So I've just decided on my New Year's resolution! OK, yes it's February 17th, I'm getting around to things a little late, but I think it will be worth it... I'm going to start maintaining a sustainable/eco-friendly wardrobe ... for someone who loves fashion I think this will be quite the challenge.
If anyone doesn't know me, I just finished a certificate in fashion design from MassArt. To be honest, when I started the program I didn't know much about fashion, I just knew I loved to sew and I liked costume history. Slowly I started crossing over from costume to fashion. And just as I thought I knew where my interests were, I was thrown for a loop!
The first two weeks in January 2011 I went on a fashion trip to Antwerp and Paris with a MassArt class. On the trip we did research for our final project and I chose eco-fashion as my topic. At the time I didn't really realize what I was getting into, I just thought eco-fashion was an interesting topic which I didn't know much about. Now I feel like my who attitude on the entire fashion industry has changed.
Here is what I've learned over the last few months:
Our society is growing more and more concerned about "being green" and saving the planet, yet fashion is one area that seems to have escaped criticism. The current fashion industry is about consumption, and I mean really endless consumption, more recently intensified by the latest trend: fast fashion. Fast fashion is H&M, it's Zara, it's Walmart and Kmart. It's being able to buy a tshirt for $10, and a dress for $20, wearing it a handful of times and tossing it aside. For the consumer it has become a habit. As fashion is defined by constantly changing trends, fast fashion fits perfectly with our constantly changing wardrobe without (seemingly) emptying our bank account. The truth is that the average consumer does not feel one ounce of guilt about the waste that their fashion habits create.
There are many other problems with the fashion industry related to the production of fabrics and garments. Cotton, the fabric that most people would call "the fabric of our lives" is actually one of the worst fabrics for the environment. It requires a huge amount of water, chemicals, and pesticides for it to grow. Plus once it's made into a garment it requires more resources to maintain. Cotton requires more washing and ironing than a polyester requires. In its life cycle a cotton shirt uses a huge amount of resources! Most cotton and other fabrics are produced in foreign countries like India or China. Most garments are manufactured in these countries too, where often the working conditions for the employees are not ethical. Plus it takes resources to ship the materials and clothing from these countries to the USA. Also, most fashion companies supply chains are not transparent. This means the company as well as the average consumer has no idea under what conditions their garments are made, and how they finally ended up in their hands.
There is a lot more that I'm still finding out about sustainable fashion. I am not claiming to be an expert. My plan for this blog is to share what I learn as I go on my own eco-fashion journey. I'm going to try to adjust the way I buy and wear clothing. As far as I can tell so far it's impossible to be perfectly eco-friendly in fashion, but here are the rules I'm going to try to stick with:
1. Try not to buy as much clothes. Re-wear and re-invent what I already have in my closet. (this should be good for my wallet too!).
2. If I purchase new clothes it needs to fall into at least one of these categories:
- Made in the USA
-Made with organic or renewable fabrics (cotton, bamboo, etc...)
-Recycled or re-used clothing. From secondhand or vintage stores, or new clothing made from recycled fabric.
-Well made, more expensive clothing, with a classic design, so that will last for years.
3. Try to make more of my own clothing (I should do this anyways).
4. Donate or re-use clothing/fabrics that I no longer want (I pretty much already do this).
Here I go! Wish me luck!