Few industries tout their sustainability credentials more in-your-face than the fashion industry. Sadly despite even the best of intentions, the industry — and we as shoppers — have continued to fail our planet. It’s not as if sustainability isn’t on the agenda for fashion brands, but the complicated ecosystem that drives the industry is often reacting to us. The consumers. And our seemingly endless demands for more fashion — faster, fresher, cheaper.
The sad, even alarming, truth is that even with claims of “green innovation,” the fashion industry has continued to fail to lessen its planetary impact. Take for example the production of shirts and shoes, which has more than doubled in the last 25 years. Shockingly, three quarters of these products end up burned or buried in landfills! But before you panic or throw your hands up in despair, there are some simple steps we can all take to be more conscious shoppers.
- Try to adhere to a 30+ “wears” test. This means make sure you’d wear a piece at least 30 times before you purchase it.
- Start investing in trans-seasonal clothes whenever possible. More wear means less wear-and-tear on our planet.
- Go the extra mile to make sure the clothes you own can go the distance — from de-pilling your cashmeres with a sweater shaver to washing your denim inside out with a splash of white vinegar. And always, choose quality over quantity.
- Resell or donate unwanted clothes. It’s fun to walk out with instant cash from Crossroads Trading and Buffalo Exchange (both have stores across the country and even offer sell-by-mail), as well as “paying it forward” with donations to our favorite thrift store up in the Adirondacks. Plus, its proceeds benefit five local charities.
- Evolve your sense of “newness.” This dress is from a consignment store in Delray Beach, and this vintage bag is from a NYC non-profit dedicated to fighting AIDS and homelessness.
Speaking of sustainable, I love the checkerboard plywood wall in the cute coffee shop where we shot this post. Consisting of three or more thin sheets, plywood is one of the most environmentally friendly construction materials. One tree provides more material when prepared for plywood than solid wood, and it’s also biodegradable. I’m going to save this design idea for a future project!
If you have any additional sustainability tips, I’d love for you to share them.
Dress: (Lilly Pulitzer @secondtimearound.consignment) Lots of Lilly on sale at ThredUp, too (35% off and free shipping on your first order with code WELCOME).