I get it. You would love to be a more ethical shopper, to have a closet full of independent labels that were responsibly made. You’ve been meaning to recycle more and be a little more conscious of the environment but life is crazy busy. It’s way faster to order some leggings off amazon, throw on your favorite fifteen dollar department store sweater and call it a day. We all have mile long to do lists and quiet frankly, dressing responsibly doesn’t usually land near the top of that list. It’s not easy or convenient to change your shopping habits. It’s not always cheap. It takes time to ask questions like “Who made my clothes?”
My love for personal style has been a lifelong love and I’ve always had an interest in how I could mix my love for activism with my love for fashion. Ethical and sustainable fashion of course made sense for me to pursue. But as I started researching these topics I found that I really had to dig to find much info on sustainable style. I also found a lot of the ethical brands that I really loved were way out of my price range. It seemed as though most of the ethical fashion movement was not happening here in the U.S. but more so in places like the U.K. This is when I decided that I wanted to be a part of the sustainable style movement by writing about my own experience and sharing with others easy tips for how to fit sustainable style into your super busy life. Each week, you can expect to find some of my favorite sustainable brands, products and tips that I’ve been practicing myself.
First, Let’s begin with a super condensed crash course in Sustainable Style so you can know exactly what it is, why it matters and how it relates to you.
What exactly is Sustainable Style? Sustainable Fashion is a design philosophy that creates systems to lower the environmental impact of our clothing and outrageous consumption habits. It also looks at the ethics of how our clothes were made, the conditions for the workers who make our clothing, the materials used to make the fabric, as well as the carbon footprint from mass distribution.
Why it matters? The average American throws away 81 pounds of clothing per year and the average American household will spend around $1800 on clothing each year. That might not sound like much in theory but when you consider the fact that most of us have closets bursting at the seams (HA! No pun intended) it’s a little absurd that most of us are spending an average of $150 a month on clothing. The problem is multi faceted and consists of our buying habits and our thinking that more stuff will grant us happiness.
The goal of sustainable fashion is to increase the value of local production and products, to prolong the life cycle of materials, to increase the value of timeless garments, to reduce the amount of waste, and to reduce the harm to the environment. It aims to educate people to practice environmentally friendly consumption by promoting the “green consumer”.
Why should I care? How does it relate to me?
There’s multiple sects or categories within the sustainable style industry and people usually feel more connected to one over another. For example, ethical fashion focuses more on the who makes our clothing, how they were treated, if they were paid fair wages or not and the social impacts of the fashion industry. Eco friendly brands might focus more on the materials used to make our garments such as using only organic cotton or up-cycling materials and the environmental impact of the fashion industry. Whichever niche of the industry you feel more interested in, the biggest take away remains the same: We must all recognize that the clothes we buy have a social and environmental impact either negative or positive. It’s only when we educate ourselves on the reaction to each of our buying actions that we can start to care. It’s also important to note that you can start small! You don’t have to completely overhaul your closet full of fast fashion over night. In fact, I would strongly recommend not doing that. The key here is educating yourself on sustainable style and slowly beginning to implement what you learn into your daily life. Those details are what I’m here to help with through this sustainable style series.
Up next, I’ll be sharing how I am building a sustainable spring wardrobe and some fun inspiration for how you can build a more conscious closet so stay tuned!