It might seem like an oxymoron, but there are plenty of us out there who live for fashion. We want to make good, sustainable choices about the things we buy, including our clothing and accessories. Those of us who follow trends in fashion and pour over those high-end glossies know that fashion isn’t always environmentally or morally pristine. Designers and fashion brands make mistakes and missteps all the time. You probably do your research and try to make good choices when it comes to the brands you purchase.
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I personally would love to be more sustainable when it comes to my clothing and love of fashion. I had not really paid much attention to any of this before so I am slowly trying to increase both my knowledge and actions. One thing that I do consciously do is repurpose and re-wear my old outfits/ clothes even years later. I do, however, love buying new clothes (most people do, right!) but I definitely have outfits that I have worn for many years and can still wear them now. I do need to purchase some new outfits but I make sure they are very versatile, flexible, and include a lot of “basics” to help me set up a capsule wardrobe that I can mix and match to wear throughout the year!
Can you wear sustainable fashion?
If you’re struggling to reconcile your love of fashion with your desire to live more sustainably, it’s actually pretty easy to do both. Many major fashion brands and designers have started taking steps to create clothing and accessories that are more eco-friendly and accessible. There are plenty of amazing brands and designers out there that are creating some truly fashion-forward looks. Best of all, these companies are sustainable, accessible, and affordable (which is just an extra little added bonus).
There’s no need to sacrifice your love of fashion. All it takes is a little creativity and outside-the-box thinking to put your best fashion foot forward and enter the world of guilt-free style. Here are a few ways that some designers and brands are doing just that.
Eco-Friendly and Cruelty-Free Choices
More and more designers and brands are starting to realise that their practices aren’t helping the planet. That using certain animal-sourced materials is cruel and inhumane. As more customers become aware of these type of practices, the less dollars they’re willing to give to these companies.
More and more fashion brands are starting to implement practices that are kinder to the planet. This is done by using recycled materials, and upcycling clothing. They use natural dyes and materials and manufacturing methods that are less harmful. Many clothing and accessories’ brands are moving away from the use of fur, types of leather, and other animal-sourced fabrics and materials that are seen as cruel and inhumane. And you know what? There is plenty of faux furs and faux leather looks out there that looks even better than the real thing.
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Manufacturing and More
In recent years, there has been a huge outcry against companies of all types that use sweatshop labour. Studies and articles written about sweatshop labour in foreign countries are subject to inhumane and abusive working conditions, and some who are underage.
It’s no wonder that many fashion enthusiasts don’t want to support brands who use this type of labour. And designers are listening. The list of brands, companies and clothing suppliers who don’t use this type of labour practice is growing by the day. You can feel good about your clothing choices when you buy from a company that has sworn never to utilise sweatshop labour.
Accessibility and Inclusivity
This is a conversation that has become very loud in the fashion industry in recent years. Everyone noticed that runway models and print advertisements were only reflecting a certain subset of the population. While all of us realised that most women aren’t a size 00, most were happy to accept the photoshopped version of the able-bodied petite woman.
As time has gone on, and movements like Health At Every Size have grown popular, people in the fashion industry have begun to speak out about the lack of inclusivity and representation in fashion.
It has taken a while but finally, brands are beginning to listen. These days you can find plenty of designers and clothing brands that offer sizes that don’t just end at “Large”. Clothing for plus-sized women is no longer a choice between outlandish, garish prints or plain colours. They’re just as fashionable and chic as the smaller sizes. Models in print ads and online are a variety of sizes and colours and include disabled models as well.
What brands are doing
Many clothing companies from the high-end to the more affordable (such as the clothing lines at Tu Clothing, F & F, George, Target) are offering clothing that has accessible snaps, zippers and materials. Even accessories are beginning to reflect this trend, with prescription glasses manufacturers offering designer options from brands like Prada and Armani, among others (check some out here), accessories’ brands offering purses and belts that are vegan-friendly and animal cruelty-free, and shoe companies that offer eco-friendly designs and accessible closures and fasteners.
Seeing how inclusive and adaptable fashion can be is really inspiring. The more you vote for these types of choices with your dollar, the more fashion brands will begin to jump on the bandwagon! Fashion should always represent every person, not just some impossible ideal.
Another long-overdue conversation in the world of fashion is that of affordability. Animal cruelty, accessibility and inclusivity or environmental concerns, is an important conversation to have. Everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status, wears clothing. The idea that people who don’t have a lot of disposable income shouldn’t be able to afford fashion is outdated. Over recent years, we’ve seen a surge in the amount of creative and enterprising fashion mavens. They have built brands using sustainable, recycled, upcycled, used and vintage clothing choices. Many Instagram influencers and YouTubers that scour flea markets and vintage shops have turned the art of used clothing into an enterprise.
Fashion brands have taken notice
High-end of designers have realised that gorgeous, on-trend fashion is no longer just for the wealthy and elite. Attitudes about money are changing, and companies realise that they must get on the bandwagon or go out of business. This is why so many designers are creating affordable lines with accessories and clothing that won’t break the bank. Vera Wang for Kohls and Versace for H&M are just two examples, but there are dozens more.
Designers are listening to their customers and taking note. There is now an influx of designs that are eco-friendly and cruelty-free. Products will be affordable, accessible and manufactured fairly. And that’s truly a good thing. As the fashion world becomes more inclusive and diverse, we’re going to see a new world open up for us. One that has never been so stylish and full of possibility.
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Til next time
XoXo Monica XoXo