When people are looking at ways to become more environmentally friendly they think of recycling their trash, biking or ride sharing more, eating less meat and animal byproducts, but they tend to forget to look at the clothing they purchase. The fashion industry has a huge detrimental impact on the environment. From the manufacturing facilities all over China, the dye factories dumping waste chemicals into the waterways, leather tanneries polluting the surrounding areas not to mention the distance most clothing has to go before it gets in your shopping cart and shipped or driven back to your house.
Gina studied fashion and design and has a lot more industry knowledge about this kind of stuff and I'm sure will go deeper into the impact the fashion industry. For now I wanted to touch on fast fashion and some healthy, fashionable alternatives for the environment AND your wallet.
FAST FASHION is the “hottest trends” that are usually inspired by high fashion runways and made disposable and cheaply by big name brands across the US and readily available in many stores. The styles can be interesting to ridiculous in aesthetics, but usually end up not standing the test of time due to poor quality or turning into fashion faux pas…. so last season. In the past 10 years I have gone to a mall maybe 8 times. The last time i went I was hopeful and optimistic for finding “something” to wear or more likely to feed my consumer craving. What I ended up leaving the mall with was nothing but anxiety. I couldn't believe the MOUNTAINS of clothing in every retailer and how cheap and shotty the materials were, every store was having a sale and every store had the same style items. Nothing unique or high quality. What happens to these mountains of clothes that don't end up selling even at low discounts on sale?
Unfortunately a lot of clothing ends up in landfills. Even when fast fashion items are donated or gathered and sent to third world countries for second hand retail the items are still bad quailty and don't last the people who end up with them either. Leading to all the toxic dyes, syntetic materials, factories that made them and pollution of transporting them from China to USA and back across the world a waste with the environment paying the price.
How you can help the environment and yourself:
Seriously just take like a moment to consider where the item you are purchasing is coming from. Where is it made? Imagine who made it and what conditions? What are the materials? What went into getting it here? Just taking a moment to THINK about what you are supporting and putting close to your body is HUGE. I will get into more depth in another post, but the chemical dyes and synthetic fibers, micro plastics and Phthalates all over fast fashion clothing? No thanks.
What goes around comes around… and comes back into style! Gigi and I LOVE a good thrift find. The pieces of my wardrobe I get the most compliments on are always vintage or thrifty finds that I repurpose and love. I just feel bad when people compliment me I can't tell them where to get it because it's one of a kind, but it makes it even better and more unique.
Along with the Thrifting cycle UPcycle your clothes back in the system, aka do a thorough closet cleanse once or twice a year and sell them back on poshmark, tradesy or any of the other clothing apps, hit up the buffalo exchange or plato's closet and then donate to your local shelter or good will. Most stores don't even accept fast fashion brands, but don't ever throw away wearable clothing, donate! Don't throw away unwearable clothing either, even dirty dishrags can be recycled at textile recycling plants. Look online to find where they are in your area.
Don't Fall in the Trap
It's better for everyone from your bank account to the environment if you don't fall into the fast fashion trap. AKA don't be tempted by cute, trendy clothes that are made readily available by fast fashion brands for cheap prices. You end up being enticed and buying way more than you need and barely wearing these items and then they end up not working out later down the road when the "trend" is over. Invest in quality pieces that are more practical and try to get rid (donate/sell/recycle) of an item before you buy a new one so that your closet doesn't overflow.
Be more discerning when purchasing.
Loving fashion the struggle is REAL. I guess this is the same as Be aware above, but going into more detail.. Instant gratification of shopping and sales attracts young women to flock to the malls and leave with bags and bags of clothes that might be incorporated into an outfit or two and then tossed aside to be forgotten. I am constantly trying to balance raising my standards when purchasing clothes while not over spending. Thrifting is huge as I mentioned above, I also search high and low for made in USA, sustainable fabrics, local designers and NATURAL material like hemp, wool, silk or the newest technology allowing us to create pineapple leaf leather and mushroom leather! Post about those on its way!
Gina and I are going to start a Designer of the Week on our instagram for this reason. To highlight smaller designers that create beautiful and unique clothing that isn't mass produced and shottily put together. Quality over quantity here. SO if you're looking for some fashion finds for the fashionista of your family or friend group this season scout out a local designer, find something unique on etsy or depop. Try to stay away from the fast fashion trap and go for something that will last throughout the years and I'm sure they will love it and appreciate the extra effort.
Sashay Away Fast Fashion!