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Fashionably Sustainable: How to make your Wardrobe more Eco Friendly

As a consumer, you have a responsibility to make eco friendly decisions about what you wear and where you shop. Sustainability starts with you, because whatever you choose to do now will have an environmental impact in the future.

Here’s how to make your closet fashionably eco-friendly:

  1. Buy domestic. Try to find brands that have domestic factories who manufacture 100% of their products using sustainable materials sourced locally. You’ll be buying products that have a lower carbon footprint because the materials weren’t shipped and assembled in another country, only to have the finished product shipped back to be sold locally.
  2. Shop at local, private shops. Don’t buy clothes in the mall and say NO to the fast fashion industry. Local shops usually have eclectic collections from local designers which are not mass produced by the thousands. You’re getting an original, unique item and you’re helping local designers grow their brand.
  3. Only buy clothes when you need to. Don’t buy clothes every week or every month! Be smarter with your wardrobe selection, have a few of each and always mix and match. It’s easier on your brain to have less clothes anyway, because decision fatigue saps most of your brain power just by deciding what tie to wear.
  4. Quality over quantity. When your budget permits, choose high quality products because these tend to last longer and you’ll be more motivated to take good care of it or cycle it’s use.
  5. Don’t buy Knockoffs. Cheap, fake products are more likely to fail earlier and get thrown out, crowding the already full landfill even more. Counterfeit items are also known to fund child labor, drugs and terrorists. Think about it every time you feel the itch to buy a luxury ripoff.
  6. Buy Online. If your favorite local or domestic shop has an online store, try shopping online. You’ll be saving fuel on and transportation costs by staying home. You can buy shoes, jewelry, jeans and even browse designer eyeglasses online
  7. Support small business. Need a suit or a dress? Don’t buy a ready made one. Visit your local tailor or seamstress and have one custom made for you. The quality is better than ready to wear alternatives, and you can choose what fabric you want. Plus, the fit on you can’t be beat.
  8. Buy shoes and clothing that can be repaired. Assess the damage first and try to do a little repairs. If it’s minor and you have the tools and the skills, go for it. For shoes, you can have it looked at by a professional shoe repair shop.
  9. Buy Used. Used clothing is an excellent way to nail luxury brands for cheap. Just be careful what you buy and always inspect the item before buying. The fact that used clothes and shoes are still sellable is a testament to their durability and quality.

Real Sustainability

There’s a movement that champions more eco-friendly fashion, and companies are turning to more sustainable materials and design practices to accomplish this goal. Recycled polyester, organic cotton and other biodegradable materials are being used by brands to appeal to the more environmentally conscious consumer.

This is good news, but it still doesn’t highlight the fact that they’re still manufacturing products in excess, and any gains that were made by using sustainable materials goes out the window because of high production rates. Plus, there’s the issue of unsafe labor practices. Many big names have taken a bad rap due to the use of unethical labor.

In order to be truly be sustainable, manufacturers should:

  • Make less products. Fast fashion brands are notorious for mass producing products. In order to be truly sustainable, this model should change to a more moderate production approach.
  • Use sustainable materials on everything. Most brands have lines that are labeled as “green” and are mostly made out of 100% sustainable materials. If they can make products that help the planet, why not make all their products sustainable?
  • Fair treatment of workers. Unfair and unethical labor practices have to stop. Boycott any company that is found to use sweatshops.

What does your present wardrobe look like? Do you buy from fast fashion stores and practice unsustainable shopping habits? Let us know!

 

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