biodegradable. Extruding more plastics is unlikely to help the environment or the animals, either. In order to find sustainable, ethical winter gear, a little bit of research is needed.
Some brands have adapted to the new marketplace. Many brands have established recycling programs for their old clothes. The brands then recycle, re-purpose or donate the clothing items to people who will wear them. Typically, they reward customers with coupons or discounts. H&M, the North Face and Levi’s are among the brands that have clothing recycling programs. Many of these companies will even accept clothing from brands other than their own. Supporting these socially responsible brands can mean that everyone wins.
Another way to make winter clothing more sustainable is not to create new demand. That’s right: thrifting is a great way to be a more ethical consumer. Instead of supporting fast fashion, support well-made items and the idea of re-use. Thrifting is also a great way to reduce the demand for new animal-based products made with goose down, wool or fur. By thrifting, it’s possible to get more out of the animal products that have already been harvested and used.
Finally, synthetics have come a long way. Many brands market items made from high-performance fleece that’s both warm and durable. Synthetic insulation is often more effective than natural products like goose down. Now that every brand has a website, it’s possible to find out the specs of the insulation used in winter gear and see what’s most efficient.
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