Style & Eco-Friendly Shopping: A Perfect Fashion Pair
Fashion was always meant to be fun. To allow each individual to express themselves. Personal style encompasses our feelings, desires, and the energy we want to put out into the world. For those that call themselves the trendsetters or style icons among their family and friends, putting together an outfit for the day isn't simply choosing clothes, shoes, and accessories that go together. Piecing together an ensemble is an art form and a unique expression for that day or event.
That being said, fashion is meant to be an everlasting impression, It does not need to be fast. Unfortunately, the rise of “fast fashion” has had detrimental effects on our planet's well-being, with literal deserts of clothes dumped yearly. Discarded after barely worn, if even worn at all. These decompose at an alarmingly slow rate, if they decompose, all dependent on the fabric that they are made from. All of these sadly discarded pieces of clothing continue to seep toxins into the soil and water supply, contributing to global warming and harming human health. It is not a pretty picture, but is one we can change with our personal preferences when shopping.
Luckily, everyone can make a simple shift that creates a positive ripple pushing against this trend of fast fashion. For many, shopping consignment and vintage can decrease their carbon footprint much more than many imagine. The other major shift is to buy new pieces that are quality and will last a lifetime in your closet. Some call this building your basics. For others, it is creating a capsule of clothing. These items are produced sustainably and ethically using renewable or recycled materials. Let's talk a bit more about fast fashion and how investing in sustainable pieces from clothing collections that focus on a holistic approach to style can not only help the environment but help you build a stunning wardrobe.
What exactly is "fast fashion"?
We all likely have some garments in our closets or dresser drawers that constitute "fast fashion." Fast fashion is defined as inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends. These most likely were purchased online or at a local shopping center. Why do we all have these in our closets? Well, they are usually cheap, easy to find, and meet our needs when looking for something in the spur of the moment.
Sometimes you need that perfect little silky cami for under a blazer, a chic t-shirt dress to throw on with sneakers for a food festival, or a high-waisted pair of trousers for your important work meeting on Monday. It's easy not to think about where all that mass-produced clothing comes from or where it goes when it isn't sold. Where it ends up isn't where you may think it does. For much of fast fashion, it ends up with the other 39,000 tons of unsold and unwanted clothing items in the Atacama Desert of Chile. Do a quick Google search. You'll be surprised at the images that pop up.
Many people don't know that clothing production is the second-highest polluting industry worldwide after big oil. It accounts for 10 percent of the carbon emissions for our planet. That is more than the aviation and shipping industries combined. This isn't the companies creating high-quality, sustainable pieces like Boudicca’s eco-friendly fashions that are racking up these emissions. This is the fast fashion industry, and the stores with globally recognized names creating the waste. With commercials and Instagram taglines that make them seem environmentally friendly, it is easy to be sucked into their greenwashing, but in reality, 35% of their materials will end up in a landfill. Not very "green" at all.
Enough to make you ready to compile a closet full of beautiful pieces that will last for years to come in your wardrobe and are kind to the planet? I thought so.
Sustainable is Sexy
Something feels different when you slip on a well-crafted item made with care and attention to detail and in a fabric that feels like quality. You walk a little taller, feel more put together, and feel so much better dressed. That's because you are. You aren't throwing on something likely to shrink after one wash, whose stitching is expected to pull even when handled with care or dry cleaned, and of course those fun dresses or shirts where a pattern is just slightly off enough to make it obvious it isn't well made.
When looking for sustainable and eco-friendly clothing lines, your first thought should be to look at where they are manufactured. Fast fashion is notorious for manufacturing in China, India, and similar countries where costs are lower to obtain fabrics, labor laws are poor or nonexistent, and there are large shipping hubs. Beware of large clothing retailers who greenwash their manufacturing procedures, talking about going green and cutting their carbon footprint. This is usually a very carefully orchestrated public relations campaign. It is a lot of fluff with very little substance behind it.
Premium brands, like Boudicca, who have all their clothing manufactured in Italy, will put sustainability and quality over saving a bit here and there - to the best of our ability, without sacrificing functionality. They know their customers expect and deserve the best. They use premium fabrics and thoughtful design silhouettes that don't last one season but a lifetime. Consumers are no longer happy to blindly make purchases, not knowing how they will affect the world around them. They need to invest in staples that will stay in rotation in their wardrobe for years.
We all know this to be true with the quintessential “little black dress.” The hair, makeup, jewellery, and shoes may change, but the iconic dress remains. Just think of that perfect Givenchy worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's. It is as stunning and stylistically relevant today as it was in 1961. That's what the fashion-savvy consumer wants, a sense of timelessness.
Doing Good, While Looking Good
Building a closet full of those timeless pieces made sustainably, eco-friendly, and of quality materials will have you feeling amazing each time you walk out the door. Not only because your outfits will be well-crafted and thoughtfully designed, but because your buying habit of avoiding fast fashion is making a positive impact on our planet, both for those of us now and those in the future. Because sustainable fashion is planet-saving fashion. One of the most significant discussions right now is that of circular fashion. Never heard of it? You're not alone. It is an idea catching on but hasn't entirely made it to the mainstream for most people.
Circular fashion is a term that was introduced by Dr. Anna Brismar, the head of the Swedish consultancy firm Green Strategy. It is defined as clothing, shoes, and accessories designed, sourced, and produced to be used and circulated effectively and responsibly in our society, keeping them in their most valuable form for as long as possible. After their lifetime of use has ended, they are returned safely to the biosphere.
It is a pretty simple thought, but still a reasonably revolutionary one in a world of fashion where clothing is made so poorly it is barely worn before being discarded. The circular fashion value chain begins with raw material sourcing, then proceeds to design, production, distribution, consumption, and finally, recycling. The chains aim to reduce the environmental impact that the industry has, including using recycled waste to produce fabrics, initiating clothing take-back programs, and other textile recycling innovations. This means the longer you keep a piece of clothing in your closet rotation, the more good you are doing for the environment. Just think of all the pieces of clothing passed down through generations as heirlooms. They are the pinnacle of circular fashion.
The results of adopting sustainable buying habits, such as frequenting shops and online retailers that focus on being green, can, year after year, make a significant impact on the environment and humans. This is because many companies focused on sustainable and ethical business practices will be transparent about the manufacturing of their garments. This means you can feel assured that child labor and unfair labor practices are not taking place. You can even do your due diligence and do a little research before purchasing from a retailer.
You can check that a company is part of the Fair Wear Foundation, Fair Trade Certified, Ethical Trading Initiative, or is a Certified B Corporation. These organizations were created to protect garment workers' rights in global supply chains and ensure that no child labor occurs. They also make sure that workers are paid fairly for their work and work in safe conditions. It's nice knowing that the dress or blouse you slip on was made by someone being paid a fair wage and can support their family.
Having impeccable style and a beautifully curated capsule closet full of pieces in constant rotation, all while shopping sustainably with eco-friendly fashion in mind, is entirely possible. It just may take a little bit of getting used to. It's easy to flock to the flood of emails in your inbox that offer huge sales on fast fashion from giant global clothing stores. When they do, think back to all the waste these companies cause, all in the name of low prices and the same shirt you'll see on several people everywhere you go. Who wants to blend in that way when you can stand out?
Take some time to look into all the fantastic brands, like Boudicca that are becoming more available, especially in the online marketplace. They are committed to quality manufacturing, luxury fabrics, and helping you look like your best self in silhouettes that will stand the test of time, just like their pieces.
We've all heard that we are what we eat, but how about we adopt that we are what we wear? So let's not be fast and cheap. Happy shopping!
ReferencesIs Fashion Bad For The Environment?