May 11, 2020 – By Serina Tatham
After Fashion Revolution Week sustainability has been on everybody’s radar. But trying to educate yourself and understand certifications on brand’s websites can feel as though you’re trying to navigate a whole other language. So, let KeiSei be your digital translator and help you understand these important (albeit confusing) symbols.
When purchasing an item, it’s vital to make sure that the materials used in production are of good quality – not just so they’ll wear well but also so they won’t have caused any environmental or human damage. Here are some of the most important and best-known certifications from cotton all the way to wool and leather.
Soil Association & the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
Displaying this certification means, as a consumer, you can rest assured that the brand is committed to both ecological and social responsibility across their entire supply chain. This means that not only are workers’ rights protected, but the use of water is closely monitored as well as the use of dyes which have a huge environmental impact. As well as this, any cotton products must contain at least 70% organic fibres.
OEKO-TEX® has several different labels to help consumers make responsible and sustainable purchases.
Their MADE IN GREEN label certifies that the textiles used have been tested for harmful substances and have been manufactured under environmentally and socially responsible conditions.
Their STANDARD 100 certification promises that all textiles making up the product, from buttons to individual threads, have been tested for harmful substances.
Similarly, their LEATHER STANDARD label identifies those leather articles which have been tested for unsafe substances.
Their fourth label, STeP, is a more holistic certification ensuring that production facilities manufacturing textiles and leather articles do so sustainably. It encourages environmentally friendly production and good working conditions.
The Responsible Wool Standard looks at the welfare of sheep as well as the land they graze on. The certification covers the entire process, from the wool farmer through to the final business transaction. In order for this to be displayed, farms have to be progressive in land management and have good animal welfare practices.
In order to be Cradle to Cradle certified, a product has to be made with materials that are safe for the environment and for the consumer with the aim of promoting circularity in the fashion industry. Materials are scored based on how well they can be reused and are given either a basic, bronze, silver, gold, or platinum rating.
With the recent anniversary of Rana Plaza, the rights of workers are once again a prominent topic for discussion. Since the disaster, many brands have been pledging to improve conditions and the certifications below are some indicators of their practises.
As a consumer, there are so many ways you can do your part in cultivating a sustainable wardrobe.
Recognising some of these certifications will help put you on the right path. If you’re short on time, check out the Good On You app and instantly see how your favourite brands compare. Want to take your sustainable wardrobe to the next level? Start here with our guide to the best sustainable staples.