The recent flurry of coverage around fast fashion shows that consumers are beginning to turn away from unsustainable clothing, finally realizing the severity of the threat it poses to the planet. But with quickly and cheaply made clothes so all-pervasive in our stores and online, it can be difficult to navigate a more ethical route.
We’ve done our research and found the 4 apps that’ll set you on the right path:
After the tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza textile factory in Bangladesh in 2013 — which killed over 1000 workers — the creators of Good on You found themselves repeatedly having conversations with people who wanted to make more ethical fashion choices, but simply didn’t know where to begin.
So they created Good on You, an app which advocates for ‘fashion without harm’. Using data from reputable organizations like Greenpeace and Carbon Trust, the app rates how ethical over 2000 brands are on a simple 1-5 scale, considering variables ranging from workers’ labor conditions to the use of animal products.
And if the worst happens, and you discover your go-to brand is a little less than perfect? Good on You will recommend similar brands with a better ethical score, and even offer deals on stores with the highest ratings — incentivizing consumer and brand towards more ethical behaviors.
Open up the Buycott app and you’re presented with a list of causes (or ‘campaigns’) — the first step is to join the campaigns that you care about, and rate how strong your feelings about them are on a sliding scale.
Then, when you come across a product you want to investigate (and this works on everything from fashion to fruit), just scan the barcode with your phone, and the app will tell you if there’s a clash with any of your beliefs — as well as any other controversies the brand might be involved in. For example, scanning in a Primark product brings up the campaigns ‘boycott child labor’ and ‘tell Associated British Foods to stop tax dodging in Zambia.’
Buycott also provides a family tree of products made by the same parent company — essential for anyone trying to shop ethically in a modern, globalized world where brands are linked together in ever more complicated webs.
How often would you estimate that 50 trailers’ worth of clothes are delivered to UK landfills? Every month? Every week? Nope — every day. But the folks at reGAIN have a brilliant approach to tackling this problem — by rewarding you for recycling not just with warm and fuzzy feelings, but with real discounts on fashion and food.
How does it work? Simply pop a minimum of 10 unwanted items in a box and bring it to your nearest drop-off point to unlock access to the in-app discount coupons. Then, get shopping — safe in the knowledge that your clothes will either be donated to thrift stores or recycled.
Each of these apps offers an innovative answer to the question of how to shop more ethically — but none work to disincentivize the purchase of new clothes, which is another problem entirely.
Borrowing clothing, not buying it, is one solution. This way, not only are you taking some pressure off of the world’s landfills, but you’re also helping to put the brakes on the mass-manufacturing systems that produce an excess of clothing in the first place.
There are plenty of platforms available for renting high-end and designer clothing, like Rent the Runway. But if you’re looking to borrow any and all other kinds of clothing — from wedding attire and vintage pieces to streetwear and costumes — there’s Fat Llama, the app for renting (almost) anything from people nearby, at an accessible cost.
So next time you’re purging your closet of unworn clothes, set aside some to list for rental on Fat Llama — and you could make some money back on your purchases through the sharing economy.
guest post from Fat Llama, for renting (almost) anything