Almost gone are the days of shopping fast fashion brands. Companies from industry leaders to emerging brands are focusing on their societal impact now more than ever. These conscious brands care about people, the planet, and profits.
Here are the 4 ways that you can tell if a brand is a conscious brand…
1. Its donates products to those in need through a Buy One, Give One promise
You may recognize this model because TOMS famously created it. For every pair of shoes TOMS sold, it donated a pair of shoes. Since then, other conscious brands like ROMA and Bombas have taken on the Buy One, Give One promise.
This model works best when the donations do not undermine the local economy, as TOMS found out when its shoe donations undercut local shoemakers in the community.
2. It donates money to a specific cause
Brands take on specific causes and donate a percentage of sales or profits to organizations that help that cause.
For example, Patagonia donates 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment. While it may not sound like much, Patagonia has donated $140 million in cash and in-kind donations to domestic and international grassroots environmental groups since 1985.
Another example is Olori, a conscious brand that donates a percentage of sales to provide tuition for girls in Africa.
3. It uses sustainable materials in its products
This model is the most blurry, as many brands claim to be sustainable. However, when done right, this model is the most impactful.
The truth is that fashion is incredibly wasteful. Most clothes you wear are made from material that will sit in landfills for hundreds of years. They were made using a process that wastes tons of water and emits tons of carbon. This contributes to environmental issues that affect our health and the health of our descendants.
Conscious brands are solving this by using natural materials, recycled post-consumer materials, or green processes. While donating to environmental causes is good, it just replaces the bucket under the overflowing sink. Being sustainable actually turns off the sink.
For example, SAOLA is a conscious shoe brand that makes kicks from recycled and bio-based materials like natural cork, natural algae, and recycled plastics.
4. It provides opportunity to disadvantaged people
The brands you know likely take advantage of disadvantaged people. These brands give overseas factory workers poor working conditions and poor wages, then turn around and sell their products back home for a hefty profit. Unfortunately, only 2% of garment workers around the world make a livable wage. This means they can’t afford basic needs.
A conscious brand gives opportunity to disadvantaged people. They empower their workers to get out of poverty, avoid human trafficking, or get an education.
For example, Daria Day is a conscious jewelry brand that works with artisans living in the remote mountain communities in the foothills of the K2 Mountain in Northern Pakistan – some of which are the most isolated and poor communities in the world. “By supporting the economically disadvantaged, Daria Day hopes to make a difference by breaking the cycle of poverty and to show that we are all connected.”
Another example is Fox & Robin, a conscious activewear brand that audits all the factories that handle its products and is the only activewear brand that publishes the wages of workers. Its goal is to ensure 100% of factory workers are paid a livable wage. “Two of our (eight) factories do not pay what we deem to be a livable wage to all employees. Additionally, the average workweek of our factory workers is 55-60 hours with one day off. As a small brand, we do not have a lot of leverage with these factories, but as we grow and gain more leverage, we are committed to pushing our factories to continually improve workers’ compensation and workplace conditions.”
Here at Choobs, we categorize brands by their cause. Some brands support environmental causes, while others support women’s causes. Whatever cause they support, all brands we sell are conscious brands!