A vacation is to many the perfect time to shop till you drop and bring a breath of fresh air to your wardrobe, in particular. But as our awareness of the environmental impacts of our everyday lives increases, including the impact of travel, many feel compelled to choose more sustainable options when travelling. Shopping is no exception. Whether it is organic materials, safer chemicals used in manufacturing, or fair trade standards you are looking for, there is a wide array of innovative brands to be discovered all over the globe. Read on to find out more about different environmentally sound products, and some of our favourite sustainable labels!
When buying clothes made of organic cotton you can enjoy peace of mind, as you can usually rest assured that no pesticides were used in the production process. Be sure to have a look at the tag on the garment you are thinking of purchasing: if you see the phrases 'Wash Separately' or 'Wash Before Use', you may be better off leaving the item on the rack - it may be that the dyes used adhere to the fabric poorly, and can be absorbed by the skin. Even the phrases 'Do Not Iron' or 'Wrinkle-Free' can suggest that questionable chemicals have been used.Another standard for the production of garments you may want to keep an eye out for is the fair trade logo. Purchasing 'fair trade' garments will make a contribution towards worldwide respect for minimum wages, the promotion of the safety of textile workers, and prevention of child labor. If you are not sure about what materials were used in the production of the product, or whether fair trade standards were adhered to, just ask - the small dictionary we have put together below should help you find what you are looking for. Our list of international sustainable brands should also help you enjoy your holiday shopping spree with a clear conscience!
It is easy to see that great style and a clear conscience go well together at this concept store on Baldestrasse in Munich's Glockenbachviertel. The selection is vast and varied, including everything from trendy shoes and extravagant bags, to leopard print leggings and colourful underwear! Exploitation and cruelty to animals are, however, nowhere to be found. All the products are produced in a people-friendly and environmentally responsible way, with an extra perk for vegetarians and vegans: no materials of animal origin were used in the production of the goods.
Ethics meets aesthetics! The range of products available at Changemaker goes far beyond clothing. Whether you have your heart set on an alarm clock radio, plush toy, or watch, you are sure to find it at one of Changemaker's six locations around Switzerland. All products are marked with clear symbols, showing you where the raw materials came from, if the product was made of recycled materials, and how energy efficient they are.
The Netherlands and Belgium: Cora Kemperman
Cora Kemperman stands for extravagant design, wide skirts and coats, and vibrant colours. The brand has been geared towards sustainability in every way since its founding in 1995, and all of its nine shops in major cities in The Netherlands and Belgium have been set up following eco-friendly criteria. An international certification system ensures transparency, and independent auditors provide a fair remuneration for the textile workers.
Finland: Globe Hope
Globe Hope is a Finnish brand that manufactures clothing from mainly recycled materials. The technical term? Upcycling! However, you will have to reach a bit deeper into your pockets for these unusual clothes and accessories. But in return, you will certainly come back from your holidays with some very unique items. The most exciting project, according to Globe Hope, was the production of a handbag collection, created out of materials previously used for a hot-air balloon. At Globe Hope you will find individual pieces, each of them with a unique story behind it.
Organic cotton, natural dyes, and recycled plastic bottles; in Brazil, the issue of sustainability is becoming increasingly important, also within the fashion industry. The movement is led by Oskar Metsavaht, whose high fashion collections, under the brand Osklen, are admired on catwalks around the world. Oskar Metsavaht was honored in Brazil with Instituto E's Sustainability Award for his tireless efforts in trying to bring nature, people and fashion together in his work. Osklen shops can be found in Rio de Janeiro and SÃ£o Paulo, and today the brand is also sold in Italy, the USA , Japan, Greece, and Argentina.
Italy : Coop
For sustainable shopping in Italy, look for one of the Coop department stores. The Solidal line offers, for example, trendy t-shirts for men, women and children, made from organic cotton. The printed slogans, such as 'Together it is possible' and 'Stop and think ' stand for the ideolofy behind the label: Solidal products are sustainable and fair.
If you discover a great fair trade shop, second hand shop, or flea market during your travels, we would love to hear about it! Let us know by posting a comment below!