A Guide to Sustainable Shopping

“What gives me the chills is the thought of chemicals lurking in places I’m not expecting them to be, like my jackets, pajamas, or pillowcases. There’s something sinister about fashion business owners who allow a level of exposure of hazardous chemicals to people who haven’t the slightest idea of what they’re being exposed to.” -Karen Housel, “How to Shop for Shi(f)t”

Beyond the Label (BtL) has a mission to get consumers to think “What’s in my tee?” The BtL team is made up of people from different industries, so it made perfect sense to ask Environmental Scientist Karen Housel to weigh in on all things science related, especially the use of harmful chemicals throughout the supply chain, when we decided to create a shopping guide of healthier fashion for any budget called HOW TO SHOP FOR SHI(F)T (Available now on Kindle & Amazon in Spring 2019!).


Taryn: Why did you want to be part of a sustainable shopping guidebook?


Karen: I felt it was important to highlight the environmental impact of clothing, specifically the ugly chemicals involved. The degradation toxins cause in developing countries surrounding textile mills is shocking, and I wanted to make people aware that even fashion has a dark side.


T: What are you most excited for readers to learn about from “How to Shop for Shi(f)t”?

K: I’m excited for readers to realize how easy it is to start shifting their habits. One of my favorite aspects of the book is how it gives you solid advice, no matter what your financial standing is or where you’re at in life. Knowing that you don’t have to be wealthy to embrace sustainable fashion makes me excited how drastically millennials can shift the fashion industry.


T: Why is it important to get shoppers to think about “What’s in my tee?”  Why is it important to choose non-toxic fabrics?


K: For something as intimate as clothing (as in, you literally drape your body with it), I felt that it was important to share the health impacts of a produced garment. Canceling out polyester and petroleum-based fabrics for something more natural like Tencel which feels luxurious on the skin and has offered relief for many suffering from skin hypersensitivity. In a similar vein, thinking of clothing as ‘ingredients’ shifts your mindset. If someone is dedicated to becoming a vegan or buying organic for environmental reasons, why shouldn’t they broaden those standards to their wardrobe?

Written by Taryn Hipwell


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