CCSWD Sustainable Fashio Blog Reducing

Make a Sustainable Fashion Statement

Guest Blogger

Over the past year, for many people, working from home led to a shift in their daily wardrobes, which may have changed the need for seasonal wardrobe updates. As we begin the new year, let’s talk about sustainable fashion. It’s a good time to rethink the way we consume and interact with fashion.

A recent article in the New York Times examined the flaw in the simplicity of rejecting fashion. Because we live in a society in which people wear clothing, fashion will always matter. Whether you like or dislike current trends, what you wear communicates something about who you are to other people. I’d like to offer a few ways that you can add “conscientious consumer” or “sustainable shopper” into that message your outfit communicates.

A Glut of Clothing

First, we need to acknowledge the sheer volume of clothing articles that already exist in the world and the amount of waste generated by textiles. An article from the Center for EcoTechnology states: “Textile and material waste makes up 9.5% of municipal solid waste generated in America every year.” By resisting the impulse to buy new, you can leverage your spending as a political tool to fight the current of consumerism.

Buy Secondhand

There has never been an easier time to find what you’re looking for while secondhand shopping. Thanks to websites like Poshmark, ThredUP, and The RealReal, and upscale resale shops like Avalon Exchange, you can refine your search by size, brand, color, or condition. Why pay $100 for a pair of shoes when you can find a pair that’s never been worn and offer $30 instead? By utilizing these websites, you can turn your shopping habit into a mini-circular economy of your own! Sell items you’re ready to replace, and use the income generated to update your wardrobe.

Choose Sustainable Brands

When you have no option but to purchase new, investigate and choose brands that support equitable and sustainable efforts. The website allows users to search the sustainability rating of clothing brands by evaluating treatment of people, animals and the planet so that they can make better choices.

In addition, you might consider how to lower your personal environmental impact by purchasing items meant to last a long time. For example, you can purchase socks just about anywhere, but some brands, like Darn Tough Socks, offer a lifetime warranty on each pair they make. Instead of feeding the capitalist machine to sell more, more, more, this approach creates a motivation for the brand to build a product of integrity that won’t wear out over time. The consumer spends more on a single pair of socks, but consumes fewer pairs, and in time will spend less money.

Building a more sustainable fashion wardrobe can be a long-term process. Know that each choice and intention to support sustainable fashion makes a difference on the industry, economy, and the planet. As you make changes to your wardrobe, close the recycling loop by donating pieces you no longer need. Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District lists many options for donating household goods. Sometimes clothing is worn beyond the point of being wearable to another person. The Solid Waste District provides information about textile donations, which can be used in different ways, such as at animal shelters. Thank you for contributing to a better planet for all!

About the Author

Leanne Hoppe is a teacher and writer pursuing a low-waste lifestyle. Her passion to learn more about everything having to do with waste led her to sign up for the Master Recycler program in 2019. Through the course, she met like-minded individuals who together learned about resources and shared tools for living a more environmentally-friendly life.