It’s Fashion Revolution Week and I thought I would share some info on how you can get involved in the movement. If you didn't already know, the fashion industry is 2nd leading most polluting industry next to oil and it's also one of the wealthiest grossing nearly 3000 trillion dollars.
Today, leading garment manufactures have gotten a lot shadier and better at covering up their secrets and trendy fashion has become so cheap it appears most people don’t seem to care why or how. Not only is it the workers who make this clothing that are affected by horrible working conditions and bare minimum wages but our shopping addiction also has a huge impact on our planet. The average American throws away approximately 80 pounds of used clothing per person per year. When you combine cheaply made clothing (fast fashion) and the insatiable desire to be "on trend," you end up with 15 million tons of used textile waste piling up per year. Mountains of waste!
So what can we do? I've outlined 6 conscious shopping habits you can start to incorporate into your lifestyle that will help lessen the impact fast fashion is having on the World.
Join The Revolution!
1. Boycott Fast Fashion
Stop buying from retailers and brands that manufacture their products in sweatshops. They sell cheaply made clothing, don't practice proper eco-friendly manufacturing, don't provide their employees safe working conditions and don't pay them even close to a living wage. To find our which retailers to boycott, you will need to do some research, so see number 4. The types of retailers I'm talking about here build their business model on volume, not quality.... and greed, lots of greedy greedy greed.
You can also take part in calling out fast fashion retails on social media by showing your labels using the hashtag #whomademyclothes. Some of the retailers I have literally no problem throwing under the bus are H&M, Zara, Forever 21, Brandy Melville, Walmart, Target... sadly, I could be here for a while.
2. Stop buying so much junk!
In our capitalist society we've been tricked into thinking that our happiness, fulfillment and success will be met after we get our hands on that next new thing. Advertising plays a huge role in this and somehow we’ve spun ourselves into a sticky web of stuff stuff and more stuff! The art of fashion is dying and consumerism is really what we're seeing now. So taking the time to plan your purchases and being conscious of what you truly need and don’t need will really eliminate unnecessary shopping. Simply put, make sure you absolutely love it before you buy it!
3. Buy used, handmade or vintage clothing
I admit, I use to be one of those people who very much disliked sifting through vintage racks. The idea of having to individually go through endless amounts of clothing to find one of two pieces used to be daunting task for me but I’ve had a serious change of heart I now LOVE IT. Check out your local stores vintage stores. Some notable shops I’ve been known to frequent in Los Angeles are Jet Rag, American Vintage and for consignments stores check out Crossroads Trading. You'd be surprised, even Goodwill and the Salvation Army can have killer finds!
If you don’t have a vintage or consignment store in your town, don’t fret, because we live World where the Internet exists! Shop online stores like Etsy for vintage and handmade as well as online consignment stores like Depop, Poshmark, thredUP, and Mercari. I’ve personally bought or sold on Etsy, thredUP, Mercari and Poshmark and have had great experiences thus far.
Do your research on clothing stores and designers who are committed to sustainability, fair-trade and ethical fashion. Prices are usually a little bit higher but the reality is it takes time, money and effort to produce quality pieces. We’re a bit delusional right now and the shift back into quality and ethical pieces may not feel so great financially. On the bright side, you know these are going to last. My rule is, try buy all trendy stuff handmade or second hand and splurge on piece that I know is going to stick around for a long time. Fashion Revolution has a great transparency index.
Alter your clothes or re-purpose them. A lot of the time, things are not worn because they are too big or need mending. Either learn to sew yourself or make friends with your local tailor and get them on board. Sewing and making clothing is my current obsession! Also, when you re-purpose or make your own clothes you can make certain that you won’t be outfit-twins with anyone.
6. Rent your riches
Jump on board with the sharing culture and rent a piece for your next holiday bash, red carpet event, or even wedding. There are loads of websites online that you can rent beautiful and expensive dresses, jewelry and shoes. All for a fraction of the pricing of buying. Rent the Runway, Bag Borrow or Steal and Stylelend are notable options. You'll save money, still look fabulous and avoid an over packed closet.
So, do your best to be a conscious consumer. Be active in knowing where your products are made and what the working conditions are. If you want to learn more check out an incredible documentary on Netflix called The True Cost and check out the Fashion Revolution website for more info. If we all make an effort to change the way we shop and view the world we can slowly start to reverse this evil cycle that really won’t relent unless WE make it.