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Sustainable Fashion… Is it Too Late to Start?

For most of us, sustainable fashion comes in the form of a Veja sneaker or a Sezanne sweater, and our ecological duties somewhat end here. However, with the much-anticipated exposure of the fashion industry following the pandemic, a sustainable lifestyle seems to have extracted a different meaning. We’ve all seemed to form an agreement to become a conscious consumer, and rightfully so. However, we’ve also realized that a revamp of our entire closet to fit this eco-friendly motif is challenging. Being constantly surrounded by a continuance of fast fashion makes it hard not to fall victim to it, and suddenly we see ourselves once again prioritizing OOTD’s over oceans.   

With the fashion industry being responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions, the term sustainable fashion may sound like an oxymoron. Yet the two can co-exist in harmony. A pair of flares doesn’t have to equate to a surge in landfill deposits, and a halter neck doesn’t have to lead to a hike in carbon emissions. With new collections coming out faster than ever before, sticking to a sustainable agenda seems much harder. So, how can we keep our closets up to par with SS21 when we’re forever being demeaned by our eco-subconscious? 

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Step one:

Avoid purple satin pants at all costs… seriously. Short-lived trends may seem like a good idea in the spur-of-the-moment, but in the long term they are detrimental to the planet. Unless your everyday outfits thrive off diversity, for most of us our styles are too volatile, and something that is cute one day is hideous the next. Investing in versatile yet simple pieces lends to the creation of an abundance of outfits, perfect for all seasons. However, if you feel an intense longing for a pair of neon pink cowboy boots, then maybe turn to fashion rentals like By Rotation or On Loan for a sustainable way of standing out. 

Step two:

Befriend your local thrift store. With the heavily anticipated reopening of shops, most of us are craving the feeling of walking into a boutique. Can you blame us? Having spent the last few months shopping via a formation of pixels on a screen, a day of in-person retail therapy is imperative to preserving our inner Carrie Bradshaw. However, instead of heading to the high street, we should be delving heel first into the infinite racks of vintage clothing. Not only is this a way of slowing down harmful emissions, but also a way of uncovering unique pieces that no one else will have. A 2000’s Louis pochette doesn't sound like the worst thing in the world…

Step three:

Research is key. Your favourite brands may be labelling themselves as sustainable or eco-friendly, but it’s much easier said than done. Luckily, we’re in an era characterized by advances in technology, meaning we have apps like Good on You that do the work for us. These apps rate our favourite fashion brands on their environmental impacts, labour conditions, and animal welfare, so we can feel at peace with our purchases. Stop funding the vicious cycle of fast fashion, and check out brands like Reformation, Brother Vellies and TwoThirds for an endless list of eco-approved items. 

With the fashion industry foreshadowing an ecological crisis, it's mandatory we find ways to reduce this impact while indulging our fairycore or dark academia aesthetic... Whether it be through the realization that spring garments also apply to summer, or that upcycling can surprise us, a break-up with fast fashion should be on our 2021 to do list. Even if it costs us an Instagram opportunity…

Lucy Hasani

St Andrews '24

Hello! My name is Lucy and I am a student at the university of St Andrews. Along with spending time with friends, I also love fashion and writing and I can't wait to combine these two interests together for Her Campus!
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