Starting My Year of Sustainable Fashion

My New Year’s Resolution is to only purchase sustainable fashion and from local businesses for a whole year. The difficult part of this concept is that fast fashion and good deals are in my bloodstream. My family loves going to the mall and scouting the best deal (i.e. $0.99 pants at Sears) and I don’t blame them. I feel the rush and excitement that they’re feeling when I spot something in style and for cheap. But with cheap clothing comes cheap materials, cheap pay for garment workers, cheap (short) lifespan of the clothes. With this experiment I hope to gain knowledge of quality brands with ethical ideals and to decrease my consumption.

If you’d like to join along, here’s some helpful tips for you:

1. Do research. Knowing the harms of fast fashion, you’ll find that you can restrain yourself when you see a great promotion at a fast fashion retailer. You may also find that some of your favorite clothing brands may not be considered “slow fashion” in fact they may be owned by well-known fast fashion retailers, like Topshop, Uniqlo, and Zara.

Read this:
- Facts About Fast Fashion
- Why I Don't Shop Fast Fashion
- Fast Fashion's Impact on the Environment

Watch this:
- The True Cost (documentary which can be found on Netflix)
- Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
- YouTube Fast Fashion TED Talks

2. Unsubscribe from fast fashion brands' emails. I just did this and it gave me peace of mind because I don’t have to worry about going through 100 emails of “BOGO sales” or the “newly added pieces” everyday. Don’t tempt or torture yourself. Just hit unsubscribe.

Instead follow sustainable blogs:
- The Peahen
- The Good Trade
- Eco Warrior Princess
- My Green Closet

3. Shop sustainable, local, and second-hand. The frustrating part about finding a sustainable brand is that many retailers will have a whole page on their sustainability efforts when what they promise are not even effective and becomes another marketing ruse to get us to purchase more. THANKFULLY, there are brands whose core values are all about sustainability and making life better for their garment employees and the environment.

Sustainable places to shop:
- Shop local. Support your community mom and pop shops. You'll do a great deed for those who are trying to make a living selling things they love. I've found that the overall atmosphere of these stores are always unique and beautiful.
- Shop second-hand. Thrift stores are a great place to find amazing brands and products for cheap. Some you already know: Goodwill, Value Village/Savers; some are locally owned; and some are online and on mobile: ThredUP, Instagram shops, Poshmark, and Depop.
- Download the Done Good app to find companies that match your values (e.g. green, organic, gives back, supports workers, toxin free).

4. Pay attention to the material. Replace toxic fibers (polyester, acrylic, acetate, nylon) with natural fibers (cotton, silk, linen, hemp, wool, cashmere). Polyester especially because it is non-biodegradable. Keep in mind that expensive doesn’t always mean good quality so checking the material will give you a good idea of how sturdy and long-lasting an item will be in your closet.

Watch this (fast-forward to 5:10 to learn about the harms of polyester).

5. Buy less. The biggest argument for fast fashion is that it’s incredibly affordable especially for college students, recent graduates, or those wanting to look amazing and not break the bank. To that I say, in the long run you’ll have a quality closet that makes you happy if you curate the items for your wardrobe. Think about it, purchasing only a few pieces a year that is great quality and will last you a long time is far better than purchasing something cheap that will probably be out of style in a couple of months.

Consider creating a capsule closet in which you only have a few key pieces that you can mix and match to be worn year-round.
- To help you get started: Wardrobe Rehab.

Keeping a sustainable fashion lifestyle for one-year sounds difficult. But to me it sounds look a great challenge as well because it forces me to look at my wardrobe and come up with 365 creative looks using only the pieces I have. Even the thrill of finding a good deal will never be gone because there’s always thrift stores. The thing that’s most challenging is buying less and investing on sustainable brands. I’m accustomed to shopping every week and I still have a small budget for clothes, so instead of 10 items a month, I may be able to afford 1-2 every other month.

If you are a sustainable fashion brand, blogger, or have any tips please reach out to me because I really want to immerse myself in this sustainable lifestyle.

I hope you all learned something and hopefully this was of some interest to you!

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