As soon as David from Care What You Wear contacted me about the project, saying they needed a writer, I was sold.
I knew first-hand how difficult it could be finding sustainable fashion brands, so the idea of a website where you could browse them all in one place seemed genius.
I was also struck by David and Liz’s passion and their genuine desire to do their bit to make the fashion industry a better place for people and planet.
I recently asked them a few questions to find out a bit more about them, the idea behind Care What You Wear and what makes them passionate about sustainable fashion.
Who is the team behind Care What You Wear?
The team behind Care What You Wear is me, Liz, and my partner in everything, David. We run a marketing agency called Just Juniper Media and the whole team has been pitching in to get this off the ground.
What made you start up Care What You Wear?
I think it was our own frustrations at just how hard it was to generally browse sustainable fashion. Things have come a long way in just 3 years since we first started planning the site, both in terms of the industry and our own expertise, so it was only in December 2020 that we started building the site. Our idea has been made so much easier to achieve thanks to all the hard work so many brands have put into making their own sites and building their own businesses.
How long have you been aware of the problems within the fashion industry?
Liz - I have been aware of unsustainable fashion practices—which have continued to get worse as consumption rates have increased and quality and long-lastingness have decreased—since about 2010 when I was studying Ecology in college. My best friend was a fashion student and the combination of our experiences and learnings exposed me to this problem early on. And, as someone who loves fashion and just enjoys looking good, it was a problem I was determined to help fix.
David - I have been aware of the issues for some time now, but it’s only in the last few years that I’ve really started to pay closer attention and make changes to the way I live.
Who is Care What You Wear for?
Everyone! We want people who already know and love sustainable brands to come and find new ones or alternative ones and we want people who have no idea that these brands exist to discover the ready-made sustainable alternatives.
We are also trying to build a community of like-minded people who want to read sustainable living news and blog posts and search for other ways to get involved in making the world a better place.
Sustainable fashion truly is for everyone, no matter your economic situation. It’s all about pushing the market to adopt better practices through our purchases. That means: if you can afford to buy sustainable and the item will have the same longevity, then you should be investing. If you cannot afford sustainable items, then consider second hand. No matter what, follow the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (and in that order!)
Reduce fashion waste by purchasing items that will last a lifetime. Reuse fashion by selling clothes on that you aren’t using and buying second hand. Recycle textiles that can no longer be worn or repurpose them into rags or other usable items.
In your opinion, what’s the best way to reform the fashion industry?
We think that one of the best ways is to encourage people to buy more from sustainable, ethical brands and use their buying power to force change upon the bigger brands. We believe in supporting those doing the right thing rather than boycotting those that don’t, as money talks.
That isn’t to say, however, that we take the responsibility away from the big brands. We have just seen time and time again that we cannot rely on them to be completely transparent and do the right things. So we support brands that are making every effort to improve their sustainability and ethics, like Adidas working with AllBirds, Beyond Retro working with Converse and others that are actually striving to be better. These huge brands aren’t just going to go away overnight so the best thing to do is to engage them, demand greater transparency and encourage them to do better.
One of the biggest positive changes we would like to see is companies like ASOS selling sustainable brands. Their marketplace is a step in the right direction, but we would like to see sustainable options as well. Giving the customer the experience they desire when it comes to purchasing new clothes can more truly reflect the demand for sustainable clothes - even with a great resource that we’ve put together with Care What You Wear, customers are still having to purchase items individually and still have yet to enjoy a ‘virtual mall’ that also includes sustainable options. By having sustainable options side-by-side next to similar, non-sustainable options, brands could more clearly see that market appeal for sustainability, which could encourage bigger brands to provide these options as well.
On an individual level, the best way to reform the fashion industry is to consume less and inspire others to do the same. One of the most detrimental things to our society is the mentality that you shouldn’t wear an outfit more than once. That’s unrealistic, unsustainable, and horrible pressure to be putting on each other! It’s hard enough to find an item you like—once you find it, hold on to it, and wear it proudly over, and over, and over, and over…
And when you need new items, consider sustainable brands and second-hand options.
How do you think we can change people’s attitudes to fashion consumption?
Luckily, it seems like that shift is starting to really pick up pace thanks to so much good work that has been done by so many dedicated people.
Education without making people feel guilty is, for us, the best way to change hearts and minds. You can then follow up with showing people the amazing alternatives out there.
One thing we don’t want to ever do is alienate anyone for not buying sustainably. There are still a tonne of barriers to sustainable fashion that make it hard for everyone to get involved, especially economic barriers. We aren’t promoting that everyone should buy from sustainable brands, but we are promoting that everyone adopt a sustainable mindset. When millions of us come together to make small, everyday changes, HUGE changes can be made at a global scale. Wherever you are on your journey to sustainability, we want to be an inspirational force and a resource.
What are your future plans for Care What You Wear?
We launched with just fashion brands on the site but we are planning to quite quickly add more lifestyle brands, as fashion is just the tip of the iceberg. Homewares, furniture and make-up are just a few other areas that we want consumers to be able to find sustainable, ethically made items for.
We are also planning on building out the entire community and actually partnering with some of the brands we have on the site to do some other cool things that we aren't quite ready to reveal just yet :)
What are your favourite sustainable fashion brands?
David - That's an impossible choice! But if pushed……. I absolutely adore Tomoto’s T-shirts and joggers for the sheer quality and comfort, though I am also loving Beyond Retro and their never-ending supply of vintage clothing.
Liz - It’s hard to choose a favourite, especially with there being so many more brands to explore, but the black Scoop Top from Boody is my absolute favourite item in my closet right now. It is multi seasonal, versatile, super flattering and comfortable - an all-round winner!