In a time of fast fashion, shifting our mindset to buying fewer, ethically made pieces can seem almost impossible. But building a greener wardrobe can pay off in the long run, and can benefit far more than just our wallets and the environment.
For outdoor adventurers looking to make an impact, here’s how you can start by making more sustainable choices.
Invest in Transitional Pieces
To eliminate the need to buy season-specific clothes and reduce overall consumption, look for versatile pieces that you can mix and match to create outfits for different occasions and conditions. Versatile pieces are breathable, easy to layer and neutral in colour.
Victoria-based ecologyst’s new Camel Overshirt is an adaptable year-round piece that fits easily into any nature lover's wardrobe and can be dressed up or down depending on conditions. It is perfect for road trips! For some added warmth on a chilly day, use the Camel Overshirt as a mid-layer by pairing it with The Merino Turtleneck, or wear it with The Carefree Tee to feel comfortable and stylish. The overshirt’s ability to move with your body means it’s suitable for casual active pursuits, like cycling in the summer or canoeing on a peaceful lake.
Rewear and Repair
“Unfortunately, we've been conditioned to believe that once we wear something once, then we wash it, and that's really unnecessary,” says Rene Gauthier, founder and CEO of ecologyst.
Especially with garments made from durable antimicrobial and anti-odour materials like merino wool, you can wear it multiple times before it needs to be cleaned, though this practice might take some adjusting to.
In addition, 100 billion garments are produced annually but sadly, 60 per cent of them are thrown away within a year, according to Paul Hawken's book, Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation. Lengthening the life of your clothing by repairing a seam or button extends the wearability of some of your most cherished pieces, and also significantly decreases the carbon footprint associated with production and disposing of clothing. Ecologyst guarantees its apparel for life with its Guaranteed for Life program, and fixes every broken zipper or ripped sleeve due to regular wear and tear for free.
Purchase Fewer Pieces (and Choose Ones That Are High-Quality)
High-quality garments made from all-natural fabrics are designed to last and won’t need to be replaced in a short amount of time due to detached zippers or seams that come apart in the wash. Though high-quality garments often command a higher price, you’re actually saving money in the long run by having to purchase less.
Look for clothing crafted with ethically sourced eco-friendly materials like merino wool, organic cotton and camel hair. “[It will] feel a little bit heavier weight,” explains Lisa McAnulty, sustainability and innovation specialist at ecologyst, about how to spot a high-quality garment. “Typically, they last longer through washing and wear, but also look at the seams to see if there are any skipped stitches, which helps for longevity.”
Buy and Sell Used
“I would consider looking for a secondhand garment first and foremost,” says Gauthier about building a more sustainable wardrobe. Newly launched in the fall of 2021, ecologyst’s Second Life program invites savvy shoppers to thrift pre-loved ecologyst items on their web page.
This allows those with ecologyst items that no longer serve or fit them an ethical way to discard their items, extending the wearability of a garment. This helps cut down on consumption, and gives the next owner of an ecologyst piece the opportunity to affordably buy in, benefiting both your wallet and the environment. According to the UK’s Waste and Resource Action Programme, 20 to 30 per cent of related carbon, water and waste footprints would be reduced if the life of a piece of clothing was extended by just nine months.
Take Care of Your Clothing
“We're trying to shift people's perception back to how it used to be—to a time when you only have a few garments, and you cherish them, take care of them, and fix them only when it's needed and so forth,” says Gauthier of ecologyst’s mission.
Garments need proper care to maintain their form and function. Properly wash, wear and store your garments to extend their life. “How you take care of your clothing really matters,” explains McAnulty. “Use cold water wash and hang dry, or if it's handwash, then lay flat to dry.” The benefits of doing this go beyond protecting the environment and preserving energy consumption. “When you put something in the dryer, it really degrades it—almost three times faster,” says McAnulty. These are little things that people often look over in terms of product care but can make a big impact.
Unlike most clothing brands, we actually make clothing.
Here, at our HQ-factory in Victoria, BC, we actually make clothes. Reducing waste and emissions and properly compensating the talented humans that make your goods.