I’ve spoken about my quest towards more ethical buying and sustainable fashion before…
It’s a journey for me. I’m far from perfect– I’ve always loved shopping. Still, the more that I learn about the garment industry and the working conditions of the laborers who make most of America’s clothing, I feel sick for contributing to the cycle of waste and terrible working conditions. Disposable clothing is not an option for me.
You have to pay for quality. A ten dollar shirt isn’t worth the money that you spend if it falls apart with a few washes. I found out that on average the garment maker receives exactly three cents on that ten dollar shirt. Buying on a whim is wasteful and even donating your used clothing does not guarantee that it goes to a better place. The average American throws away 82 pounds of clothing per year. Our “donations” wreck third world economy clothing manufacturing and most of it ends up as waste.
If you love to shop, you know that “seasonal clothing” is a thing of the past. In fast fashion, new styles and trends arrive weekly. The constant stimulus of advertising and societal trends–like the media frenzy of fashionistas on Instagram can make you feel like you never have the right wardrobe and always leaves you wanting more.
I want to buy things that last…and wear them for as long as possible.
Click here for a resource article on 35 ethical clothing brands. In addition to purchasing sustainable new clothing–don’t forget vintage and second hand options. These items from high end labels have endured the test of time and are often much less expensive. Even better, their resale value holds up if you choose to pass it on to someone else.
I am also a big fan of Rent the Runway for all occasion dresses. Life as a stay at home mom means that I don’t often need a cocktail dress or formal attire. I love renting a gown and returning it without purchasing something that will rarely be worn. RTR has also expanded to a monthly rental program that allows you to refresh your wardrobe without purchasing new items. It’s a greener alternative to shopping!This is a big lifestyle shift — but it’s worthwhile. I would rather buy less and pay more for an item that is transparent about costs and treatment of their workers. It has curtailed a lot of impulse buying and made me mindful of the items that I add to my wardrobe. I have to think about whether or not I need something…what the quality is worth to me…and whether or not I feel good about the purchase.