Nine reasons to love sustainable fashion

We’ve heard a lot lately about how there’s really no more denying our actions are affecting the environment in a pretty major and terrifying way. And the textile industry (read: fashion) is the third biggest polluter in the world. Changing the way we shop is a small but effective way to reverse the icky side effects of clothing manufacturing around the world, so here are some tips for building (and maintaining) a more sustainable wardrobe!

1. It’s people-friendly. Remember that garment factory that collapsed in April 2013? Well, more than 1,000 people died and more than 2,000 were injured. A lot of brands still outsource to those overseas factories because it’s so much cheaper than domestic manufacturing, despite the human toll. Buying fair trade is always the way to go.

2. It’s animal-friendly. This is probably one of the best arguments out there for going green! Pony hair is not chic, and angora is not luxe. It’s just sad, especially when there are some great alternatives out there!

Angora bunnyPETA also makes a good point here- we can’t live sustainably if we’re living off animals because of all the resources they consume while we’re raising them for slaughter.

3. It’s environmentally friendly. In China, they say that if you want to know what colors will be in-season, just look at the rivers.

riversAnd that’s just the chemicals and dyes that go into making new clothes, not even the waste caused by the discarded leftovers. Another major environmental effect of fashion is water consumption, especially for cotton. Cotton production requires the most water of any other textile, and accounts for more than 40% of textile use in fashion.

4. It’s budget friendly. I know from enough of my friends that it’s not everyone’s first choice to pick through stuff at a thrift store or consignment shop, but hear me out! I’ve found some pretty great secondhand stuff in my time, a la Christian Louboutin, Chanel, Diane von Furstenburg, and sooo much J. Crew. See? Being eco doesn’t mean being a sartorially challenged hippie. And the most eco-friendly item is the one that already exists!

5. It’s easy. One of my coworkers used to say- if you want people to do something, you have to make is easy for them. And eco-fashion is pretty easy! There’s plenty secondhand beauties to go around, and there are also a TON of ecommerce sites and eco-conscious retailers now (like Zady and Modavanti).

6. It’s better quality. Fast fashion is cheap, and wears like it too. That dress you bought from Forever 21? Better wash it NEVER or watch it disintegrate in the process! But when you’re talking fair trade, the products are made by skilled workers who aren’t rushing to complete x amount of t-shirts in an hour. And of course it feels better that they’re treated and compensated fairly.

7. It’s healthier! No endocrine-disrupting dyes here! No carcinogenic chemicals! Most eco-conscious brands use just straight up vegetable dye.

8. It’s unique. Eco-conscious stuff, especially the jewelry, is usually a great conversation starter. That new faux leather bag? Made of recycled plastic bottles. That new gunmetal necklace? Made of WW2-era bullet casings. Meeting new people is awkward sometimes. Wear something you can talk about!

9. It’s good for the economy. When you buy Made in the USA, you support the greatest country on earth (#Merica). Also, when the item is manufactured here, our labor laws protect the workers who made it. There’s a reason buyers are so keen on brands made here- they’re great quality and they last. Especially denim. ALWAYS buy your denim Made in the USA.

Why Yoga Will Save Us All (And Other Fun Stories)

In keeping with my attempts to live a healthy, natural lifestyle, this post has a roundup of some eco-friendly happenings in my two favorite things: fashion and food!

The Greatest Discovery

I was checking my favorite blogs yesterday morning when I came across a post on Kerol D., an Italian shoe designer who loves animals and uses totally vegan materials. Swoon.

Then I fell even more in love when I found these zodiac velvet loafers. I’m  obsessed with astrology, and even more so with the fact that I’m a Capricorn, so I take every available opportunity to fit it into my life every day. I have T-shirts, bracelets, and socks with Capricorn emblazoned on them and now I get to add SHOES to that collection because these are beautiful and perfect. And they’re only $48.

capricorn shoes

Eco-fashion Links to Love

And last but not least, three things (not fashion-related) that are just good to know:

Make a Fair Trade

One of the feel-good benefits of buying fair trade (whether it’s clothes or food or whatever) is that the people who make the goods are fairly compensated for work done in a safe, humane environment. And fair trade is such a huge part of sustainability because overburdened workers in dangerous/unhealthy environments generally produce poor-quality goods that need to be replaced more often. There’s a reason so many luxury brands have their pieces hand-sewn by skilled craftsmen- it makes a better quality product that lasts! But let’s be real- not everyone can drop thousands of dollars on handmade anything.

In my experience, it’s also tough to find fair-trade clothes that are cute and don’t have that dirty-hippie vibe. This is why I look to brands that manufacture their stuff domestically, since the US has stricter labor laws that mandate fair compensation and eliminate the possibly for sweatshop-esque working conditions (as an eco-friendly, wallet-friendly bonus: no international shipping). So for this post, I took an average dress (where production was outsourced overseas to who-knows-where) and found a domestically-produced version at a similar price point.

LBD

So, in a fair trade for this H&M dress, you can get a better-quality, made in the USA version for $10 more. Thank you, American Apparel!

Dresses here and here.

Eco-Fashion Funsies

elephants

And now for some not-really-fashion-related funsies, but still really cool stuff. A couple of how-to’s to get your weekend started right!

 

Photo Credit

DIY Denim Cutoffs

So, denim cutoffs are pretty self-explanatory. You take a pair of jeans, cut off the legs, and you’re left with perfect shorts, right? But if you’ve ever actually done this, you’ve probably been left with a ruined pair of jeans and shorts that are so terribly unflattering you just throw them away. Thing is, jeans weren’t meant to be worn as shorts so when you just cut off the legs, the fabric’s proportions are all messed up!

So here’s what you’ll need to make it work:

materials

To cut them, use a pair of shorts you already have to gauge how short you want them to be. Use the fabric marker to trace them (front and back separately since the back is usually longer than the front) and then cut over the lines so you’re left with the shorts. Don’t worry if they’re uneven, they’ll fray when you wash them and it won’t show.

Now to make them look like REAL cutoffs! Using a seam ripper or a pair of tiny scissors (like nail scissors) cut the side seam. I cut mine about 1.5″ but it depends on how short and loose you want them. Then using a needle and thread (or fabric glue if you’re lazy like me) fold and glue the seams back on themselves, leaving a little triangle gap on the side, like so. This will make the legs wider like real denim shorts, rather than tighter like your jeans would normally fit.

ripped_seam

If you’re feeling extra crafty, you could cut the side seam even more and sew (or glue) some lace in the triangle space. Super cute for a girly, bohemian vibe. Once the glue dries, throw them in the wash, dry them, and wear them!

I cuff everything. Jeans, tops, jackets. Why not jorts?!

I cuff everything. Jeans, tops, jackets. Why not jorts?!