Why It Costs More To Buy Sustainable Clothing

Why It Costs More To Buy Sustainable Clothing

Breaking the bank to create a better world.


Sustainability is something that every human on the planet should incorporate into their everyday lives. We have recently been greatly encouraged to cut down, consume less, and become more conscious of the materials we use. A great step towards sustainability has come from environmentally conscious clothing brands, becoming the source of fashion and staples for many. Despite the importance of a more conscious and aware industry, the factors playing into sustainable/ethical clothing end up increasing the literal price of products. If sustainability is encouraged and important, why is ethical clothing so hard to afford?

Some popular clothing companies that promise sustainable items include Reformation, Everlane, Outdoor Voices, and Patagonia. Prices range from around $58 for a button-up top to over $200 for a simple cotton dress. Some of the prices seem insane for those of us who refuse to invest large sums of money into basic items of clothing, but the high prices are there for a reason.

To completely understand the extreme prices, it is important to identify what exactly makes a clothing brand sustainable. Clothing sustainability is best defined as the responsibility producers have in calculating short and long term supply life of materials, while also taking into account the economic consequences and the ethical means of production that items may have. It can be a complex definition, but when broken down, is a very clear concept for making the world a better place.

Sustainability considers every point of an item's life; from production to exportation, to packaging, all the way down to consumption. Fairtrade clothing companies also consider where their materials are sourced and the pay their garment workers deserve. When a company says they are sustainable, they are expected to be transparent with their customers, always looking for ways to be better, and communicating their progress to the public.

Fast fashion clothing provides for harmful factory conditions, toxic chemicals, and poor pay for workers. Many times, workers are exploited and lack living wages to truly support their families. Clothing brands will throw out new styles trend after trend. These clothing items are usually cheaper and of lesser quality, resulting in a short lifespan, eventually producing more waste. Sustainable clothing recognizes environmental issues along with people's lives. Because of this, materials are usually more environmentally friendly/organic or recycled.

They are sourced more directly, upping the price on custom materials. This sourcing reduces waste and harmful chemicals used in producing clothing. There has been a huge interest recently in turning plastic bottles into puffer jackets, shoes, and rainwear. This "plastic fashion" has consequences of its own but is a huge step in reusing materials that would otherwise end up in our oceans. Many companies use other recycled materials and clothing to create re-used clothing.

So, sustainable clothing is generally more expensive because you are paying for clothing that will last longer, will have produced less waste, and has ethically supported the person who made the garment.

What should we do if we want to live more sustainably and support ethical brands but don't have the funds to do so? Luckily there are some companies out there who are working to provide cheaper, sustainable items for those who can't afford the pricier ones. Everlane actually has some pretty affordable pieces and often has sales on their website. PACT makes affordable intimates and basics with guaranteed comfort. Reformation pieces can be found at Nordstrom Rack for a fraction of the prices online. You can also shop for these brands second-hand on apps like Thred-up or Depop. Also, thrifting instead of buying new is always a good way to shop more sustainably.

Simply shopping less often and being mindful of where your clothing is coming from counts as living sustainably. When it comes down to protecting the planet and the people who inhabit it, it may be better for us to save our coins and purchase long-lasting, versatile pieces.

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20 Small Tattoos With Big Meanings

Tattoos with meaning you can't deny.

It's tough to find perfect tattoos with meaning.

You probably want something permanent on your body to mean something deeply, but how do you choose a tattoo that will still be significant in 5, 10, 15, or 50 years? Over time, tattoos have lost much of their stigma and many people consider them a form of art, but it's still possible to get a tattoo you regret.

So here are 20 tattoos you can't go wrong with. Each tattoo has its own unique meaning, but don't blame me if you still have to deal with questions that everyone with a tattoo is tired of hearing!

SEE RELATED: "Please Stop Asking What My Tattoos Mean"

1. A semicolon indicates a pause in a sentence but does not end. Sometimes it seems like you may have stopped, but you choose to continue on.

2. "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."

3. Top symbol: unclosed delta symbol which represents open to change. Bottom symbol: strategy.

4. "There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."

5. Viking symbol meaning "create your own reality."

6. Greek symbol of Inguz: Where there's a will, there's a way.

7. Psalm 18:33 "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights."

8. 'Ohm' tattoo that represents 4 different states of consciousness and a world of illusion: waking (jagrat), dreaming (swapna), deep sleep (sushupti), transcendental state (turiya) and world of illusion (maya).

9. Alchemy: symbolizes copper, means love, balance, feminine beauty, and artistic creativity.

10. The Greek word “Meraki" means to do something with soul, passion, love, and creativity or to put yourself into whatever you do.

11. Malin (Skövde, Sweden) – you have to face setbacks to be able to go forward.

12. Symbol meaning "thief" from "The Hobbit." It was the rune Gandalf etched into Bilbo's door so the dwarves could find his house.

13. “Lux in tenebris" means “light in darkness."

14. Anchor Tattoo: symbolizing strength and stability, something (or someone) who holds you in place, and provides you the strength to hold on no matter how rough things get.

15."Ad Maiora" is translated literally as “Towards greater things." It is a formula of greeting used to wish more success in life, career or love.

16. A glyph means “explore." It was meant as a reminder for me to never stop exploring.

17. "Aut inveniam viam aut faciam," meaning roughly, "Either I shall find a way, or I will make one."

18. Lotus Flower. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower's first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.

19. The zen (or ensō) circle to me represents enlightenment, the universe and the strength we all have inside of us.

20. Two meanings. The moon affirms life. It looks as if it is constantly changing. Can remind us of the inconsistency of life. It also symbolizes the continuous circular nature of time and even karma.

SEE ALSO: Sorry That You're Offended, But I Won't Apologize For My Tattoos

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The End Of The World As We Know It Might Be Closer Than We Think

Well, if we continue to put greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at our current rate, scientists predict we are currently on track to exceed 1.5C of warming between 2030 and 2052, and by 3C by the end of the century.


Scientists in the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii have just made a very shocking discovery. It is an organization that is known for releasing daily CO2 rates in the atmosphere, made up of a group from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. On may 12th they tweeted out what the CO2 rates in the atmosphere are, and it shocked the environmental community. The .measure of CO2 in the atmosphere was found to currently be over 415 parts per million (ppm).

To put this into perspective, levels haven't been this high in the past 800,000 years... Why is this so startling? There is no end in sight.

The levels continue to rapidly rise as humans continue to advance and adapt. In March 1958 the same observatory in Hawaii recorded levels of 313ppm; a number significantly lower. Why is all of this so bad you may ask? An increase in greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere has a direct correlation with increased atmospheric temperatures. Our current CO2 levels are getting close to what they were during the mid-Pliocene epoch nearly two million years ago.

During this time the atmosphere was nearly 2-3 degrees Celsius hotter than normal, which had devastating effects on the planet. If our atmosphere were to even raise just 2 degrees Celcius life as we know it would change forever. The arctic will and its ice will melt causing devastating floods to thousands of cities, deadly heat waves and fires will become more frequent, and our livestock and animals would suffer a serious blow due to loss of land and resources. As you can see, just two degrees Celsius can cause a near doomsday-like scenario.

So... will it happen? Well, if we continue to put greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at our current rate, scientists predict we are currently on track to exceed 1.5C of warming between 2030 and 2052, and by 3C by the end of the century. This sounds terrifying, however, we as humans have the power to make a change. If the world powers join together and recognize this issue as a potentially catastrophic event, things will change. Not only that, everyone must do a better job of trying to reduce their daily CO2 emissions. It is important that we realize how serious of an issue this potentially is before we can do anything. Not just us here at Rutgers. But for us as a planet.

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