I recently made an announcement that from now on I will only promote sustainable fashion on this blog but I came across a sticking point. I felt the need to explain the many ways which you can support sustainably in the fashion industry before I went ahead and started to share with you some of the wonderful sustainable brands and designers I’ve come across since I made that decision.
Being ‘Green’ has a stereotype attached to it, as most things do. In terms of style, it seems to form an unfashionable connotation within the minds of many. When eco-fashion first came about I imagine a lot of it was quite questionable in the style department. One thing to remember though is that idea’s and products grow and develop over time but stereotypes don’t, that’s why we should ditch them! Eco-Style has become incredibly stylish these days and I want to share that with you…I’m not claiming to be some sort of eco-angel, I am new to this and it is quite a challenge! It’s difficult to change the habits of a lifetime and for most it’s very hard to become completely sustainable overnight. But a collective change, no matter how small each individuals contribution may be, can help steer the fashion industry towards a better future by protecting our environment and it’s people. I was a bit bewildered when I first decided to make the decision to be more conscious when I shop, that’s why I wanted to put together these Sustainable Style Tips. Tips that I have started to use myself to help me shop more sustainably…
My Top 10 Sustainable Style Tips!
1. Second hand
Shop second-hand and you stop clothes going to landfill, there is no manufacturing involved leaving no carbon footprint though production and it’s usually pretty cheap to buy too, which is always a bonus!
2. Recycled Materials
Many brands, big and small, have started to use fabrics made from recycled materials, be they plastic bottles, fishing nets or un-wanted textiles. Keep an eye out for them, sometimes it isn’t always clear that they are recycled but these fabrics re-use waste which does not degrade. 3. Organic Fabric
The non-organic cotton industry is a huge source of global environmental pollution, using almost one-quarter of all the world’s insecticides and 10% of pesticides, these chemicals have devastating consequences on the environment, to our health and in particular the health of the workers making our clothes. The organic cotton industry uses natural ways to grow cotton and deter pests, without the use of nasties.
4. Locally Made
So many of our clothes are manufactured overseas, transporting them to our stores creates a huge carbon footprint. Shopping locally made cuts that footprint down considerably. With locally made clothes you can also be more certain that the people who made your clothes were treated fairly in the process.
Making your own clothes or buying handmade goods from elsewhere, completely cuts out the manufacturing process and therefore significantly reduces the carbon footprint. If you made your clothes at home they won’t need to be transported anywhere either, you can just pop them straight into your wardrobe!
6. Up – Cycling
Make something new out of something old, instead of throwing it away. Make do and mend culture has seen a rise in popularity in recent years, there are plenty of resources out there to help you turn an old piece of clothing into something new, be creative and have fun with it!
7. Quality not Quantity
Buy a quality item that will last instead of buying into fast fashion. We are made to believe that we always need new clothes to be stylish, but that’s not true. We don’t need to buy into every trend, a quality classic or quirky item can be stylish for more than one season and could last you your lifetime.
8. Ethical & Fair Trade
Support the fair treatment of the people who make your clothes. Factory standards have come into question following the devastating collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh, it can’t always be clear who has made your clothes and under what conditions. Try and buy into brands who follow fair trade guidelines or encourage the development of skilled and artisan craftsmen in developing countries.9. Socially Responsible
Being socially responsible means that people and organisations must behave ethically and with sensitivity toward social, cultural, economic and environmental issues. Is the company you are buying from being socially responsible? Some companies go out of their way to be activity socially responsible, support them!
10. Think Before you Buy
Fashion industry standards are loosely regulated and that makes it difficult for us to know what goes on in the process of making our clothes. What we choose to buy and how we wear it can encourage negative trends within the industry without us even knowing it. It can be mind-boggling to try to think sustainably, but just a quick think before you buy will help you to come to the right decision.
This list is not meant to be the be all and end all of sustainable style but now that I’ve shared it with you, I feel I can post about a new brand or designer who is doing great things for sustainable style without the need to explain the reasons why in such great detail. I hope this is also a useful resource for anyone looking for help on their way towards more conscious shopping!