Ah, sustainability. It’s been a while since I’ve talked about it, mainly because I took a hiatus from both my blog and my shop. But since I’ve been making many more outfits now that I have restarted, I’ve noticed the amount of fast fashion in my closet. One of the reasons why I have so much fast fashion in my closet is mainly due to the fact that I can’t afford expensive eco-conscious brands. I am not employed so money is often irregular and even though I try my best to save and support brands when I can, it is something that is still difficult for me to do. It’s something that I’m not proud of, but over the last couple of months, I’ve taken some steps to reduce the amount of fast fashion in my wardrobe.
There’s actually so many ways to have an eco-conscious wardrobe without spending too much money on expensive brands and today I’ll be showing you how!
It’s also important to realize that everyone is on a different path. So as long as you are doing the best you can on your conscious journey, then that’s all that truly matters. You’ll most likely make some mistakes along the way, as we all have, but it’s important to educate yourself and keep growing! For now, let me show you how you can change so many of your fashion shopping and how easy it is to be more eco-conscious.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Because I often struggle with my purchases, I like to focus on making every other aspect of purchasing clothes to be eco-conscious. This means supporting small business and going to the mall, rather than online shopping. By actually going and physically shopping rather than shipping your clothes, you are reducing the number of greenhouse gases that are being released in the air through shipping time. Now one package is not a big deal, but since there are millions of humans purchasing online at once, the amount of gases that are released is huge! Pro-tip: shopping online is inevitable especially during this pandemic so, if possible, pick the longest shipping time you can!
In addition, when going to the mall to purchase items, bring a tote bag! First off, they’re super cute and so many people actually comment on how they should start doing the same. If you go to five stores and you use your tote bag instead of the plastic bags the store employees give you, you just removed five plastic bags for you to throw away later. Pro-tip: If possible, ask for no receipt, or ask for the receipt to be emailed to you instead! That’s less paper going to waste!
Always Check Resell Apps or Thrift Stores for Non-Conscious Brands
I do this all the time! You want a Forever 21 shirt but you don’t want to support the company? Check Depop, Posh-Mark, and local thrift stores. Not only do you have the chance of saving money, but you’re also giving that piece of clothing a new home that would have otherwise be thrown in the trash. You might even find some new pieces that you weren’t planning on purchasing. It’s overall a great way to stop supporting fast fashion brands directly and continue the life of that item you want to purchase. Pro-tip: the website Good On You is dedicated to rating brands on how ethical they are. Use it before purchasing from a brand if you are unsure of their ethics.
I go thrifting quite a bit, would you guys like a blog post on how to thrift easily?
You know the saying, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure so be sure to resell and donate your clothes instead of throwing them in the trash. You’ll either get some of your money back and/or make someone else happy! It’s overall such a great way of recycling clothes and giving back to others!
3) Support Eco-Conscious Brands & Motivate Others to Get With the Program
As I mentioned in the beginning about not everyone being on the same path on their eco-friendly journey, the same thing applies to brands. Realistically and unfortunately, the eco-friendly movement is one that has only surfaced in the last couple of years. Many new brands have already put in place many eco-conscious tools, but older brands are still struggling to get with the program. To continue, some brands have completely avoided the subject of changing their labor systems, but some have also been slowly changing for the better. Below are three categories separate brands: brands that are conscious, brands are slowly changing, and brands to completely avoid. Pro-tip: Sign petitions and write emails to fast fashion companies! Use your voice, it has so much impact!
(The majority of the information was obtained from website GoodOnYou.)
- Girlfriend: Guys, I am in love with this brand. This brand sells mainly modern activewear and sells leggings for a much lower price than a Lululemon legging. Yet, the brand is much more sustainable. Their leggings are made from water bottles, fishnets, and have saved over a million pounds of CO2.
- CHNGE: Fashion should be more than just wearing a simple shirt and jeans. It should also be about making a statement. CHNGE uses graphic designs to make cultural statements that aim, as their name suggests, to change the world for the better. They are completely transparent about where their factories are located, are certified in organic cotton production, and minimize their textile waste.
- BOMA Jewelry: This brand sells beautiful, minimalistic jewelry that is so affordable!! What’s great about this company is that they own their own factory so they control anything that goes in and out. They also make sure that their workers are well paid and aim to progress in their sustainability over the years.
- NU-IN: NU-IN fashion is a great company for your go-to comfy basics as well as trendy pieces. The prices are quite affordable and are sustainable. They upcycle their materials, use organic cotton, and work with sustainable factories. It is clear that this brand aims to sell beautiful clothes without harming the earth or its workers.
For this category, I’ve put brands that have both good and bad aspects of sustainability. Progress has been made, yet it should be furthered.
- Adidas: From the Good on You website, Adidas uses a certain amount of eco-friendly materials, such as recycled items, and aims to lower their greenhouse gas emissions. However, Adidas still uses animal products and while they are in good standing with their labor ethics, many of their workers are still not properly paid.
- ASOS: ASOS is known to have many fast-fashion traits but seems to be becoming slowly more sustainable. They use recyclable materials and aim at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15%. The very big issue with this brand is that there is no proof that they properly pay living wages to their workers who are often working in the third world, high-risk countries.
- H&M: I am conflicted with putting this brand in this category and not on list C. H&M has an entire line that is dedicated to being made with recyclable materials and aims to use “100% of renewable energy for its own operations by 2035” (GoodonYou.com). However, many criticize the fact that there may be some greenwashing involved as H&M is still not transparent about its traced facilities and have not made little to no progress at raising the wages of their workers. As they are still a mass-producing company, H&M (and ASOS as well) should not just dedicate sustainability to a single clothing line, but rather to their entire brand and become much more transparent with their activities.
- Bershka: Bershka aims to lower its greenhouse gas emissions by 15% and remove dangerous chemicals by 2020. Their website claims to have made 11,000 checks to their workers to provide healthy working conditions but the brand overall is not entirely transparent on their factories and the condition of their workers. In addition, the label still uses leather and wool but does not use fur or exotic animal skin. They seem, however, to be aware of the issue of fast-fashion and aim to make a change.
I will not go into detail about all these brands as they all share similar characteristics: no protection of their workers, mass production of items with little to no proof of reducing greenhouse gases, little recyclable materials, and most likely not vegan. In addition, many of these brands have not spoken up about their practices and are not transparent with their customers. These are the brands that should be only purchased second-handed to continue the life of the clothing item created by workers in high-risk countries.
- Forever 21
- Brandy Melville (there’s little to no proof about any of their practices so take it as you will)
- SheIn, Romwe, Boohoo
To be frank, this list could go on forever. Please use the app or website GoodOnYou to obtain more knowledge on these brands as well as alternatives.
Please be sure to leave some recommendations down in the comments! I would love to start supporting more eco-friendly brands.
Well, that’s it for today’s blog post! I hoped you guys enjoyed, I really love writing about this subject. Once again, as long as you are doing your best to educate yourself on being eco-conscious and taking the steps that you can take, then you are doing the best you can. The low amount of income that I have disables me to properly purchase from some of the brands I have listed, but I have changed so much of my purchasing habits that I have made a substantial change in my life. I hope you all have a lovely week, and I will see you all in my next blog post! Stay safe everyone!