How to avoid chemicals in your clothes... what you need to know
Conventional fashion is full of chemicals. We wanted to look more into it and bring you some facts.
We will be touching upon the most common chemicals in clothes, what they mean for you and how to avoid them.
Let’s get reading shall we?
These are the most common chemicals used in the production process of the clothes we’re walking around in…
Formaldehyde and phthalates
Formaldehyde is known to many as a skin and respiratory irritant. Used most commonly to make clothes resistant to wrinkle either when washing or wearing. Phthalates are used when incorporating plastic into a printing process.
Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) have been found in clothing that have been shown by the EPA to be highly toxic to aquatic life and have devastating environmental effects.
This was a shock to us as we thought metals weren’t such as high risk to us until we found out a story of a line of studded belts produced by a fast fashion e-commerce site, that were discovered to be radioactive. They released a statement to the public in 2013, "Unfortunately, this incident is quite a common occurrence. India and the Far East are large consumers of scrap metal for their home and foreign markets. During the refining process of these metals, orphaned radioactive sources are sometimes accidentally melted at the same time. This in turn [contaminates the process] and traps the radioactivity in the metal as an alloy or in suspension."
Chemically dying clothing is a common occurrence in the fashion industry. Azo dyes being the most common and the most hazardous. Considered to be worth banning in some countries, in high levels it can be found to be highly carcinogenic (having the potential to cause cancer).
But, there are ways to avoid them…
Try to research first
Brands nowadays have greater transparency online than ever before. Take advantage of this by doing research of your own. If they’re producing free of harmful chemicals, they’ll want you to be able to find out. If you can’t find much information about the materials used and the origins of them then that’s a sign. As if we needed another reason to steer clear of fast fashion. That is another way to avoid chemicals in your clothes, cheaply made products can only be made cheaply if they aren’t doing it right. With fast fashion you get what you buy and most of the time that isn’t a quality product.
Wash before wearing
For some people this will be the normal, especially those with allergies as dermatologists have always recommended to do this. In light of what we’ve learnt today about the risk of chemicals in our clothing, whenever you buy something new – always wash before you wear. This will give you protection and peace of mind that however the product has been manufactured or come into contact with, you’re a step further away from it.
Buying clothes from brands that are using natural materials is a great way to avoid harmful chemicals in your clothing. Look out for organic cotton, wool and silk – these are the best. Be smart when you buy too, don’t be swept in by promises of ‘stain resistant’ and ‘non-iron’ as these are indications that chemicals may have been used to create such effects.
Here are are some great brands selling natural and chemical free, available to shop on Aequem now!
Leticia is an Italian-Japanese Brazilian born designer based in East London and Milan, she focused all her creative energy to establish a sleepwear brand that encourages taking time to rest and embracing the much forgotten idea of comfort and slowness. Every garment is seam-free, vegan, sustainable and allergy free. This new innovative, smart sustainable seaweed fabric was created in Iceland (SeacellTM/OEKO-TEX–TEX Micromodal) and then weaved in Germany.
All Blue Coral Reef Dress
Coral Reef Dress
Magdalena Mieszkowska is a brand from Paris, France, that produces luxury organic silk scarves made in Italy. All the scarves are made from organic silk and wool. Organic silk is environmentally friendly and socially responsible through the whole production process from yarn, weaving and dyeing, which is all approved by GOTS certification. Our organic wool yarn is wool that is from sheep that have not been exposed to chemicals like pesticides and are kept in humane and good farm conditions.
Jewel Beetle Scarf in Organic Silk
Ana Pocket Square 45
Swedish Eco is a brand based in Sweden with the aim of offering ethical and organic cotton made underwear for day to day. Their products are super soft, durable and good for your body. Organic cotton ensures no pesticides or chemicals are used in production that harm the environment. Check the brand is GOTS-certified to ensure the cotton is produced under high standards.
It’s good to keep in mind that although there are known side effects to the chemicals found in clothing, everyone can react differently and some not at all. Low levels of chemicals can pose no threat to you at all but they’re still not a safe option to have out on the market.
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Love, Aequem x