If you’re tired of wearing cheaply made clothing that falls apart after a few washes; If you care about your body and demand healthy alternatives to fast fashion’s toxic finishes and synthetic chemicals; If you think “times up” on the exploitation of women in the apparel industry that are 80% of the people who make our clothes; If you are ready to truly be environmentally conscious and feminist AF, then this article is for you.
Scope these three tips to liberate you from the clutches of fast fashion (no pun intended).
For the sake of looking good, we often forget about the clothes we already have in our closets. It’s pretty embarrassing to note that the average person only uses 20% of their wardrobe - lest I mention most garments are worn just 4 times! Here’s your chance to take sustainability into your own hands.
One day out of your week, show your closet some love by getting organized. Take stock of what is hanging on the racks (and what’s hidden way in the deep, dark depths). You may be reunited with pieces you totally forgot you own! Lay all of your clothes out on your bed and organize them by color, type of clothing and frequency of wear. Put every piece under a thorough interrogation: When was the last time you wore it? Does it fit? Does it make you feel good? Is it in good condition? If you find favored pieces that have small tears, holes or frayed seams, learn how to repair them by taking a workshop or watching a DIY video. If you’re not into getting scrappy, take salvageable garments to your local tailor for mending or alterations. You’ll wonder why you ever settled for ready-to-wear, one-size-fits all styles and never look back.
Don’t let the sparkly facade of the fast fashion window displays fool you. What’s really in trend is expressing yourself through your own unique style. And while charity shops currently only sell about 10-20% of the donated clothing they receive, buying second hand is proven to be the most sustainable option.
For us, learning how to shop second hand was the skeleton key to our freedom from fast fashion. It was within those beautifully chaotic and random racks that we learned the true value of a garment - and picked up a knack for recognizing quality fabrics and sought after vintage gems. The thrill of the hunt enhanced our creativity and imagination, allowing us to become the master of our own personal style. Did we mention buying second hand or vintage is also less expensive than buying new? There are no words to describe the feeling of being complimented on a second hand jacket or pair of jeans you’ve snagged for less than 5 euro. If you hate going to the thrift store, there are countless online resources like Poshmark and ThredUp and Silkroll, that catalog used clothing and divert textile waste from landfill.
Can’t get over the fact that second hand clothing is, well, second hand? There are a multitude of brands out there producing ethically. Unlike fast fashion’s 5€ t-shirts and 20€ jeans, the price for ethically made fashion reflects a holistic approach with makers and quality materials in mind. For example, instead of opting for the cheapest labor, brands like Naja empower artisan communities. Instead of using cheap fabrics, brands like Eileen Fisher, Alternative Apparel and PACT strive to use sustainable fibers like organic cotton. Instead of relying on far off factories with questionable operations, companies like Reformation make clothing in Los Angeles so they have full visibility and control of their supply chain. Once you’ve made it to the “ethical side” it’s about buying fewer, better things. If you can’t afford to buy new ethical fashion pieces, try rental services like Rent the Runway and Le Tote.