It can’t only be about “Sustainable Fashion”

Sustainable fashion is having a moment. A major moment.

And by moment, I don’t mean a sudden reduced consumption trend in the fashion industry or an upswing of people digging through thrift stores for hidden gems instead of buying new clothes. I mean it’s having a “Come buy this because it is sustainable”- moment.

Don’t get me wrong. We are definitely in need of companies doing things right, making it right here, picking the right fabrics in regards to environmental impact, paying the right salaries to the right employees and so forth. However, the question still remains, how can fashion be labeled “sustainable” when we’re constantly encouraged to keep shopping?

I have two concerns in particular.

  1. I fear that the fashionistas are still buying all their cheap H&M clothes, sexy Victoria’s Secret bras and convenient Gap basics, only now they’re adding another cool dimension to their outfits with a sustainable item. In other words, they’re shopping more. “Look at me, I’m so trendy and this bag is handmade in USA of recycled hemp. #SustainableFashion”
  2. I suspect that the sustainability interest stops with the fashion. And by fashion I mean what we show off using our bodies. I doubt that the sustainable fashion people also stopped buying I-phones, plastic China-made toys for their kids, made in Pakistan rayon work-out socks and imported Christmas decorations.

It can’t only be about sustainable fashion. There has be more to it.

Sure, fashion is a start, but how does one justify slave-labor-made decorations from China when it’s suddenly UNTHINKABLE to buy a sweat-shop-made shirt from Bangladesh? Sweat shops make other things than clothes, you know.

And there has to be less. Less stuff.

A made in the USA top you’ll never wear is not a sustainable purchase, even if it is made responsibly down the street of eco-friendly materials. No one (except the industry) will applaud you for buying it.

We can’t buy things because they are sustainable, ethical or made locally. 

First, we have to decide what we need (or, let’s be honest, want) and then we have to make sure we pick an ethical, made right (here) product.  That is sustainable shopping. Yes, it takes effort. Yes, it takes responsibility. Yes, it takes awareness. Yes, at times we will fail (that’s ok).

Yes, it is worth it. It has to be. #SustainableEverything

11 thoughts on “It can’t only be about “Sustainable Fashion”

  1. It’s really a win-win. You save money and the environment! Last visit to the US I bought 1 item of clothing for myself. A pair of shorts, which I sort-of needed for my growing tummy! :) reducing is key for so many reasons!

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  2. UGH decorations!!! Just recently I went in to Party City to look for some last minute wedding decorations and it is horrific in there! It is a disgusting display of disposable consumerism at any cost (in any color) and I felt so guilty being in there. I didn’t buy anything from Party City, but what cheap items I did purchase online, I donated to my venue to use again. They kept the paper lanterns hanging for the wedding the very next day, so I feel a little less bad about purchasing them!

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    1. I agree! Few people are actually aware of the extreme disposable culture surrounding decorations. I have friends who buy decorations for all holidays (even like valentines) and I’m like “what, why?” but they haven’t stopped to reflect on that behavior.
      I’m so glad your decorations got reused! :) Maybe someone took them home too!

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  3. I think it took me 37-38 years (okay, I’ve only been shopping for myself for 20 I suppose) to finally figure out WHAT I should be wearing (as well as what I WANT to be wearing). If we could pull people aside when they are 22 or so, maybe later for some as they come into their own, and help them learn how to dress their body and their personality, think how much money and how many resources we could save! Less “whatwasIthinking” purchases! I still wear not-so-earth-friendly fabrics but I try to get them from consignment or used clothing stores.

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    1. So true! I think it took me until 27-28 to find what I actually liked and what worked, but then I started this challenge (bye-bye J.crew) which helped me define it even more. I do shop consignment too, and that certainly pushes my style boundaries a bit – I like it!

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  4. I absolutely agree with you, that focusing only on fashion is not enough, and sustainability is much more than that. But I belive this is the second easiest (after food) part of our life, where we can start the change. And hopefully people who realize the huge environmental impact if fashion will also realize that of plastic packaging, to go cups, etc. In my experience most of the popultion does not care about environmental issues at all, so I’m really happy when somebody say they shop sustainable fashion. And hopefully the rest will come.

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    1. That’s a great point! Someone who starts shopping sustainably is definitely on the right track. I just wish they’d also shop less – but with a higher price tag than fast fashion in the long run they probably will :) thanks for visiting!

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  5. It’s true, our culture is so focused on consumerism and not sustainability. I can only hope that blogs and conversations will slowly start to wake people up to this. Keep up the great work! Thanks for sharing on the Waste Less Wednesday Blog Hop.

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