The words “fashion” and “eco-friendly” don’t always sound like they go together. After all, how could they overlap when fashion changes every season? But there are a lot of creative ways to stay fashionable while doing good for the planet.
Make classics the foundation of your wardrobe. Something you wear for five years is fundamentally more eco-friendly than something you wear for a few months. For instance, cheap winter boots tend to fall apart after just one snowy season. A trendy dress will look dated within a year at most.
Thrift stores are perfect for finding clothes that keep your carbon footprint low. No matter what a shirt’s production did to the world, the earth doesn’t suffer when you buy it used. You also won’t be contributing to whichever company made the item.
If you love fashion, there’s one especially exciting reason to thrift. People don’t just donate worn-out stuff from cheap stores. They also donate high-end designer items. Anyone who’s gone thrifting often enough can tell you: They’ve found clothes with original prices in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars… for the cost of clothes from Walmart.
This tip dovetails nicely with the one above.
Learn to sew. Learn to make your own jewelry.
Instead of using new beads and fabrics, get whatever supplies you can from a thrift store. That dress that doesn’t fit you? The cloth might be perfect for a handmade blouse. A pile of unimpressive necklaces? You can put the beads to better use.
If you want to knit or crochet, buy eco-friendly yarn.
Avoid these yarns:
Instead, stick to yarns like these:
- Organic cotton
If you want easy eco-friendly fashion and have the money, fair trade brands are the way to go. Fair trade items are assessed from the very beginning of their journey. How was a dress’s cotton grown? Were the farming practices acceptable? Were the workers treated well?
Check with the following organizations when looking for fair trade fashion:
- Fairtrade International
- Fair Trade USA
- World Fair Trade Organization
- Fair Trade Federation
Some brands, like Patagonia, use recycled materials as often as possible. Other companies put a percentage of each purchase towards environmental activities like planting trees, recycling plastic bottles, or removing trash from the ocean.
Environmentally positive fashion takes extra effort. Whether that means more time or money, you’ll have to change your buying habits. On the bright side, as more people bring the earth’s health into their fashion decisions, the market will grow. Eventually, eco-friendly fashion will be available everywhere because consumers like you will demand it.