The fashion industry is not always about beauty, art and trends… Today, fashion is also about waste, pollution, and unethical working conditions.
So before you plan on your next fast fashion hauls, consider switching to a kinder type of fashion and living.
Let’s look at the facts:
In the US alone, around 11 million metric tons of textile waste are sent to landfills – where there is no proper waste segregation or treatment.
Such a huge amount of waste can be traced back to the increasing demand and, thus, the production of clothes, which has been reported to have doubled between 2000 and 2015.
Energy usage, carbon emissions, pollution – all these harmful effects brought by the fashion industry has made it responsible for a staggering 10% of global pollution.
These alarming numbers alone call for swift action and reaction from the consumers – us.
You might not see it now, as an individual, but the collective effort of each person can always turn the tide.
So if you’re ready to start the journey toward a more sustainable lifestyle, this list is the best place to start. Read on!
1. Educate yourself on a zero-waste (or low waste) lifestyle.
Like where you are now, it is best to start with an open and informed mind.
Maybe you have heard about the terms “zero-waste,” “low impact,” “sustainable living,” “closing the loop,” etc., and at first, found them strange, too-good-to-be-true solutions, or intimidating.
They require work and dedication, but I assure you, they are worth looking into.
There are many available resources for you. Go online and find websites, blogs, and quick guides to start!
You can join community events and public talks as well, so you can be in the same space as other green-minded people.
Don’t obsess about “perfecting” the beginning of your sustainable journey. What matters is that you start an imperfect journey right now.
2. What’s in your closet?
Yup, we aren’t going anywhere far for our next step. And this one is actually crucial.
You see, when we say fashion, it almost always connects to consumerism. Consumerism adds to the demand for our resources – which in turn brings us back to the fact at the top: waste. We all buy things, but it’s important to be conscious consumers and be mindful of the things that we buy. Do I really need this? How many times will I wear this? How’s the quality?
Zero-waste fashion sounds like quite a leap, so I like to refer to it as low waste fashion as well - lessening our impact on the earth by making conscious decisions about everything I buy.
This usually starts with: Making use of what you already have in your closet.
Take stock of what’s inside and consider which ones you want to keep, you want to upcycle, you want to donate, and you want to repair.
You don’t have to throw away what you have just to “start over.” But you can definitely start better.
3. Repair clothes.
That’s right – in this house, we take pride in our artistic (or basic) sewing skills! And you should, too.
Not only are you saving fabrics from being dumped somewhere and adding to the pollution problem, you are also learning and honing new life skills.
What makes this part even more endearing is that it also allows you to create new pieces from your favorite clothes.
Add new patches here and there. Piece a new color and pattern at the hem. Add embroidery even!
Don’t hesitate to get help from seamstresses around town, too, for tricky or more advanced touch-ups needed.
You’ll soon find out that your appreciation for your clothes grows even more with each stitch of love and care that you sew on them.
4. Love secondhand and thrift clothes.
Here’s one thing that must be cleared up: You’re still allowed to own new clothes and accessories.
Going zero waste doesn’t have to mean that your happiness needs to be put on the back burner. Instead, you can look at your passion for clothes and fashion through a new lens.
Try thrifting and receiving preloved clothes from friends and family!
While this is not absolute zero-waste, this still lessens the chances of perfectly good clothes from being burned or thrown away.
Visit vintage shops, or thrift shops for great deals. Not only are you saving the environment, but you are also saving your bank account from meaningless splurging.
For one-day events that require attires you don’t usually wear, you can ask friends and family if there’s something you can borrow. Style it up and secure the fit, and you’re all set! That’s looking and feeling nice without the fast fashion guilt.
Remember: Low carbon footprint wardrobe is the new #goals today!
5. Buy from sustainable shops.
Clothes are investments, too. And if you want to have an investment that you won’t regret, then the smartest way to do so is by patronizing products from sustainable shops.
Here are some places to check out for a complete green wardrobe:
Clothes + Accessories:
No need to go far - VALANI has a complete lookbook for you! We have gorgeous garments made from hemp, Tencel and banana fabrics! These materials are comfortable, breathable, and 100% eco-friendly. Check them out here.
Take your pick among these shops that use vegan, recycled plastics, and raw, organic materials for their durable and fashionable footwear. You’re gonna experience a different pep in your step with these shoes!
Get ready for any event with these sustainable handbags. Find the perfect alternative – and top-notch style – with canvasses made from vegan leather, recycled nylon, and even genuine decommissioned firehose.
What you’ll notice is that prices are higher for products coming from these brands. And no, it’s not because of branding.
The reason is that a great part of their business model is making sure that the materials used will be processed properly and safely, whether they are from recovered plastics or raw, organic sources.
They ensure fair and ethical labor practices, where no community or group of artisans are exploited for money, work, and knowledge.
Another positive perk is the warm feeling you get from purchasing from eco-friendly and “closing the loop” brands. You can be certain that every piece that you buy is made with love, care and high quality which will last much longer than fast fashion pieces.
In essence, this is the type of investment that makes you feel & look beautiful while doing some good. So what’s stopping you? Visit these shops now!
Embracing Zero-Waste Fashion is Fun and Easy
With more and more groups and events calling for immediate action for the declining state of the environment, it’s time for us to take action even in our own personal way.
We can start anywhere and anyhow – with our food choices, our purchases, and our wardrobe makeovers.
And what’s great about this, is that embracing sustainability is now made accessible, fun, and simple!
This is a great starting point to reinvent your style and reclaim your power.
Ready for a meaningful journey? Let’s go and say yes to the clean, green, and ethical dress!