Sustainable Fashion: How YOU Can Save Our Planet And Still Look Cute Doing So

Our Earth is dying. Sea levels are increasing, the bees need saving and humans just happen to be the largest contributor to global warming. With the rise of technology and outsourcing in the fashion industry, fast fashion has also become the new norm. Brands like Forever 21, Topshop, Fashion Nova and Zara are some of the leaders in fast fashion. These fashion retailers quickly provide clothing inspired by pieces worn by your favorite celebrity or even seen on the runways of fashion week. While these places may have trendy options at the most affordable price, their impact to the environment isn’t cute. Textile production has easily become the 2nd most polluting industry after agriculture. The reduction of clothing costs and the desire to speed up production have lead to increased textile waste as well as increased usage of toxic dyes and chemicals. Not only that, but fashion trends are always changing, which means that people are increasing their consumption of clothing and wearing their clothes for shorter cycles before throwing them out.

It has become imperative that we see a change in the fashion industry and there are so many ways you can help! As a college student, I understand that it might be difficult to stray away from brands like Topshop or Forever 21, but each time we shop at these places, we are essentially supporting these big businesses that are reckless in production. Here are some ways that you can reduce your ecological impact and be more mindful of the effects of our consumption of fashion!

Do Your Research Ladies

Before you go shopping, try to do a little research on some of your favorite brands. The Good On You app is one of the easiest ways to do this! The app rates the impact of popular brands like Nike, Madewell and even H&M on the environment, animals and their workers. Even though the fast fashion industry has created huge amounts of waste, it has also lead to the exploitation of labor, making ethical fashion just as necessary as sustainable fashion. Some of my favorite brands that are both ethical and socially conscious include:

  1. Reformation

  2. Veja

  3. Paloma Wool

  4. Patagonia

Even though these brands are a bit pricey, they have so many timeless pieces and will definitely be worth the investment!

Thrifting Isn’t Just Trendy

If you’re looking for cute pieces that you know you’ll only wear a few times, maybe try to thrift them! Thrift stores have so many gems, and some of them are one-of-a-kind pieces that you can no longer find in retail stores. Even though it’s become super trendy to go thrift shopping, getting your clothes from second-hand stores is also a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Along with that, selling your clothes on apps like Depop or Poshmark are also ways to ensure that pieces you no longer wear will be taken in and loved by others. Next time you clean out your closet, try to sell your previously loved items to ensure that they’ll continue to be worn by someone else who hopefully care for the items as much as you did.

Support Brands That Publicize Their Sustainable Practices

As I’ve become more aware of the issue of sustainability, I’ve made sure to support brands that make sure to highlight or promote their green methods of production. Brands like Reformation are large advocates of sustainability and their website definitely shows this. On their website, you can find out exactly how much water and carbon dioxide is emitted when producing any of their garments. By showcasing this information, Reformation is able to make it extremely clear what goes into an article clothing, thereby making the consumer more socially aware of the repercussions of production. Thus, supporting brands like Reformation shows retailers that customers desire and prefer green practices from big brands and that it is imperative that they adopt a relationship of transparency with consumers.

It’s Not All About Trends

Sometimes, basic pieces are definitely the way to go. Instead of buying a bold colored top that you’ll probably wear a couple times before getting bored of it, try implementing more timeless, neutral colors that will forever be wardrobe staples. You can never go wrong with black or white pieces, and they’ll never go out of style!

How Many Times Will I Wear This?

I know that we’d all love to dive into more sustainable fashion brands like Christy Dawn or Reformation, but as a girl on a college budget, that’s not always the best option. I have come to accept that fast fashion is inevitable, but there are still ways to make sure that the pieces that you do purchase from a fast fashion retailer were worth it. One way is participating in the #30Wears movement. This movement was started by sustainable fashion advocate Livia Firth. The #30Wears movement tackles the issue of wasteful consumption by striving to only purchase clothing items that you will wear a minimum of 30 times. Next time, before purchasing that new shirt from Forever 21, ask yourself how many times you’ll actually wear it before it sits in your closet for the rest of the season.

Remember, we are constantly voting with our dollar. Make sure that your vote counts for a better, ecologically conscious future!