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Plastic-free fashion

How transparency can help to change the conversation
Plastic-free fashion

This article first appeared in our Ethical Shopping issue of My Green Pod Magazine, distributed with The Guardian on 30 October 2020. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

The fashion industry is the world’s second-biggest polluter, and a lack of transparency in the sector makes ethical shopping a challenge.

In October, natural performance wear company icebreaker published its third transparency report to help customers understand all aspects of how clothing is made.

Spotlight on synthetics

In the report, icebreaker outlined a commitment for all its materials to be plastic free by 2023. Currently, 87% of the fibre it uses is natural.

‘People are making more conscious decisions about the foods they eat, and what they put on, or next to, their skin’, says Greg Smith, icebreaker’s brand president. ‘We want to change the conversation around how clothes are made and the synthetics within them and make the information accessible, to enable more conscious purchases.’

The report looks back on the success of the #teesforgood campaign, which challenged the icebreaker community to consider the impact of their clothing by wearing their T-shirts more often between washes.

The campaign showed consumers that icebreaker tees are naturally odour resistant, and that doing fewer washes can lower a person’s environmental impact. The campaign also raised awareness of synthetic microfibres in clothing and their impact on waterways when they’re washed down the drain.

‘57,000 people participated in the T-shirt challenge’, says Trudie Abel, icebreaker’s director of global marketing. ‘By breaking the cycle, we estimate they collectively prevented 750 million microfibres from entering the ocean. We demonstrated how small steps can produce big changes.’

Choose natural

Icebreaker was one of only a handful of brands to be awarded an A+ rating in the Tearfund Ethical Fashion report two years in a row.

The reports found icebreaker to be excellent in every area, including scrutiny of policy, traceability, transparency, supplier relationships and worker rights at every stage of the production process.

Icebreaker looks to nature for the answers and for innovative ways to do more with less. The goal is to help customers ‘choose natural’ by working with what nature provides and adapting as nature does.

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