Spring trends

Sustainability Is The Hottest Spring Trend

What companies are creating the newest and best trends in fashion.


Did you read my last article, Spring's Ride or Die Styles? To sum it up, spring 2019 trends consist of animal print, cowboy chic, and the continuation of neon. However, one trend I failed to mention was the sustainability phenomenon that's sweeping the nation — and the world.

Recently, more and more people, companies, and brands are realizing that we are, for lack of better words, in deep sh*t here. The only planet we have is slowly dying, taking animals, greenery, and possibly even us with it. Since its invention in the 1950s, there has been roughly 8.3 billion tons of plastic produced. With plastic taking about 1,000 years to decompose, that means that every. single. piece. of plastic ever created is still on this planet. Only 9% of that plastic has been recycled, 12% burned, and the rest (79%) has landed up in landfills or in our environment.

That is CRAZY.

What's even crazier is that 150 million metric tons of that plastic is currently floating around in our oceans. There is so much plastic in the ocean, that a giant patch of plastic has formed in the Pacific Ocean, gaining the name: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This "patch" really isn't a patch at all. In fact, this garbage heap is 600,000 square miles and is estimated to be two times the size of Texas.

This issue of climate change and the way that plastic and consumerism is harming the country is of utmost importance. So much so, that our dear friend and favorite science teacher, Bill Nye the Science Guy, had to make an appearance on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. During this debut, Bill had some explicit things to say about climate change and his opinion on how to correct our mistakes.

Plastic isn't the only thing harming our Earth. CO2 emissions are seriously affecting our atmosphere.

Although some people don't even think about it, the fashion industry, specifically the fast fashion industry, is one of the biggest contributors to carbon dioxide emissions. In 2016, 8% of the carbon dioxide pollution was due to the apparel and footwear industries.

So what are companies, fashion, and commercial, going to do about it and how?

Well, I'm sure most of your local Starbucks now offer those lids that don't require straws. This is a step in the right direction, however, it's almost laughable how many straws I still see in those cups! Other companies like Amazon and eco-friendly coffee shops sell metal reusable straws, which again, is a great step. However, plastic straws only make up about 4% of the plastic pollution on our planet – so cute metal straws won't really save us.

What will save us is innovation and dedication. And that's what these following companies are currently achieving.

First up is Adidas. The infamous sports- and athleisurewear company has teamed up with Willow Smith to promote their first 100% recycled and recyclable shoe. The Futurecraft.Loop sneaker is Adidas' newest sustainable project, with inspiration stemming from their first sustainable shoe, Parley, named after project partner, Parley for the Oceans. The Adidas X Parley shoe consists of a fully recycled upper part made from recycled plastic that has been yarn spun. As for the Futurecraft.Loop sneaker, its release date is estimated for Spring/Summer 2021. This shoe will be entirely made of recycled plastics from the ocean, as well as be completely recycled – again. That's right; the finished product will also be completely recyclable with the opportunity to be made into more shoes.

Up next is Vans. This company, in its conception, was geared towards the youth of skating America. Now, after over 50 years of making shoes, the Vans style is iconic and for just about anyone. Geared towards tweens and mid-20-year-olds, Vans has a youthful consumer demographic. Being so, this company sees the problems that are sure to come to our future youth. Their first step was creating their Green Sole project. This project focuses on reducing waste at their new headquarters in Costa Mesa, California, and implementing more LEED Platinum certified buildings around the U.S.

Even though the company is trying to reform its headquarters and other operational buildings, these locations only make up for 10% of their total environmental impact. The other 90% comes from the production of their products. This prompted Vans to change the way that they create their products.

Since 2014, Vans has been sourcing from Better Cotton Initiative: an organization that improves the cotton and livelihoods of the people and countries that cotton is produced in. By 2025, Vans hopes to source 100% sustainable cotton, increasing from the current 48%.

In addition to these initiatives, just like Adidas, Vans is starting to create recycled shoes. Their P.E.T Authentic shoes are their iconic low top style Vans that contain 100% recycled lining, metal eyelets, and rubber waffle outsoles.

If you're still buying Hollister or American Eagle jeans, STOP. Instead, turn to Levi's. Did you know that to create a single pair of jeans it takes over 2,000 gallons of water from growing the cotton to dyeing the fabric? That's why Levi's decided to come out with its Water<Less™ denim line. This line of jeans uses 96% less water than regular jeans and they're about the same price as their normal jeans.

So, instead of buying from those fast-fashion websites that are rarely ever free trade certified (signifying that working conditions and the making of the garments is ethical) or even sustainable in any way, buy from one of these sites, or the many more that are eco-friendly or sustainable. It's not only important but crucial for the future of our planet.

Hopefully, this new trend will catch on and companies will compete to see who is the greenest company rather than fighting to see who has the cutest midi skirts this season.

Popular Right Now

Are Plastic Straws Really Killing Sea Turtles?

It's no secret that plastic isn't great for the environment, but how sensationalized is this topic actually becoming?


When I first saw a video of a sea turtle getting a plastic drinking straw removed from its nostril, I was obviously upset like any other viewer would be. I care a lot about the environment and about animal life and it was upsetting to see that a product of human consumption and ignorant waste was destroying precious parts of our world. I wholeheartedly jumped on the bandwagon of "plastic straws kill sea turtles!!!" but only knew about the issue from this video and what I heard from people or saw on social media. The whole topic of plastic waste into the ocean remained in the back of my mind until the recent pledge of Starbucks to stop using plastic straws in stores by 2020 reminded me of the issue.

As the topic of plastics and their pollution of the environment (largely the oceans) has become so recently powerful I decided to do some research of my own. If I was going to tell people to stop using plastic straws because they were killing sea turtles, I wanted to be sure that I wasn't just repeating everything I heard from social media.

Turns out, plastic straws are hurting sea turtles and other marine life, but a lot of what I thought about plastic waste was exaggerated (at least from what I had heard from others). Sea birds are the most impacted creature by plastic straws, not sea turtles. About 1 million or more seabirds die every year from ingesting plastic straws and choking on them. In research from recent scientific studies, 80-90% of seabirds have some kind of plastic inside of their stomachs. Also, the ecological footprint that plastic straws alone leave on the planet is actually pretty small compared to food waste or fossil fuels.

However, all the buzz about sea turtles may come from the fact that globally 86% of sea turtle species are known to be affected by plastic debris. Overwhelming amounts of plastic garbage in the ocean have caused a steady decline of the leatherback sea turtle over the past several years, so much that they have been placed on the endangered species list. Plastics can hinder eating and consumption, breathing abilities, and even reproductive capabilities of all kinds of sea turtles.

So while plastic straws may not be killing sea turtles in hordes, they are killing sea birds, and plastic overall have caused huge and deadly effects to many sealife species. We have known that plastic is bad for the environment and the oceans for quite a while, given the fact that the Great Garbage Patch was discovered almost 20 years ago, so it's more than time to start caring about the problem. If we can eliminate single-use plastic straws that aren't biodegradable, we can stop using other single-use plastics and make a better effort to reduce our harmful impacts on the oceans. Individually, we can move towards small changes, which can move our society to a more sustainable and healthy place. If you are more interested in this topic, I would suggest reading about how you can make a change or looking at this article and checking out this scientific journal.

Cover Image Credit:

Vinicius Amano


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The Flint Water Crisis Is Affecting More People Than We Know, Including The Unborn

Flint is not the only city with water pipes contaminated with lead. At 40 weeks pregnant, I have to worry about the lead in my home’s water.


Many Americans are familiar with the atrocities in Flint, Michigan. Flint received nationwide coverage when it was revealed that residents were being restricted access to clean water and were exposed to water contaminated with lead for many years. After the state discovered the lead, the residents were left with the contaminated water and still have it years later.

I have watched many documentaries on Flint like "Here's to Flint" and "Fahrenheit 11/9." The scenes from the documentaries are haunting and much resemble a war-torn, third world country. I was especially surprised when I received a letter in the mail from Chicago's Department of Water Management. The letter looked like nothing special and had been placed in a pile of junk mail that none of my roommate's wanted to read. I eventually went through the mail and was shocked at what I read. The letter casually says that my home uses a water meter and water meters activate lead in pipes.

It continued to say that most homes in Chicago test under the U.S. EPA's benchmark level for lead in drinking, however, 17.2% percent exceed it.

As a pregnant woman, this is horrifying news. I had been pregnant for months drinking and cooking with contaminated water before reading this letter. Drinking water contaminated with lead has long term effects for the whole family. For example, it affects the brain and nervous system development in children and increases the risks of things like kidney damage and high blood pressure in adults. The CDC itself says that there is no known safe level of lead in a child's blood.

I especially remember a scene in "Fahrenheit 11/9" where they talk about the effects lead has on the babies born to pregnant women who consumed it. It can cause miscarriages and stillbirths. There are pregnancy complications like low birth weight, premature delivery, preeclampsia.

Babies whose mother consumed lead water have been reported to have behavioral problems, lower IQs, and learning disabilities.

My own home soon resembled that of a developing country. I had stacks and stacks of water bottles. I have to use these bottles for everything. Just like residents of Flint, I have to brush my teeth with water bottles. I have to go through about five water bottles to boil water to cook. If I am out of water bottles, I just have to wait it out because the alternative is not worth it.

Having to worry about lead in the water is very stressful. Along with all the other stresses of pregnancy, I have to stress about accidentally poisoning my baby. I know that I have to take precautions in my own home, but am unsure where else is contaminated. I don't know where is safe. I don't know who else received the same letter I did, but ignored it as junk mail.

I recently had a house guest stay from another state. He asked why our water had an odd smell. I had to casually tell him not to mind that, it's just the lead in our water. I find it very disheartening that the city, state, and country don't prioritize the health and safety of its pregnant women, babies, or children. It is sincerely unfortunate how things like access to clean drinking water in America are just a luxury.

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