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Unraveling the Fashion Industry With Taryn Hipwell of Beyond the Label

I’d like to see people get as familiar with types of fabric as they are with brands of clothes.

taryn hipwell

Have you ever wondered about the environmental footprint of your closet? Why is it that we are so concerned with avoiding pesticides and single-use plastics in our food but not our clothing? Is fast fashion worse for the planet than fast food?

To answer these thorny questions and more, clothing expert Taryn Hipwell founded “Beyond the Label,” a nonprofit focused on consumer education and advocating for a more sustainable fashion industry.

Her groundbreaking “What’s in my tee?” program showed consumers the ingredients that went into t-shirts. Her program teaches you how to avoid pesticides, heavy metals, and unhealthy dyes in the fabrics we wear every day. In our eye-opening chat, we cover how fast fashion’s reliance on polyester and throw-away culture is virtually identical to the world of single-use plastics. We should all think more about the health impacts of what we wear.

We then explore the end of life for clothing and dig into why only a fraction of the clothes we donate get sold, while the majority of them get shipped to Africa. Taryn also shares a helpful guide to being “fabric literate” and learning to decipher which fabrics and chemicals you should try to avoid and seek out when you’re shopping. This episode is the education about clothing everyone should have learned in school. It will make you re-think your closet and personal style for the better!

Show Notes

  • Check out Beyond the Label’s website.
  • Keep an eye out for the For the Feel Marketplace coming soon! Sign up for the waitlist to be the first to be informed as the Seed to Skin marketplace launches.
  • Get to know more about the fashion industry and buy Beyond the Label’s How to Shop For Shift Guide.
  • Taryn recommends looking out for certain fabrics in your clothes, which are both more sustainable and softer than polyester fabrics. Organic cotton, recycled cotton, hemp, bamboo, tencel, and modal Agroloop are all great examples.
  • A must-read book about the fashion industry is “Fashionopolis” by Dana Thomas.
  • Taryn is a big fan of Shop for Success and Dress for Success. They empower and enhance women’s lives by helping them get professional clothing for job interviews and more!
  • Taryn recommends a few documentaries about the fashion industry. “Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price” which digs into the business practices of retail giant Walmart.The True Cost” explores the hidden side of the fashion industry. “River Blue” sheds light on the environmental impacts of clothing dyes.
  • Taryn admires Sass Brown, Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro founders of Fashion Revolution. As well as Tamsin Lejeune of Common Objectives, Sica Schmitz of Impact Fashion, Marci Zaroff of Yes And, Isaac Nichelson of Circular Systems/Agraloop, and Stephanie Wagner founder of For the Feel. 

If you enjoyed this, then tune in to Re-thinking Sustainable Apparel with Jenny and Stephanie of Rewilder