Updated: Jul 29, 2019
For the July issue of Green Living Magazine I shared my top three tips for shopping sustainably. I know the term sustainable fashion and shopping can seem somewhat elusive.
Fashion and sustainability seem to reside on different planets. I was recently asked if fashion can ever even be sustainable? I don’t know the real answer to that- but I believe that every step we can take to ‘being’ more sustainable matters and every bit counts towards creating a brighter future for the generation to come.
As the demand for faster, cheaper fashion increases, the resources fashion leeches from planet Earth grow more scarce. Considering that fashion is still one of the largest polluters of the planet, we are at a crucial point with climate change to rewrite our relationship to fashion and how we consume it.
According to San Francisco non-profit Remake, it is believed that Americans dispose of about 13 million tons of textiles annually. How can we remedy this and stop purchasing all this stuff that we don’t even need?
Below are my top three tips to to get you started. To read the full feature, please check out the July issue of Green Living found here:
1. Shop secondhand
Secondhand shopping is one of the greatest disruptors to today’s fashion industry by decreasing the demand to produce faster, cheaper clothing.
Production follows demand; if we take away the demand, brands will eventually slow down their output. You are essentially rescuing items from eventually ending up in landfill and conserving a great deal of resources that would otherwise be used up on clothing manufacturing.
Get familiar with your local thrift, vintage, and consignment stores, such as My Sister’s Closet, Well Suited, Goodwill, and White Dove. Another great resource is estate sales and clothing swaps. Online is also a great resource too!
2. Shop local
The closer to home we shop, the lower the carbon footprint of shipping and handling items.Supporting local shops, makers and artists is also a more sustainable option because their goods are not mass-produced, which generates a lot of unnecessary waste.
3. Natural fabrics
Natural fabrics are innately more eco-friendly than synthetics. Linen, silk, wool, alpaca, cotton, cashmere, hemp do not require the chemical processing that synthetic fibers do, which means less resources wasted, less toxic chemicals, and less pollution emitted into the environment.
It is also important to note that while most people are aware of our petroleum dependency when it comes to cars, we also have a petroleum dependency in the fashion industry. Polyester, one of the most widely used fabrics, originates from Petroleum. Buy less polyester and further decrease our dependency on petroleum.
Natural fabrics are also healthier for the entire supply chain- farmers growing the crops, harvesting, milling, sewing, packaging, etc. Whatever chemicals are in our clothes are absorbed through our skin.
Natural fabrics are essentially biodegradable and as long as they are not mixed with other fibers, they can be recycled. Newer options to look for are modal, cupro and Tencel.
I hope these three tips to shopping more sustainably will be helpful, encouraging and even fun! We can still shop sustainably without sacrificing our style whatsoever.
Sustainable shopping is about knowing thyself, your true style, and slowing down enough to think about the consequence of what you are consuming.
Every purchase is a vote for more of what you want to see in the world. Make your vote count! Join the movement to living and shopping your way to a more sustainable world!
Photo: Phyllis Lane
Makeup: Mary Ried
Assisted by: Carrilee Fox