One of the most common questions I get asked about shopping responsibly is how to tell if a brand is a good one or not.
It's so important to inform yourself about a brand before purchasing with them, but the best and easiest way to start is by looking for signs that you can spot intuitively.
Think of the brand in question and ask these three questions:
1. How often are they bringing in new styles?
We used to have two to four seasons come out in a store every year - makes sense, right?. But in order to maximize on profit, brands are now bringing in up to 50 new rotations of clothes every year which is how it earned the title "fast fashion". It's terrible for people, the earth, our wallets, and it's not doing anything for the artfulness of fashion. It's moving too fast to be sustained.
2. Are they known for quality?
I believe one of the best things a brand can do to be sustainable is bring a quality product to the table that is meant to last. Fast fashion brands are selling clothes as if they are disposable, so they just need to look good on the rack. And the majority of clothes are now made from polyester (plastic), so they don't break down in land fills.
3. Does the cost of the item makes sense?
Expensive clothing definitely doesn't indicate it's a trustworthy brand, but cheap clothing most certainly sends a red flag. A basic cotton tee had to be grown, spun, woven, sewn, transported, and sold; so it shouldn't cost less than a latte.
These questions will weed out a lot of brands. If it passes the test, you can dig in a little deeper by reading their corporate responsibility policy or contacting them. The more we ask "Who made my clothes?", the more we move the needle.