You might be surprised to learn that I don’t wear gym clothes 24/7. In fact, you may also not know that I’m a freelance writer, in addition to being a personal trainer. I need to fix up when I meet with clients to plan copywriting projects, and I like that. I enjoy clothes a great deal, actually, but I need them to move with me, not against me.
For one thing, I’ve got to feel relaxed in what I wear, even at important meetings. I can’t focus when a skirt or pair of pants is binding me into oblivion. (If you’ve seen me on Facebook, you know about my ongoing experimentation to reduce water retention). On the other hand, I need shape to what I wear. I work hard on having a fit, lean physique, and getting lost in a sweater just doesn’t cut it.
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More and more, though, I also want to support companies who care about our planet. There’s so much negativity out there these days that it’s a breath of fresh air when a company is committed to labor ethics, sustainable, recycled materials, and giving back to communities. prAna’s single core belief is to give back more than they take from the world.
I can’t help ask two questions when I buy clothes: (1) Did the making of my clothes help or hurt the environment? (2) Were the people making my clothes empowered or exploited?
Who really made your clothes?
Why should you and I care about what companies are doing as they make our clothes? Well, what if you knew that the people who made your clothes were impoverished, worked in harsh conditions, and were even children, working against their will? This does happen overseas, and very well-known companies have been involved. In the U.S., the majority of garment workers are immigrant women that work 60-80 hours a week, usually without minimum wage or overtime pay.
But companies like prAna, who are fair-trade certified, prohibit child labor and ensure health and safety measures to avoid work-related injuries. For products that are fair-trade certified, a certain percentage of what you spend is given back to farmers and workers. They decide how to use it for their social good.
Fair-trade certified companies also help protect the soil, water, and biodiversity of our planet, along with reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Though you may not hear about it as much as the general topic of global warming, soil degradation is a serious global problem. It’s caused, in part, by improper use of toxic chemicals and agricultural practices which causes erosion, increased pollution and sedimentation in streams and rivers, and worsened flooding.
Comfortable and environmentally conscious
Check it out, I do actually get fixed up. Take this Mariette dress in gray indigo, for example. I’ll wear this beautiful, comfortable dress to client meetings, dinner, or even carting my daughter around town. It’s an organic cotton blend, which is soft and comfy, but it’s also easier on the environment.
Conventionally grown cotton consumes around 25% of the insecticides and over 10% of the pesticides used in the world, but organic cotton systems reduce the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers while maintaining the integrity of the soil.
Now that’s some planet loving I can subscribe to!
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The Stacia Sweater below in saguaro is 100% organic cotton. I love that it has both a feminine shape and a relaxed fit. It’s fair-trade certified, too, which assures me that I’m doing a little something for the environment. This sweater goes with slacks or jeans and looks kinda nice with my eyes, if you know what I mean.
We can all do a little to help the planet, and buying clothes from fair-trade certified companies is one way. Now, more than ever, we need to pay attention to the companies we buy from – we can’t just trust all companies to do the right thing. For companies like prAna, being environmentally conscious is who they are.
Now that I’ve tamed my gym clothes addiction, it’s time to make more room in my closet for lifestyle pieces. I’m in!
Disclosure: I was provided product for this post, but the words are my own.
This article originally appeared on www.workoutnirvana.com.