Empower yourself by shopping for ethical outdoor clothing ahead of your next expedition. Shopping ethically is a lifestyle change, not a trend – so what things can you do to get started? We’ll run you through everything you should consider when making the transition to being more responsible for the clothes you buy. Read on to discover the steps involved in our guide to ethical outdoor clothing.
What Is Ethical Outdoor Clothing?
Let’s start simple. What is ethical outdoor clothing? Ethical hiking gear, or ethical fashion in general, can be defined as clothing that has been produced with moral principles in mind. This can cover everything from the working environment, fair wages and employee diversity – as well as the environmental implications of production. It is often a term used in conjunction with sustainable and slow fashion, but these are somewhat subjective. The overall message of these terms, and of ethical clothing itself, is to approach your shopping habits in a different way, and to consider how they might impact the world.
How To Shop Ethically For Clothes
So, how can you ensure that you’re investing in ethical outdoor brands? There are a few key things you should question before making your purchase, and we’ve listed them below.
1. Where does it come from?
One of the first things you’ll need to find out if you want to buy ethical hiking gear is where and how it was sourced. Responsible sourcing is key for making sure that workers’ welfare is both respected and protected. Does the company you’re looking to buy from provide information on traceability? If so, you can find out exactly where the business gets their material from, therefore offering you more visibility on how ethical your clothing is.
2. What materials are used?
A lot of outdoor clothing brands use materials that can harm the environment and even the production workers. Find out as much as you can about the type of material used for the clothing. And one of the most important materials to find out about is cotton. The way in which the cotton is farmed is hugely important. The toxic pesticides that are so often used are damaging to the environment, as well as those farming it. However, many brands have committed to signing the ‘Cotton Pledge’ or have become members of the Better Cotton Initiative, ensuring workers are paid the right price and that clothes are sustainably made.
3. Is it sustainably made?
Materials aren’t the only contributing factor to whether an outdoor clothing garment has been made in a sustainable way or not. What about how long the garment will last? Ethical hiking gear has to be made to last. Otherwise, you’ll have to keep on buying and keep on demanding more garments to be made, increasing water and energy use. To further the life of your garment, some companies offer a product repair service – free of charge.
4. How does the production impact the environment?
In a similar vein, how does the production impact the environment? Ethical outdoor brands should offer visibility on how their products are made so you can be fully informed on the environmental implications. For example, a brand may be a member of a group like BLUESIGN, who are committed to increasing sustainability performance of products, reducing risks to people and the environment, plus chemical compliance. Another aspect to consider is the packaging that the company uses. The most ethical outdoor clothing also uses the least amount of packaging required, made from reusable, recyclable and biodegradable materials.
5. What else are the company doing in a bid to be ethical?
If ethical and eco-friendly hiking clothes companies are considering all of the above, that’s great. But there are a number of other ways they can support the lives of people involved in their business. Check to see if they’re running any social impact programs to help improve the quality life of their factory workers all over the world. Whether that’s through educating people on matters like worker’s rights, finance, health and nutrition or funding local schools – companies can always do more.
Feeling more confident about how to shop ethically for clothes? Make sure you’re applying the same rules for ethical outdoor clothing too. To learn more about how Craghoppers produce ethical hiking gear, browse through our Mindfully Made page for further visibility on the ethics of the company.