Being fashionable and keeping up with trends is not commonly ethical or green. The consumption of resources to produce hot new items every season is, at the very least, wasteful. The fashion industry majorly pollutes the environment, notably by factories dumping chemicals into waterways and emissions pumped into the air. Plus, there are widespread issues with labour, like low pay rates and terrible working conditions. Yet there are ways to create your own unique closet that are sustainable. Remember the three Rs from grade school: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle? Tack on a special fourth – Reward – and your style can help save the environment while being completely unique and gorgeous.
We’re not supposed to eat our dessert first, but occasionally treating ourselves to a nice thing will help out with the motivation to do the rest. It’s difficult to find luxury brands that are truly sustainable. Some try to avoid doing one bad thing, like animal cruelty, and end up doing another, like the toxic manufacturing of plastics in most fake leather. But not all fake leather! An awesome brand like Evecork.com makes truly sustainable bags and accessories out of cork, touting natural sophistication. Layers of bark from cork oak trees is harvested using fair labour in Portugal, and the bark grows back again in about 9-10 years. Their resulting high-fashion line looks amazing and their handbags and stylish packs match a range of looks. The appearance is like soft leather, but it’s even more durable, so it will last!
This one sounds straightforward but is the most difficult for the ultra-trendy. A big part of green fashion is not needing to consume every major trend that’s unveiled each season. Be choosy with high quality, versatile items that you love and see what can be done with what you already own. You don’t need Johnny Depp levels of accessories to look good (in fact, you’re best not using Depp as a role model for any part of your life). Create your own unique looks by mixing, matching, and repurposing pieces you already have in your drawers. Be the one who starts the trend. A great tip for avoiding the urge to overbuy: just don’t look. Advertisers know exactly how to manipulate us, so avert your eyes from those magazine lists of Top Items You Need This Week. Obsessing over trends is just a habit, and you can break it.
Closely tied to the above: reuse and re-wear items and pieces from the past. Similar trends from several seasons ago tend to reappear with slight differences. It’s wise to have several basic key items that you can change the look and feel of by pairing with a couple of accessories (not nine, though, like some movie pirates). Save space in your closet by tightly rolling up pieces of clothing and storing them in a thin zipper case under your bed. Occasionally roll them out and revitalize them! If you’re the crafty type, you can also reuse pieces by altering their shape or sewing on cute adjustments like patches, studs, or lace. Make regular visits to thrift stores for real vintage looks.
If you’re totally done with something and want to help others, donate pieces to local charities or thrift stores. Help others participate in this philosophy when they reuse your lightly worn fashions. Many textiles end up in the garbage that could be recycled or re-worn. Some cities allow you to recycle your holey socks and ripped pants in bins, so check out your specific district.
Eco-friendly fashion involves a change of habit and attitude that will be difficult to achieve at first, but the internal rewards are invaluable. Don’t forget the money you’ll save! Spending a bit on premium pieces that will last for years, and reducing, reusing, and recycling the rest saves across the board.