I remember how disappointed I was to learn that some of the well-known fashion houses made it a practice to burn unsold merchandise rather than sell it at a discounted price. And really even if they claim that burning clothing is done in an eco-friendly way (and yes, some luxury brands have said they literally help to power cities), the problem is that so much was produced in the first place.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where fast fashion has become the expectation; the norm because of our insatiable appetite to have more, more, more. Why not have fewer, better things – choosing quality over quantity? Clothing and accessories that are well-made, beautiful, and last?
Sustainable fashion comes in many different forms and levels of commitment, from the producers to the consumers. And by caring about what you’re wearing, you send a signal to the fashion industry that it’s time to make some changes.
Here are 5 ways to practice sustainable fashion:
1) Understand the company you’re buying from – what are their practices and values? Do they promulgate fast fashion? More importantly, can you walk away from a purchase that may not align with your own values? Even if it’s THE cutest dress?
2) Who makes the clothes? Often times where it’s made is a huge indicator of the labor laws (or lack thereof) and conditions for garment workers. Typically, companies that know they pay workers fairly advertise this. Sadly, many don’t choose not to know the conditions in which their clothing is made, only that their orders will be filled in time.
3) Be selective with what goes in your closet. Not saying to go completely minimalist or Marie Kondo on your wardrobe, but make choices to buy quality, versatile, and functional pieces that might actually last more than one season. Even just extending the life of one piece of clothing by 3 months can reduce its carbon and water footprint by 5-10% (and this = good)!
4) Don’t assume that everything you throw in the bag for Goodwill will be re-homed with someone who “needs” it. Only about 15% of clothing is recycled, and the rest goes to landfills. A better practice is to donate clothing to places that have an immediate use for it, such as a women’s shelter or organizations with specific needs like Dress for Success. Or better yet, see #3 above.
5) Learn about the textiles and what goes into producing the material that you dress yourself in. This isn’t an easy one, and believe me, it’s quite eye-opening to find out how some of our most common fabrics are made. And it can be very hard to avoid wearing clothing made from certain materials that you deem as lacking ecological integrity. But knowledge is the first step in making better decisions that impact our environment.
Fortunately, there’s an increasing number of designers and artisans who are legitimately committed to using the most eco-friendly fabrics and production methods, and also ensuring those who make our clothes are treated fairly. Ginger Threads Collections is excited to keep searching for and bringing you clothing and accessories that help us celebrate Earth Day, Every Day!