…In Your Workout Wear
With the holidays coming up, now is as important than ever to be mindful of how we shop, including when we treat ourselves or our loved ones to a new sporty ensemble.
Let me be the little birdie to remind you that our clothes are our chosen skin. Our clothes have stories behind them, and they carry energy from seed to skin, much like our food does. And that energy follows us in our crazy ass lives. Women today seriously do it all, like a boss. Women are on the go, and want to be comfortable from studio to street, from classes to cafes. Beyond sweat sessions and brunch with the gals, it’s not surprising that active and athleisure wear have become a staple of everyday wear.
Here’s the thing though.
Athletic wear specifically uses more synthetic fibres than any other clothing category. Greenpeace reported that 60% of our clothes are made from polyester (a plastic by-product of petroleum). Although synthetic fibers may create a look and feel many of us have become accustomed to love, there are, unfortunately, downsides of plastics in our sweat wear; for our environment and potentially our health. Here’s a few you should know about;
- Synthetic fibers are either not biodegradable or take hundreds of years to biodegrade
- Inevitably more and more clothing is fated for landfills at the end of their, often short, life
- Production of synthetics emits exponentially more greenhouse gases and fossil fuels
- Exposure to the chemicals in the production of synthetics, fibers, and chemical dyes creates health risks for garment and factory workers
- Side note – microfibers from petroleum-based synthetic fabrics like nylon, acrylic and polyester are in a large majority of the world’s drinking water.
There are also chemical finishes in clothing used for things like moisture wicking, reducing sweat odour, and anti-wrinkling and there’s growing concern how much is being absorbed into the skin when we sweat. It’s too soon to know the effects of chemicals in clothes and how repeated exposure may affect us, but it sounds a little upside down that we buy workout wear to sweat and release toxins, but that clothing made from petrochemical fibers like nylon, polyester, and acrylic, may actually being restricting toxin release.
The good news is, this is getting out and consumers and brands alike are becoming more conscious about where their clothes come from and what they are made of. So what can you do, and how can you avoid chemicals in your sweat apparel, support our environment, and support ethical manufacturing?! We got you.
1. Look At the Label
- Invest in more natural, sustainable and organic fabrics such as organic cotton, tencel, and eucalyptus. Natural fabrics are naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial, good for thermal regulation, and breathable.
- Help keep pollution out of our water by buying apparel made from recycled materials such as recycled plastic and recycled polyester.
2. Buy Local
- Support local, made in Canada and the US, to help lower your carbon footprint.
- Support brands that openly discuss their sustainability and fair labor efforts, including partnering with organizations like Bluesign Technologies, Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), Canopy, Responsible Sourcing Network, Better Work. For example, the Bluesign Standard is setting up management systems for improving environmental performance, so hazardous chemicals are kept to a minimum during manufacturing and in the end product.
3. Be Curious
- Ask questions where apparel is made and what it’s made from.
- Check out websites and apps like Fashion Revolution, Good on You and The Good Trade for more information, resources, and articles on ethical and sustainable apparel.
Choosing your sporty swag this way doesn’t need to be all or nothing. It’s more about being mindful and supporting brands that make an effort. I’ve been consciously shopping for over 4 years and I can tell you its not a perfect science, but I make an effort to think about what I actually need and support brands that focus on responsible labor standards, and environment friendly practices.
A question I get asked often is what brands I support. Some activewear brands other than NSS I personally recommend are: Adidas, Dharma Bums, Girlfriend Collective, Inner Fire, Patagonia, PrAna, Teeki, and Threads For Thoughts. There are also stores and online retail brands like Canadian label, Good + Wild that wholesales only sustainable brands and have done the research for you.
As the owner of a small company that creates athleisure collections made from organic, sustainable and recycled materials, I am passionate about spreading awareness of fashionable and functional activewear that is made ethically and sustainably. I want to get my sweat on in style and be comfortable from studios to coffee meetings, but not at the expense of people or our planet. I believe that when we know better, we do better, and we can start by simply being aware.
LAURA BERG (OR LB, AS SHE IS MORE COMMONLY KNOWN) IS THE FOUNDER AND OWNER OF NOURISH SWEAT SOUL A CONSCIOUS ATHLEISURE LIFESTYLE BRAND MADE IN LOS ANGELES USING ORGANIC AND RECYCLED MATERIALS, NSS CURRENTLY HAS OPERATIONS AND RETAIL IN CALGARY, AB. LB HAS BEEN AN ADVOCATE FOR MINDFUL AND SUSTAINABLE LIVING FOR SEVERAL YEARS AFTER BEING DIRECTLY IMPACTED BY A NATURAL DISASTER IN 2013. AFTER STRUGGLING TO FIND STYLISH ETHICAL AND ECO-FRIENDLY APPAREL THAT REFLECTED HER VALUES, BOLD PERSONALITY AND ACTIVE LIFESTYLE, THAT FIT COMFORTABLY FROM CLASSES TO CAFES, LB TOOK MATTERS INTO HER OWN HANDS. NSS THE PRIVATE LABEL FOCUSES ON CURATING COLLECTIONS OF HIGH-QUALITY AND VIBRANT ATHLEISURE CLOSET STAPLES FOR WOMEN, SOURCED FROM TRUSTED MANUFACTURERS THAT SHARE THE SAME RESPECT FOR PEOPLE AND OUR PLANET IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY. LB LAUNCHED HER FIRST TWO COLLECTIONS IN JUNE 2018 – THE ESSENTIALS AND VEG DYE, AND HER SECOND – THE CELESTIAL COLLECTION IN NOVEMBER 2018.
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