My fashion love story: dressing for myself and the planet
Earth Month is upon us, and as much as I love fashion, this time of year brings a bit more urgency to my mission and message for fashion. In 2015 I watched the documentary True Cost and my life changed forever. From that point on I decided that I would use my fashion choices to convey the narrative of a deeper story about our image and our planet. Because Fashion is intimately connected to our environment, we must make this connection a priority & live with respect to it. For the fashion lovers that also really care about the planet, I am right here with you.
It has been my motto for years now 'I'm always having fun with fashion, but not at the expense of our planet.' My mission in both fashion and my Art business, ReFashioned Art, is merging style + sustainability.
‘Can fashion even be sustainable?’ I’ve been covering sustainable fashion for 7 years now, and still I am asked this question. I know most people would assume no, fashion can not be sustainable since the very act of producing clothing requires resources- lots of them. [READ my sustainable fashion feature in the current issue of Iconic Life Magazine, P. 54]
Fortunately we have a growing following of passionate fashionistas who actually do care about the environment, including myself, and we’ve learned a thing or two about how we can make fashion more sustainable without abstaining from buying (or wearing) clothes. And don’t worry, I do not believe in sacrificing your style to any extent to participate in sustainable fashion either. [WATCH my Ditch The Fast Fashion Styling Video with Iconic Life Magazine]
Whether you are just starting out on your sustainability journey or you’re a seasoned environmentalist, there are many ways actually that we can take part in fashion sustainably, such as choosing certain fabrics, shopping brands that commit to regenerative production, water recycling, and upcycling, or shopping secondhand (my favorite). [READ my Sustainable and Recycled Fashion Tips article in Iconic Life Magazine]
My greatest passion lies in helping people understand that the most sustainable wardrobe is actually the one you already own. Yes- the very garments that are already hanging in your closet- no matter where they came from. The longer you wear the wardrobe that you already possess the better you are doing for the environment.
Restyle and rewear is the name of the game here! Think of it this way- the more you can wear any given garment, you are essentially maximizing the resources that have already been used… such as the 700 gallons of water used to make a cotton T shirt or the 1800 gallons of water used to make one pair of denim*- just to name a few reasons why it is very important we all pay attention to our fashion, and playing this game with our wardrobes- restyling and rewearing as much as we can.
Since I believe that fashion should always be fun too, you can make this a game of challenging your creativity more so than having it be a chore to endure- how many ways can you restyle and reinvent your favorite garments? I’ll give you a hint- the options are endless. It all comes down to styling!
One of my favorite ways to shop sustainably is focusing on quality, timeless style, and versatility. Invest in pieces that could last a lifetime, that pair with a variety of other pieces in your wardrobe, can be worn a number of different ways, and be worn for a number of different occasions.
Focusing on basics may seem a bit boring at first but these are wardrobe workhorses that we can wear and rewear many times over. Focus on the classics, and forego the trendy stuff that won’t stand a chance longterm. I am all about the longterm relationship with my wardrobe.
A timeless garment is something you see yourself wearing for many years to come. Think of prints, silhouettes, colors, etc., that won’t look dated with the changing of the seasons. Anything super trendy would not be considered timeless, and you’ll likely tire of them before even the biggest fashion snob starts to. Buy for the long term. Better for the planet and your bank account too.
Lastly, my very favorite sustainable styling secret (Shhhhhh) that ties this all together is to curate a collection of accessories you love. Accessories can dramatically transform and easily extend the lifespan of the wardrobe you already have. Adding or swapping out your accessories can transform an everyday look to extraordinary and easily take it from day to night. Even something as simple as going from a flat to a heel, or a bare lip to a pop of color can elevate your daytime look to night on the town mode.
Ultimately, one of the best things we can do for the environment is to wear the clothes we have for as long as we can. If you find yourself in a closet full of clothes with nothing to wear, why not hire a stylist to become crystal clear on your personal style and what works for you? Then, you know exactly what to buy to look and feel your very best. That’s sustainable shopping.
This is an art form and it is also an environmental stance, a means to spread the message of sustainability- a huge problem on our planet right now, and we need all hands on deck. I hope by sharing beautiful clothes and pretty pictures will entice you as well to join the sustainable fashion and lifestyle movement. We all can do our part!
I hope you’ll join me on this journey to a more sustainable relationship with fashion and reinventing our relationship to clothes. The future of fashion undoubtedly can be a more earth-friendly and responsible one. And no question, it will be just as beautiful and glamorous as it ever was.
-In the US alone, nearly 13 million tons of clothing are thrown into landfills every year.
-92 million tons of textiles enter landfill on the planet every year
-Clothing in landfills is extremely damaging to our environment; as it breaks down it releases toxic gases into the atmosphere, such as methane.
-Shopping secondhand decreases the demand on the fashion industry to produce faster and cheaper clothing.
Featured in Green Living Magazine
Check out my features in Modern Luxury Magazine, Women of Style 2020 +
Featured in So Scottsdale Magazine
Laura Madden is an artist, sustainable fashion advocate and influencer. In 2019 she decided to pursue her art professionally and created ReFashioned Art. Her work is modern, abstract, fashionable art made using reclaimed materials to align with her mission of merging style + sustainability and helping people live a stylish lifestyle by creating luxury at home while lowering their environmental impact. The ReFashioned Art mission statement is to Create More Style. Less Waste.
ReFashioned Art has been featured in publications Modern Luxury Scottsdale, Iconic Life, So Scottsdale, Stroll Paradise Valley, The Redbook, Frontdoors, Fabulous AZ, Green Living, Arizona Foothills, Eluxe, and TV networks Fox 10 Phoenix, AZTV Channel 7, Arizona Midday Channel 12, Arizona's Family Channel 3, and ABC 15 Arizona. All work can be located on websites shop.iamlauramadden.com + iamlauramadden.com, and Instagrams @iamlauramadden + @ReFashionedArt
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