For a long time, luxury fashion has been associated with excess. Thousand dollar shoes that are meant to last a season. A high-end gown worn just once.
But luxury doesn’t need to be lavish. Good taste doesn’t mean overindulgence.
It’s possible to buy clothes that are both luxurious and responsible. In fact, more and more fashion-forward buyers are holding brands accountable for the impact that their clothes have on the world around us.
Sustainable luxury fashion means investing in garments that are of the best quality and do the most good. It’s about caring about how you look, but also about how you impact the world around you.
But in order to understand why sustainable luxury fashion matters, you first need to ask the question…
How does fashion impact the earth?
In the world of fast fashion, garments are often worn for a few months before being cast aside as out of season. It’s not hard to see how keeping up with trends can create a lot of waste. Opting for a more timeless wardrobe that survives the changing seasons is one way to minimize your impact.
And it’s not just how often we wear our clothes that affects the environment. The materials they’re made of have an impact, too. The sad truth is that inexpensive fabrics are often produced in a way that’s harmful to the earth. Polyester, for example, is popular because of its cheapness and resistance to wrinkles. But it’s made from non-renewable resources, isn’t biodegradable, and is produced using harmful chemicals.
Related: Why wear organic cotton T-shirts?
How are luxury and sustainability related?
When it comes to fashion, luxury and sustainability are often intertwined. Higher price tags aren’t just status symbols; expensive luxury garments often come with benefits like:
Quality. Luxury fashion is made from the best quality materials, not the cheapest ones. Our sustainable luxury T-shirts, for example, are made from 100% organic cotton, which is softer and more breathable, and uses less water than conventional cotton.
Durability. Luxury garments are made with better materials and better processes. That means they last far longer than cheaper alternatives. By buying well-made clothing, you reduce waste and lower your cost per wear, saving you money in the long run.
Mindfulness. Consumers are getting smarter about the moral cost of their purchases. Do your due diligence on clothing brands and you’ll find that luxury brands are more likely to produce their products the right way as opposed to the cheap way. Sometimes a higher price tag means healthier conditions for workers or pesticide-free farming. Your dollar is your impact—ask yourself what you support.
How do I find sustainable luxury fashion brands?
While many of the qualities that make a brand luxurious also make it sustainable, not every high-end brand is conscious of its impact. Luckily, there are plenty of resources to help you find out which brands are dedicated to sustainability.
Certifications like GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) and Fair Trade are given to brands that follow strict, pre-determined measures to ensure their products are made in ways that minimize harm to the environment and communities. Certifications are a great way to know for sure that the product you’re buying is sustainable, but not every sustainable brand will have official certification.
Good on You has an app that ranks brands on an ethical rating system which reflects how they treat the planet, people, and animals. The system takes into account certifications as well as reliable public statements. Good on You also publishes roundups to help you discover new ethical brands to shop.
Certified B Corporations pledge to be conscious of their impact on people and places and to conduct their business in a way that does no harm and protects future generations. You can search this directory to find certified businesses.
Can luxury sustainable fashion be as simple as a T-shirt?
A T-shirt might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think high fashion, but here’s why the lovable basic might be the simplest solution to the question of sustainable luxury fashion.
First, it’s immune to the changing tides of fast fashion. T-shirts never go out of style, and they can be dressed up and dressed down depending on the season or occasion. Versatility and durability are cornerstones for sustainable fashion, and a good T-shirt checks both items off the list.
But not all T-shirts are made equally. Opt for a luxury brand that follows sustainable principles and handcrafts their garments to create a flattering fit. If you’re spending money on an expensive T-shirt, you want it to both be good for the world and look good on you.
At The Classic T-Shirt Company, our T-shirts are handmade using environmentally friendly and fair trade practices. Our luxury lightweight fabric makes our shirts ideal for layering—they can be part of your look in any season. Check out our line of semi-fitted men’s T-shirts and boyfriend fit women’s T-shirts for a timeless fashion staple that’s as sustainable as it is chic.
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