Why sustainability, anyway?
If it isn’t obvious already, I’m a huge fan of fast fashion brands like Zara and Forever21. Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter regarding the importance of sustainable fashion. While we as consumers benefit from variety and cheaper prices, the effect of fast fashion on the environment isn’t good. Check out these numbers:
- 11 million tons of textile waste… in the US alone!
- Manufacturing one t-shirt requires 200 gallons of water due to the usage of insecticides and water-intensive nature of cotton
- Clothing made of plastic – for example, polyester – is not biodegradable, and can take over 200 years to degrade
Clearly we need to do our part to minimize this threat to the environment. Fashion brands are starting to jump onto the sustainability wagon and are more transparent about their supply chain. As for us, we need to locate those brands and not feel like we look like a burlap sack while doing it.
Budget-Friendly Sustainable Fashion
The word “sustainable” almost implies that it will be more expensive, but it doesn’t have to be:
1 – Shop vintage: My favorite! If you’re looking for unique, and mixing old world with new then vintage is your way to go. Not only are you reusing already manufactured and pre-used clothing, you can also be super relevant by wearing vintage jeans (previous post here).
2 – Shop brands committed to sustainability: Collections such as Urban Outfitter’s Urban Renewal and H&M’s Conscious collection reuse fabric from old garments and make them into completely new ones. If vintage styles are not your cup of tea, at least use the vintage fabric for a completely new outfit.
3 – Shop secondhand: Pre-loved, lightly-worn, or sometimes brand new – when you shop thrift you can find it all! Some of my favorite places to shop secondhand are Beacon’s Closet, Buffalo Exchange, and Poshmark. You can also make some cash back or trade your clothing through these secondhand shops, so it’s truly a win-win situation!
4 – Shop handmade: I personally love the accessories you can find on Etsy. There are endless options here – find handmade jewelry, handbags, and accessories like belts made of recycled materials. Get someone no-one else in the world will own, and support local artists and businesses. You can also find upcycled home goods, another nice touch for your living space.
5 – Donate: This one is as free as it can be! When you’re through with an article of clothing don’t just throw it away! As long as it’s in reasonable condition, you can donate your clothing to local organizations that provide the clothing to those in poverty.
The next time you go shopping, take into consideration what the brand and you are contributing to sustainability – it’s an important effort that will no doubt affect the future of the environment.
My sustainable outfit:
Blazer: TOPSHOP double breasted blazer, Buffalo Exchange trade
Top: At least 3 year old white tee, American Eagle
Shorts: Vintage Levi’s cutoffs, Village Style vintage shop