Time to talk about fashion, and I mean have some REAL talk about fashion.
In the last 100 years, fashion has evolved tremendously. We’ve gone from sewing our own clothes at home to having large scale factories that mass produce and ship clothes worldwide. We have spectrums of fashion: street style, casual clothes, business clothes, and high end fashion. It’s become more than what we wear, but how we express ourselves.
What we’ve created is fashion as a form of art, which is a beautiful thing. But what we haven’t created is a sustainable model for this kind of clothing production. Many are uninformed of just how much the fashion industry pollutes. Making just one t-shirt requires upwards of 500 gallons of water to produce. Take just a minute to think about your closet, and just how much water went into making what’s in there.
The real trouble hardly lies with the resources we put into clothing, but the fact that landfills are becoming laundry baskets. We’re seeing clothes that have only been worn for 2-5 years being thrown out, when they could be recycled.
We can reduce our carbon footprint and do what’s known as closing the circle by recycling and reusing our clothes. Here are some tips for the next time you’re decluttering your closet or looking for an outfit for a night out.
1. Donate your clothes! Especially ones that have a little more wear on them. You can take them to Goodwill, Salvation Army, Savers, or look for clothing drop boxes around your town. I can tell you that dropping off a bag of old clothes is a really cathartic experience.
2. Make a bag of hand-me-downs! I lived off of hand-me-downs all through middle school and high school. If you have younger family members offer your old clothes to them. You’ll be surprised how eager they’ll be to sport your style!
3. Host a clothing swap! This is a win-win because you get to get rid of some of your old clothes and snag a few things for yourself too. Also it’s a great excuse to get the gang together!
4. Sell your clothes! If you have items in better shape, try to make some money off of them. I’ve had a lot of success using the app poshmark, but creating closets on instagram has been successful for people as well. Another option is Plato’s Closet, which requires you going into one of their locations. You can also keep an eye out for consignment shops in your area, a much more old school option but I’ve had some success with it.
5. Thrift, thrift, thrift! You’ll be surprised at what you can find. Plato’s closet is a great place to shop for recent trend clothing and shoes. Goodwill and Salvation Army can have some good finds too.
I’m not suggesting that you never buy new clothes again. Instead, I’m hoping that you will be a more conscious fashionista in the future. There are so many ways to do our part in preserving our planet, and this is one that people often forget or don’t know about. The next time you go shopping, at the very least, I hope you’re feeling informed.