Let’s talk sustainable fashion. This was a hurdle that I was not sure how well I could manage. When it comes to buying things for myself I am a cheapskate!!! My usual clothing purchases are infrequent (which is a good thing), but they used to be whatever was cheapest. The thing I failed to consider was how these companies provide such inexpensive clothing (or what is referred to as fast fashion). The answer is usually inhumane working conditions and unfair wages (sweatshops❗❗❗). There are many issues in the fashion industry. Consumerism has made us willing to deprive others of fair conditions purely for the latest trends, but what are we supposed to do?
In the zero waste community, there is a hierarchy for ethical shopping.
1. Use what you already have. Instead of tossing an old article of clothing that you feel is out of style, try pairing it with something new to bring it new life.
2. Shop secondhand. Anything new is created with new resources. Every new item takes a new toll on our Earth. Buying something already in existence uses no new resources.
3. Buy from ethical and sustainable brands and buy organic. Cotton is one of the worst crops for pesticides, which is bad for the environment and for people who work and live near the plantations.
I was nervous about shopping secondhand. I have never had the patience to pick through clothes and there is no guarantee you will find anything. Well, my nerves were completely unfounded. I have gone to a couple of Goodwills to look for Fall and Winter clothing and I have had a lot of success every time I have gone. I have actually had to limit myself. My husband, an avid shopper and secondhand skeptic, has found many pieces of clothing, as well. On one of our trips he found Lucky brand jeans and, on another, he found an entire new work outfit.
My ethical outfit of the day consists of boots I have had for going on 10 years and a Goodwill-find sweater dress, originally from Express, that I would never ever in a million years treat myself to had it been full price. The best part? It was only a dollar (and used zero new resources). I am starting to dress better than I ever have, for a fraction of the cost, and without harming people or the environment.