It’s no secret that the environment continues to undergo harm; we are constantly putting our planet in jeopardy. Today the word “sustainability” is thrown around somewhat haphazardly. In regard to fashion, it is often misunderstood. Due to the huge impact of fashion brands and supply chains on the environment, it is incredibly important to understand what it really means to practice sustainable fashion.
1. Avoid Fast Fashion
Fast fashion is an industry that uses cheap materials to make clothes extremely fast. Common chains include H&M, Uniqlo, and Zara. Although tempting, fast fashion is harmful to both consumers and the environment. Pieces are not meant to last, which encourages us to keep buying more. In addition, negative environmental impacts include water pollution, toxic chemicals, and textile waste which can also be harmful to animals.
In addition to benefits such as finding unique and cheaper pieces, thrifting is a great way to support sustainable fashion.Thrifting reduces water footprints, uses fewer chemicals, and uses less energy. In addition, it is beneficial to consumers, because it poses the question: Do I truly need/want these items? How long will this last? Will this go out of style? Thus, they become more thoughtful consumers.
3. Buy Sustainable Materials
Much of the clothing we buy is made of cotton, which is not necessarily portrayed as being harmful. However, cotton is often made with an abundance of pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides that can make it extremely toxic for human beings. In addition, its huge water consumption has major effects on ecosystems all over the world. Instead, consider opting for eco-friendly materials such as hemp, linen, and Lyocell.
4. Donate, Repurpose, or Recycle
Supporting sustainable fashion does not just consist of making conscious decisions about buying. You also must consider how you treat the clothes you own. Once you’ve outgrown clothing or are simply not into it anymore, instead of just tossing it, consider recycling, donating, or repurposing. Textile recycling (i.e. clothing) makes a huge impact on the environment, namely in terms of waste. When we don’t toss our clothing, we reduce greenhouse gasses, save landfill space, and conserves energy; these are all important ways we can be helping the environment. An alternative to recycling is donating- this helps people in need; organizations include the Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and Project G.L.A.M. Finally, if you don’t want to part with your clothes, you can get creative and repurpose items into different DIY items, bags, or accessories.
5. Research Brands
Although in an ideal world our favorite brands would be completely transparent, this is not the case. However, by doing a little research, it is easy to discover whether companies are eco-friendly. Look into the materials used and the general missions of brands. Becoming more educated is one of the most important steps in fighting against anti-environmental practices; once you do this, you can start to educate those around you.
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