Sustainable fashion is on the rise and there is a shift in brands offering more eco-friendly and ethical goods. But what exactly does it mean to be a sustainable or conscious shopper?
Oftentimes, people assume that clothing or accessories deemed sustainable are not chic or trendy. In fact, it is extremely easy to stay fashionable and sustainable, too. I believe that being a sustainable shopper is about bringing more awareness to the present moment before making decisions surrounding what we buy. Stop and question how the company is operating in terms of social and environmental responsibility, and take the time to analyse your purchasing decision from a place of consciousness instead of impulse.
Author: Cassandra Ciarallo
Here are some simple guidelines to help reduce your fashion footprint:
Read your labels. By reading the label you can find out what country your clothes are made in and what material it is made out of. Did you know the average worker abroad makes .03 cents for every $10 t-shirt we buy? Unfortunately, there is a huge amount of human exploitation to make the items we wear, so ensure you are supporting companies that are FairTrade!
The material used also has a big impact on our environment. Choose fibers that are natural over synthetic: cotton, linen, silk, hemp, modal (beech tree pulp), tencel (tree pulp), rayon (if specified from bamboo or tree pulp) or wool. Any product made from recycled materials is also a great choice!
Buy less: Ask yourself: Do I really need this new thing? Instead of buying new, get creative with your closet by reusing old pieces in a new way, accessorising or repurpose an old piece into something totally new! One of my favourite quotes by Vivienne Westwood is: “Buy less, choose well, make it last”.
Shop second-hand: A fun way to spice up your closet is to visit your local thrift store for vintage clothing or swap clothes with your friends. It’s a great way to find some unique pieces and feel good about having a low environmental footprint.
Do your research: Google “brand name + sustainability/responsibility” or use http://projectjust.com/ to find out how the company is operating in terms of social and environmental responsibility. Once you know, then you can decide if you want to shop there!
Ask questions and demand transparency! I truly believe it is up to each and every one of us as consumers to make a difference. Ask as many questions as you can to help you decide if you are ready to support that brand. Ensure that the company is being transparent with how they run and what their impact is to the planet and the people. I like to think of it like we are casting a vote with each dollar we spend, so make sure you are doing so wisely!
Use these easy tips to reduce your fashion footprint and be a more conscious shopper! For more updates on how to live a more mindful life and be part of this global fashion movement join my Facebook group here.
Cassandra Ciarallo is the founder & designer of Chic Made Consciously, a social enterprise dedicated to social and environmental responsibility through fashion. Her line of handmade accessories are fair trade & upcycled from tire inner tubes. Visit her collection here at: http://chicmadeconsciously.com/