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Sustainable Shopping as a Plus Sized Woman

We should leave sustainable shopping for straight sizes, and let me tell you why. As plus sized individuals, it’s plenty hard to find clothes that we find stylish and that are made for our body types. There’s enough guilt surrounding the plus size shopping experience. We don’t need the added burden of absorbing the shame of the ethical motivations behind our manufacturers. 

I don’t write this to say that the fast fashion industry isn’t horrible. Fast fashion is central to many larger issues at hand, such as labor laws, climate change, and capitalism. With over 60% of clothing being synthetic, and over 80% going to landfills, our earth is crying out for it to stop. Not to mention, the labor surrounding fast fashion is often exploitative of immigrant workers and third world factories. We find ourselves caught in this never ending cycle of wanting to buy the newest, trendiest items and get rid of our old ones. 

The sustainable options for plus size are so limited, and when we can find them, it’s incredibly expensive, which as a college student, is not the most accessible to me at the moment. If it is within your budget and feels reasonable to do, I more than recommend shopping from ethical and responsible places! Here are a few that I have found: 

  • The Universal Standard: a brand dedicated to dismantling the shame surrounding plus size fashion, and bringing options for all sizes. 
  • Miakoda, a loungewear and intimates brand who works with organic and eco-friendly fabrics! 
  • Loud Bodies is another brand, with a message I absolutely love: Real style has no size. Not to mention, they are focused on making their products ethically and environmentally friendly. 

I’m also a big believer in thrifting, I love the experience of thrift shopping: filing through people’s pre-loved pieces. I like to do what I can for the environment and to act against the fast fashion industry. There are also a lot of other things you can do to affordably contribute to ethical fashion. For example, you can donate or upcycle your old clothes, and you can also shop online second-hand from places like Depop and Etsy, which have accounts from other plus size individuals! 

While I try my best, I am not ashamed to admit that I also shop at Shein and Forever21. I shouldn’t have to be ashamed, and neither should you. Sometimes, those are the only places where I can find affordable options in my sizes. The industry is a flawed system, but it’s the system that we are currently living in, and so we can only do the best that we can. 

Sophia Lovell is a second year Philosophy and English double major at UCSB. She is originally from San Diego, but embraces Isla Vista as her second home. Her passions include trying not to kill her houseplants, cold brew, and dismantling the patriarchy.
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