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Ethical brand : where to buy your eco-friendly clothes ?

Whether it's an online store or a brick-and-mortar store, new businesses are aiming to green the textile industry and highlight their actions for the planet. But when exactly can a brand be qualified as ethical? How to recognize them? We come back with you on the essential points to enlighten you during your next purchases.

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Since the 1990s, fast fashion has invaded the fashion industry. The textile industry has become the second most polluting industry in the world, after the oil industry.

Polluting materials, disastrous carbon footprint, water pollution, encouragement of over-consumption, goods that go around the world, catastrophic working conditions for employees... fast fashion is really not a viable model in the long term.

With these observations, some fashion lovers decided to launch their slow fashion brand. This is what made us want to create Angarde. With a thoughtful production and a lower carbon footprint, we want to give meaning to our production!


What is an ethical brand?

As economic actors in our society, producers have a role to play in the future of our planet. Ethical brands have understood their social and environmental responsibility. And, they are committed to both aspects. A sustainable brand has to think about its entire production cycle, without neglecting the social aspects. For example, it can work with people in reintegration, workers with disabled workers or with farmers proposing sustainable solutions as Angarde has chosen.

Sometimes, these brands carry out actions in parallel. This is what we decided to do at Angarde. In addition to our shoes, we donate 1% of our turnover every year to Surfrider Foundation Europe which works for the de-pollution of the oceans. More concretely, we organize cleenwalking sessions to clean the beaches of the coast. To learn more about our approach, you can consult our history and our 0 waste approach!

Paradoxically, environmentally conscious brands will not encourage you to buy regularly. For the environment, the best consumption is the one you don't make. The second most interesting option for our planet is a reasoned and rare consumption. This is why producers try to offer products that will last for years without spoiling.

Moreover, the end of life of your clothes and shoes is not to be neglected. Even if your purchases are ethical, it is better to avoid incinerating them or throwing them away anywhere once you no longer use them. Angarde has developed a "Second Life" program to anticipate the end of your shoes. You just have to contact us, send them back and we will take care of the recycling and the material recovery! This will make new shoes, which you might like. To encourage this gesture, customers receive a 15% discount coupon.

A relocalized production in the vicinity

An ethical production is a production of proximity. Relocating production to foreign countries has many consequences. First of all, not all countries are as careful as Europeans about human rights and working conditions. In Pakistan or Bangladesh, the employees are often very poorly paid very little and their health is not protected.

Moreover, a far away production means that the clothes will have to travel. One country for the cultivation of raw materials, another for the design of the clothes and yet another for their consumption. This makes the carbon footprint of each garment significant.

It is often difficult to localize the entire life cycle of a garment in one country. However, it is possible to relocate most of it and limit it to Europe.

Angarde works with partners in Italy, Spain and with Filipino farmers on a sustainable chain for its products.

In the textile industry, one of the most important factors for a sustainable approach is the choice of materials. For each fabric, the cultures and manufacturing models are more or less polluting.

What are the materials used by ethical brands and why?

Materials such as cotton, elastane, viscose and polyester are banned. The cultivation of cotton is the third most water consuming crop, after rice and wheat. It is a material that causes a significant consumption, while water is lacking in some regions.

Elastane is a polluting material. Because of its composition, plastic microparticles are detached from your clothes during each wash. These microparticles end up in the water. For viscose, it is its manufacturing process that is blamed. It requires carbon disulfide, which is particularly toxic and dangerous for the workers who make your clothes.

As for polyester, it is a material derived from petroleum that is very water and energy intensive. In addition, polyester can be dangerous for the health of workers, and those who wear the clothes. On the practical side, this material causes significant perspiration.

However, there are more and more cleaner alternatives! Ethical brands use organic or recycled cotton, linen, hemp or other recycled materials. These are quality productions that do not require too much water or chemicals.

Upcycling, clean and sustainable materials, recycling... The solutions are numerous. Angarde is careful to choose its raw materials. Our shoes are made from recycled, upcycled or eco-designed materials.

Espadrilles made of recycled linen, sneakers made of upcycled grape, pineapple or cactus leather and slippers made of recycled wool, all our models are made of clean and sustainable materials. You can even access the the list of our materials.

How can you recognize an ethical brand? 

When you are a novice, it is not easy to recognize greenwashing from a real responsible approach. Committed brands strive to be transparent. You will find precise information on the materials used, the manufacturing method and the place of production.

At Angarde, we measure our carbon footprint with Carbonfact. It allows us to measure our environmental impact for each of our shoes to improve. If the brand is serious, this type of information is made public.

What are the certifying labels of an eco-responsible production?

To help you sort out greenwashing and really ethical brands, labels and certifications exist. But be careful, if a brand is not labeled, it is not necessarily greenwashing. To obtain a label, it is often necessary to pay for a study and not all brands have the means to do so at the moment.

  • Global Organic Textile Standard or GOTS

This GOTS certification is the guarantee of an organic and ecologically made textile. It is an international label that focuses on production processes and respect for decent working conditions. GOTS-certified garments are free of heavy metal residues and other substances that are toxic to health.

  • Fair Wear by Fair Wear Production

This label is exclusively focused on social, not environmental aspects. The Fair Wear Foundation controls the working conditions.

  • Oeko-Tex

The label includes several different certifications. Oeko-Tex is particularly vigilant regarding technical standards. It verifies the danger of the products for human health and the presence or not of toxic products for humans and the environment.

  • Guaranteed France Origin

With this label, an important part of the manufacturing process takes place in France. For the planet, this means less transport, and therefore less greenhouse gases! It also means that jobs are created in France, under fair conditions.

  • Peta approved Vegan

Finally, this label focuses on animal testing and the production of products from animals. The downside is that there is no control and that it is obtained by self-declaration.

When in doubt, you can use the Moralscore website. On it, you can see which brands respect your values and principles and make your purchases accordingly. You now have all the tools in hand to make more ethical purchases and avoid products that are harmful to the planet, and to you!