Long before I knew about reducing my own carbon footprint beyond turning off the water while brushing my teeth or switching off the lights when I wasn’t in the room, I was already dressing myself in sustainable clothes without even realizing it. Through my middle school and high school years (and today!) I loved visiting Goodwill, the D.A.V. and thrift stores to find unique clothes.
The idea of reusing an old fashion in a new way always appealed to me. Plus I always love a good bargain! Not only does buying others’ unwanted clothes create a personal wardrobe unlike any other, but it exemplifies living a sustainable lifestyle. And that’s just one of the reasons you’ll see listed here about why sustainable fashion matters.
Green your wardrobe for a healthier planet and a more personalized style. Photo By kthread/Courtesy Flickr
1) It’s environmentally-friendly
To get that perfect outfit onto the racks, the fashion industry creates a huge carbon footprint. The energy, toxic dyes and pesticides used to produce the clothes plus the landfill waste after they get tossed all have a negative impact on the environment.
Choosing sustainable fabrics is an important first step to creating an eco-chic wardrobe. Twenty-five percent of all pesticides in the U.S. are applied to conventional cotton. But certified-organic cotton requires that no pesticides or chemicals be used to grow the plant. Choosing green fabrics such as those made from hemp and bamboo is also an eco-friendly choice. Both hemp and bamboo are renewable resources because they grow so quickly. They also are resistant to weeds and pests, which allows them to grow well chemical-free.
2) It’s people-friendly
Buying sustainable clothing also contributes to making sure the workers creating the clothing are treated fairly with safe working conditions and reasonable wages. Although clothing doesn’t have Fair Trade certification yet, you can check to see if the company you’re purchasing clothes from is a member of the Fair Trade Federation.
3) It’s animal-friendly
Even though that cute pair of leather boots may be tempting, cruelty-free clothing makes a better statement. Cruelty-free clothing means wearing no leather or fur, and for some, no wool or silk. This “vegan” clothing may seem difficult to find, but there are options out there. Jade Planet sells vegan accessories including leather-like purses and bags made from rubber-tree sap and The Vegan Store offers winter wear, shoes and belts. Feel better about what you’re wearing when you pull on cruelty-free clothes.
4) It’s local
Carry that “go local” methodology you use for shopping for food over into your clothes. Search for local designers or boutiques to minimize the impact of buying clothes that get shipped all over the country.
5) It gives you a unique, personal style
Make your own eco-fashion statement with vintage clothes. Great thrift store or Goodwill finds create a personal and sustainable wardrobe. Or if you’re a savvy sewer, break out the sewing machine and repurpose old clothes into new fashions.
How do you make your wardrobe eco-friendly? Tell me about it in the comments section.