By this point we've all heard how important it is to buy eco-friendly products, and that includes fashion. But is it all just hype? Just another marketing gimmick employed by corporate America to try and get us to spend more dollars but feel less guilty about doing it? Many companies have been accused of greenwashing, and it's certainly true that buy buy buy is not the way to help our environment.
No matter what though, people will always want to dress in a way that makes them feel good about the way they look. We shouldn't have to compromise style in our quest to save the planet. Sure, we need to adjust our habits, but that doesn't mean that we'll all end up looking like a bunch of dirty hippies. Here's our list of the top 5 ways to really green up your wardrobe.
1. Buy Quality, Not Quantity
Remember the three R's of conservation: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Simply put, the best way to reduce your impact on the environment is to buy less stuff. Now, we're not advocating giving up all your worldly possessions or wearing only a hemp sack. But instead of buying every poorly made, cheap, trendy item, try investing in quality garments and timeless pieces that will last you for years to come. Steer clear of fast fashion and remember that quality, not quantity is the way to go. In the long run, your pocketbook and the environment will thank you.
2. Buy Vintage
One of the easiest ways to reuse when it comes to your wardrobe is to buy vintage. As a recent Earth Day-inspired episode of TLC's hit show What Not To Wear proved, buying vintage fashion doesn't mean you have to wear horribly outdated looks or ill-fitting garments. There are plenty of vintage pieces that can be mixed into a modern wardrobe for a great outfit. When possible, try it on before you buy, whether you're shopping at a thrift store, vintage shop or consignment boutique. If the fit isn't quite right, think about having it tailored. Don't forget to check eBay or Etsy for tons of great vintage finds online.
3. Buy Revamped
What to do with all of those vintage clothes that are totally out of style or covered with rips or stains? That's where talented seamstresses and artistic types come in. As we mentioned above, your local tailor can work wonders on updating fashions that are out of date or the wrong size. There are also many artists out there who specialize in deconstructing old styles and upcycling them into something totally new and one of a kind. Etsy.com is full of artists like this, and with their Alchemy feature you can even put in a request to commission an artist to revamp your old clothes into something you'll love. Find ready-to-wear recycled garments by searching for terms like recycled, reconstructed, upcycled, and trashion.
4. Buy Local
Maybe you've heard about the Eat Local movement, and the impact that buying locally grown produce can have on reducing energy consumption. Not only does buying local help the earth, it also helps keep money in your local economy, which is good news for everyone. The same holds true for non-food items as well, including fashion. Where to find locally-made clothing and accessories? Locally-owned boutiques are a great start, as are weekend art markets and festivals. To find designers near you online, do a quick Google search or try Etsy's Shop Local feature.
5. Buy Sustainable
Last but certainly not least, when you do decide to buy new, mass-manufactured products be a smart shopper and look at labels. Where and how were these products produced? What is this particular company's reputation for labor practices and sustainability in their production facilities and stores? Look for garments made from more sustainable fabrics such as bamboo, tencel, hemp, organic cotton & organic linen, and recycled polyesters such as EcoSpun.