Men’s fashion has long been the Ken to Barbie’s ever-widening closet of outfit options. But with more sustainable shopping options than ever, it’s never been easier to curate a stylish, ethical men’s wardrobe.
Sustainability is the practice of maintaining balance and not over-utilising available resources. This means that when it comes to sustainable fashion, it refers to not only the manufacturing process but the materials used and the process that goes not sourcing them. It is a holistic approach to eco-friendly living and aims to assist in preserving your planet for future generations.
Greenwashing or true sustainability?
More and more, brands are being accused of greenwashing, which is the practice of conveying a false influence or offering deceptive statistics about how a company’s products are being sustainably sourced and eco-friendly.
Greenwashing aside, many brands are actively pursuing sustainability and transparency. If fashionable items were more sustainable, customers would be prompted to buy fewer clothes. Cheaper options make it easier to follow modern-day trends, however, cheaper clothes tend to be of lower quality. The industry’s current methodology of making fashion cheaper and faster does, however, result in low-quality garments that drive full-size environmental harm.
One of the ways to decrease fashion’s environmental footprint is to expand garment lifespans. Nottingham Trent University’s Clothing Sustainability Research Group in the U.K. argues that clothing and accessories need to be designed to last longer, and the fashion industry is slowly changing its practices to meet this need and have a positive impact on how long apparel may continue to be wearable. Part of this involves looking at how to make sustainable clothing and educating consumers on what this entails.
If fashion brands decide to lengthen the lifespan of clothing, they will in turn decrease carbon, water, and waste footprint with the aid of 20 to 30 percent each.
How men can easily afford sustainable clothes
It’s not possible to fill your closet by shopping solely at thrift stores and second-hand stores. But there are a couple of ways to fill the gaps in your closet without taking its toll on your budget.
To start with, look for eco-friendly brands. Designers like Stella McCartney may not be within reach for budget-conscious shoppers, but many brands are more cost-effective and sustainable. And if you crave a few high-end pieces, keep an eye on flash sale sites.
The non-profit Climate Neutral offers certification to clothing and apparel manufacturers that have taken measures to minimise their environmental impact and carbon footprint. They use sustainable materials and manufacturing to reduce emissions. Many of these sustainable brands are costly. But there are a few low-priced manufacturers as well.
Several sustainable brands offer daily basics, such as tees, hoodies, and jeans, at low-priced prices. These brands include Toad&Co, Alternative Apparel, Dockers, Everlane, Kotn, and People Tree.
In addition to this, Patagonia creates rugged gear, while Boody, Pact, and Tentree offer undies and activewear, such as sweats and leggings. For footwear, check out Allbirds, which sells sustainably made informal and running footwear at moderate prices. Dockers have taken to using sustainable materials that are not as water-intensive to design and create chinos, shorts, tees, and shirts.
High-end sustainable manufacturers like Stella McCartney, Nicholas K, and Eileen Fisher can end up costing a lot more than what shoppers on a budget can afford. But you can find these manufacturers for a lot much less on flash-sale sites.
Living a more sustainable lifestyle
In the end, we all need to know how to be sustainable fashion consumers to help change the world. With the social and racial awakening in 2020, so-called “conscious brands” will be held to a greater general and understandably so.
Moving forward, brands will need to have more accountability, and not simply wear a mask of sustainability and moral practice, but rather put their words into action.
5 sustainable fashion tips
Men’s sustainable clothing encompasses more than simply supporting brands with these eco-friendly messages. Following this train of thought, we have compiled a sustainable fashion guide.
1. Wardrobe check
Take a full day and take inventory of what you have, clear out what you don’t want or love, and only buy what you do need to fill gaps that you may have in your wardrobe. Everything in your closet needs to have been bought with a purpose.
2. Cost per wear
Cost per wear (CPW) is essentially getting the most out of the items that you purchase by considering how often you will wear a garment. Don’t feel deterred from investing in more expensive shoes, a luxurious jacket, or a bespoke watch if it’s high quality and you recognise that you’ll be able to wear it a lot. Avoid items that aren’t all that versatile that will most likely be pushed to the back of your closet.
3. Timeless styles
Classic menswear will never go out of fashion and consists of three pillars, namely, quality, versatility, and longevity. If you stay focused on these three areas when buying your clothing, the chance is you’ll build a timeless, well-rounded wardrobe.
For instance, a navy or grey suit, pair of brown oxfords, and knitted tie combination. It’s these traditional patterns that will stand the test of time and is, for this reason, timeless style.
4. Keep it simple
Quality over quantity. Think as a minimalist would. Consider creating your own signature look and finding clothing that can easily bring your vision to life. Not only does this simplify the getting ready process, but it’s also sustainable in the long term.
5. Wash your clothes less
If you aim to be more environmentally aware consider washing your apparel less. For instance, rather than washing your favourite pair of Dockers or Guess jeans every time you wear them, only wash them they have visible stains, or if you have been sweating profusely. This will prolong the life of your clothing and put much less stress on the environment. A win-win, if you ask me.
Joan Calabia operates as the Director of Brand Marketing for Dockers Europe at Levi Strauss & Co. Joan’s experience spans the intricacies of marketing operations to creating immersive consumer experiences. He continues to lead the brand direction adapting to the new generation of casual consumers in our era, while maintaining the California cool lifestyle that is heritage to the brand.