It’s always tempting to show up to yoga class with a new pair of printed pants or a new metallic top that catches everyone’s eye. But while we should wear clothes that make us feel confident, comfortable, and strong, it’s also important to be conscious consumers. A great deal of athleisure clothing is part of the fast fashion trend that is doing so much damage to the environment as well as the livelihoods of local farmers around the world. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem: choosing sustainable clothing, and only buying as much clothing as you really need.
But when sifting through all the clothing options in stores and on the internet, how can you determine which options are sustainable yoga clothing and which are merely posing as eco-friendly?
What to Look for in Sustainable Clothing
There are three legs of sustainability – economics, ecology, and social equity. The first step for fashion brands is choosing the fibers that will be woven into fabric. Avoiding synthetic fibers is one way to help ensure that the clothing you buy is sustainable, but you should also try to learn how the natural fibers were grown.
For example, cotton may seem like a sustainable choice, but cotton is actually one of the dirtiest plants in the world in terms of the pesticides used to grow it and the negative impact on local farmers. So instead, look for organic cotton, which is grown without pesticides and using sustainable farming practices.
Other fibers that tend to be sustainable include linen, hemp, and bamboo. The most sustainable fabrics are made from just one fiber (i.e. 100% hemp), but that’s hard to come by with yoga clothing, because a bit of stretch is important for movement. So, check the tags and look for garments that are made of at least 70% organic materials.
You should also take note of where the clothing was manufactured. In many countries that dominate the fashion industry, human rights violations and poor working conditions run rampant. To help ensure that your clothing was produced sustainably, buy from brands that were either produced in the United States or that have the Fair Trade label.
You can also be a more sustainable shopper by shopping online. It may sound counterintuitive, but shopping online has been shown to have a 22% smaller impact on the environment because clothes get transported less, and you use less gas and energy traveling to and from stores.
And before you click “buy,” remember that one of the best ways to be a sustainable consumer is to buy less clothing of higher quality.
Brands to Trust
One of the many benefits of the internet is that there are countless lists online of sustainable clothing brands. This list of eco-friendly yoga brands – which includes our organic yoga clothes – is a great place to start. For the rest of your wardrobe, check out this list of 35 ethical and sustainable fashion brands.