What Is Sustainable Clothing?

With the “green trend” that has surfaced in the past few years, the demand for sustainable clothing has risen. Additionally, it provides new job opportunities and reduces the production of raw materials and resources. This reduction of raw materials has a dual effect -- it will lessen the carbon footprint we have on our planet; meaning that this reduction helps to cut down on the carbon emissions during the manufacturing process and the emissions released during the transportation process.

What is sustainable clothing?

Sustainable clothing comes from eco-friendly materials, such as sustainably grown fiber crops (i.e. organic cotton), and recycled materials. Most of these companies gear their production and distribution practices towards sustainability, reducing environmental impacts and improving the social condition in factories. The Green Strategy outlined 7 forms of sustainable fashion from a consumer and producer perspective: 1) on demand and custom made, 2) green and clean, 3) high quality and timeless design, 4) fair and ethical, 5) repair, redesign, and upcycle, 6) rent, lease, and swap, and 7) secondhand and vintage. Ideally, all of these would be factored in for any new garment produced, however that is not the case yet.

I’ve heard sustainable clothing is expensive and I’m on that college budget.

Trust me, I get you. The great thing is that in order to support sustainable fashion, there is no need to spend an arm and a leg on a single clothing item. Form 5 on the list can be DIY. Get your creative juices flowing and make your own vintage jean jacket or distressed jeans (plus it will all be one of a kind! It's a win-win situation). The first two on form 6 may be a little more costly, but there are definitely some companies on this train already, i.e. Rent the Runway and Poshmark. The third option of “swap” and form 7 go hand in hand and are perfectly free! Grab your girls (& a bottle of your favorite wine), bring clothing items you don’t want or need anymore, and have a Sip and Swap night! And lastly, thrifting is a great way to find some really cool and vintage items for really low prices. If you’ve never been thrifting before, I would suggest starting with your nearest Goodwill or Salvation Army and bringing a friend. The options seem endless and it can be overwhelming at first. Some of my favorite pieces in my closet are thrifted. It’s not for everyone but don’t knock it ‘til you try it! Get creative and have fun with it. 

Sustainable clothing in SoFL.

For some of these companies, doing business online and having few storefronts is a part of their sustainable marketing strategies. Luckily, Yelp has already compiled a list of stores in Miami, a handful of which are based in Wynwood. Aside from this list, Youtuber Arden Rose also has a fun and informational video about a sustainable clothing haul (which is actually the inspiration for this article).