How Sustainable Fashion Can Be For Everyone

How Sustainable Fashion Can Be For Everyone

Make the move towards eco-friendly clothing.
125
views

Many people think that fair trade and organic clothes are too expensive for the average consumer. This is true for the most part; jeans made where workers are paid fair wages are going to be a lot more expensive than jeans made in sweat shops. People usually go for the cheaper price tag when given a choice. No one wants to drop several Benjamins on a pair of pants, but at the same time, no one wants to be supporting inhumane working conditions or poor environmental practices. It looks like shoppers are in a bit of a pickle.

But what if buying sustainable fashion was actually cheaper for the consumer in the long run?

Let’s use our favorite Hogwarts-student-turned-environmental-activist as a catalyst for discussion. Emma Watson made a huge statement at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) Gala by wearing a 100 percent sustainable and reusable gown. This interpretation of the theme – the fusion of fashion and technology – caught the attention of eco-fashion advocates everywhere. Watson shared with her fans how her gown had multiple pieces that can be worn separately or together for versatile looks. Although not everyone can afford a designer dress, the idea of being able to wear a nice outfit multiple times is very appealing to someone on a budget.

As it turns out, wearing your clothes out is great for the environment and for your wallet. Watson used the hashtag #30wears to emphasize how clothes should be worn again and again. The #30wears campaign challenges fast fashion – such as Forever 21 and H&M – by asking buyers to think about if everything they are buying can be worn at least 30 times. This makes the purchase worthwhile. No longer is sustainable fashion just for people who “can afford it," everyone can be a part of this movement by becoming more aware of how clothes affect the environment and the people who make it.

Now it’s time for the nitty-gritty.

Fast fashion allows the consumer to buy trendy clothes on demand for extremely cheap prices. Most people buy on impulse, especially when it comes to clothes. Items are bought because they are cute and cheap. At first glance, the fast fashion movement seems like a win for consumers. Unfortunately, although a $3 crop top is nice on your wallet, the cost of cheap apparel quickly adds up in more than one way. According to the Council for Textile Recycling, Americans generate 21 billion pounds of textile waste per year, throwing away 85 percent of the items they purchased. With an average annual shopping budget of $1,700, that amounts to $1,445 worth of clothing that needs to be replaced each year.

Advocates say that shopping ethically – even with a higher price tag – can actually be more budget friendly because well-made clothing has a lower cost per wear over time. Think about it this way: If a shirt at H&M cost $10 and is worn five times, the cost per wear is $2. But to the dismay of the consumer, the shirt wasn’t made very well, so after a few washes, it starts to fall apart. At this point, most people would throw the shirt away or donate it. Now, if a shirt cost $35 and is worn 30 times, the cost per wear is $1.17. This turns out to be a better deal because not only will you wear it more, but the shirt was probably made with better materials and in a safer working environment.

Most clothing is still made by hand, and the price is largely tied to the wages paid to produce it. Driven by pressure to resupply inventory for fast fashion brands, people working in apparel factories located overseas are often under a great deal of pressure. When factory workers are forced to churn out items quickly, it is reflected in the quality of the construction.

To maintain an environmentally and socially sustainable wardrobe, it is crucial to buy fewer items and focus on the quality. Products that are made with natural fabrics like cotton, wool or linen are better for the environment than synthetic material. Before you make a purchase, turn the product inside out and check to see if the seams are intact. This is a good way to tell how quickly the product was made. Bad seams usually mean it was made in a place with poor working conditions, so know where your clothes are coming from and try not to buy on impulse because of a low-price.

You don’t have to be Emma Watson or any other high-profile celebrity to afford a sustainable wardrobe. Being able to commit to making smarter and smaller purchases with your clothes will bring us one step closer to environmental and social harmony within the fashion world.


Cover Image Credit: http://janinejust.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Sustainable-Design-Classes-FIT.jpeg

Popular Right Now

I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

858780
views

Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

'Sissy, Why is That Boy Wearing Makeup?'

June is time to celebrate equality.

194
views

This past weekend, I went to the mall with my family. It was just a normal family excursion, and I wanted to walk into Sephora to show my mom a perfume I liked. We go inside, and my mother and I drift away from my dad and 6 year old sister, Sierra. I showed her the perfume I thought smelled amazing (Roses de Chloé) and we look for my sister and father to exit the store. As soon as we leave, my little sister grabs my hand and asks, "Sissy, why is that boy wearing makeup?"

This was the first time my little sister has ever asked about anything like this, and I wanted to make sure I gave her an answer. I turned to her and said, "Sierra, sometimes there are boys who wear makeup, and girls who may dress like boys. People are allowed to wear what they want, it doesn't matter." Sierra looks up at me, says, "Oh okay," and that was the end of it.

Sharing this experience to say, HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!

So thankful to live in a country where all sexual orientations get a day to celebrate their love. That's what this world needs more of-- love. It shouldn't matter who it is, where they are from, the color on their skin, or their gender identity.

When Sierra was born, I always wondered when this conversation would come up. I wondered what I would say, how she would react to it, and how she would be exposed to it. Like I consistently preach, everything happens for a reason, and I'm glad Sierra was able to get exposure and receive an immediate answer. Love is love, and I will forever stand by that.

Related Content

Facebook Comments