As an environmentalist, I always feel a little guilty about buying fast fashion. Not only the synthetic fabrics which are essentially plastic and end up in the ocean by pilling off down the drain but the plastic hang tags and the plastic bags too. Of course, I can bring my own reusable tote and search for only cotton items but still. Each time I hit Forever21 I find super cheap, adorable items, some I’ll wear once or never wear at all. Sometimes though I find an item that I’ll wear over and over again. Those are my favorite items. In a time where I preach about reusable bottles and bags, why do I support disposable clothing?
I quietly stopped buying from Zara a few years ago and never really spoke about why. Well, I always thought they were a little cheap and rude for not working with influencers. Blair of Atlantic Pacific put them on the map in my opinion, always wearing Zara and making it look so expensive. The fact that I couldn’t link to their items within my affiliate network nor get reposted on their Instagram started making me selfishly resent them. I would buy there and find something similar to link to, sometimes not even noting the item was Zara at all in my petty attempt to snub them. But I didn’t give up shopping there altogether until I watched a youtube video that educated me on how terrible a company Zara really is. See below:
But Zara isn’t the only company that does this. Most fast fashion companies do this. Which is why I’m now committed to shopping smarter. Buying less, and being conscious when purchasing. I first heard about the #30wearschallenge on Instagram. I didn’t look too far into it as it sounds pretty self-explanatory. Are you going to wear it 30 times? Knowing you’d have to, is this something that is truly worth purchasing? Will it be in style in 30 wears time, will it last 30 washes?
A few weeks back I was at an event at the One Hotel in Miami, a hotel that is known for being green. The event was for 5 Gyres in collaboration with Everything But Water and Vitamin A Swimwear. The two fashion companies came together to create a collection which benefitted 5 Gyres. They hosted a beach cleanup and viewing of the new documentary JUNK RAFT by 5 Gyres founder Marcus Eriksen plus a Q+A session with Marcus. After the events, there was a pop-up shop of which 25% benefitted 5 Gyres. This dress was one of the items there. I immediately fell in love with it. It reminded me of Caro E on Instagram, she always wears floaty dresses like this and I wanted to find one too. There it was on the hanger with a steep price tag. I knew 25% of the sale would benefit a cause I was passionate about and I could link to it (Everything but water is part of the affiliate network I use) on top of that, it’s made in the USA so it was a win-win. Since purchasing it I’ve worn it about 11 times, I’ve included photos of a few instances here. My addiction to this dress got me thinking about the #30wearschallenge and about how much I want to love all my clothes like I love this dress.
How to start living and shopping more consciously:
So the first thing I did was get rid of a lot of stuff I haven’t worn. Stuff I don’t LOVE. Anything that isn’t my size, doesn’t fit my aesthetic, and/or I just don’t feel happy in. It was so liberating. I donated almost all to thrift stores but took some nicer pieces to consignment. Knowing I’m supporting charity with my donation (most went to a thrift store that benefits a local hospital) and that the clothes will go to someone who loves them made me feel great! Now my closet is full of things I love and that look good on me! I’ll wear them more, enjoy them more, and not feel guilty every time I look in my closet.
Speaking of thrifting, if you’ve followed me for a long time, you know I love to mix old and new, and high and low. Thrifting is one of the best things you can do for the environment. Fashion is the third most polluting industry. Unless you’re buying everything made locally there is a ton of waste and pollution associated with buying new clothes. Thrifting is an amazing, fun, and easy way to help reduce that impact.
Another thing I did was start buying more ethically produced fashion. It’s easy now that Reformation is available at Nordstrom. I want to be glam and give a damn! I’m never going to be dressed full hippie and I don’t think the “all or nothing” mentality is healthy when it comes to being eco-conscious. When you’re always thinking, “I could be doing more” you might run out of steam and lose sight of everything you are doing.
You’re doing amazing sweetie:
So, in conclusion, I personally think it’s okay to shop and buy new stuff, I love it, you love it, and it’s good for the economy. However, let’s buy with intention. Let’s avoid buying stuff we don’t love, won’t wear, and isn’t produced ethically. I know some eco-brands are out of budget for a lot of people, but that’s why it’s important to keep the 30 wears benchmark in mind. I think as long as your fast fashion doesn’t become disposable, and you get a lot of use out of it, its a little less bad.
Also, if you have to choose fast fashion, shop at places like Target, who gives back 5% to local communities or H&M who has a recycling program and offers 15% off your purchase when you recycle a bag of clothes! (This is perfect for the stained, ripped, or intimate stuff that you shouldn’t donate!) Ask if the store has an environmental commitment or goals they’re working toward to reduce their impact. I think if you have to choose, there are options that are less bad. I may be wrong, but those are my personal thoughts and logic on the matter.
Do you have an item you’ve worn 30 times or more, what is it?
Dress: Misa. Shoes: Target. Bag: Vintage Chanel.
Shades: Rayban. Hat: Love Rich.
Some Reformation stuff I want:
(I have the jeans and they’re amazing!)