Sustainable Fashion

The Run-Down on Sustainable Clothing


Liz Jones

Clothes, like those in the photo, are increasingly making up large portions of items being thrown away. With the increase of cheap clothing and of family incomes, many are buying and trashing more clothes than ever.

Liz Jones, Content Manager

Fashion and sustainability are two of my passions. However, the news has pretty much clarified that the two subjects are often contradictory. This makes it really hard for me to reconcile both of these passions. It is hard to be fashionable and sustainable, but it can be done. The articles “The Lazy Girl’s Guide To Sustainable Fashion” from Elle magazine and “How to Shop Sustainably in 7 Simple Ways, According to an Eco-friendly Fashion Campaigner” from the online publisher, The Independent, helped inspire this article and some of the ideas presented.

When most people think of shopping sustainably, they think of buying trendy, sustainable clothes online that cost over $100. These clothes are typically pretty great for the environment and are made with more ethical practices. This technique also still creates new clothes that eventually make their way to the landfill anyways. Obviously, there are some things that should be bought new and it is not evil to buy something new, but not everything needs to be bought new. Buying things online also increases carbon emissions, but there are many companies that work to counter-act the carbon emissions they create delivering packages. This is one way to be more sustainable, but there are other more accessible ways that are easier on budgets.

Thrifting is great for the environment and for budgeting. Buying secondhand clothes helps keep tons of clothing out of the landfills. Fast fashion is a major cause of landfills filling up faster than ever before. When people buy clothes second-hand, it helps keep those clothes out of the landfill and it also stops more clothes from being made. Personally, I always thrift shop. Most of my clothes are second-hand, a lot of my furniture and home decor is as well.

As I type this, three out of the four clothing pieces I am wearing are from a thrift store. I could afford to buy things brand new, but there is not much point to when I can find nice clothes for much cheaper, and then save my leftover money for college. Sometimes, I even find brand-new items at the thrift store. This is by far the cheapest way to be sustainable, but it does take some time. Finding good clothes while thrifting can be time-consuming, but it is fun and worth it. It makes shopping into a treasure hunt.

There are also a lot of little things that can make fashion more sustainable. One of the easiest is borrowing or swapping clothes with friends. This doesn’t always work, especially for those with unique body shapes, but many people can borrow clothes easily. This is great because it reduces the need to buy new clothes and helps liven up any wardrobe. Taking good care of clothing is also important while being sustainable. Buying clothing that should last, doesn’t do anything if it isn’t taken care of properly. Knowing how to stain treat and repair clothing can sometimes double its life. Washing clothes less will also help make them last longer. If potential smells are worrying, leaving clothes out in the sun will actually break down the causes of many smells.

The health of the ecosystem is becoming an increasingly pressing issue. While it may not seem like it, individual changes can make a difference if many people are making those changes. They may not be able to fix everything, but it will help heal the ecosystem.