By Charlotte Phan
Greetings to the Dandilyonn Community! We hope everybody is enjoying this at-home Thanksgiving and if you do not celebrate this holiday, we hope you have found time to breathe and spend time with family, even if it was over zoom. This year Cyber Monday seems to be extending into a week-long extravaganza as online stores are hosting sales, hoping that we indulge in their products. However, we customers need to acknowledge the environmental impact of shopping, especially during these national shopping “holidays”.
Ever since the rise of social media paired with a moderate rise of mass production techniques, more and more fashion trends have come and gone and more and more people have bought clothing to match certain trends. However, have you ever considered the environmental impact of the accumulation of “fast fashion” on the Earth? Fast fashion is a term used by many fashion retailers, describing clothing that not only quickly makes it to retail stores once a trend surfaces, but also quickly makes it to the garbage when a new trend comes along. You can clearly see what the problem here is: as retailers compete to match the latest trends amplified by social media, they tend to resort to cheaper, lower quality fabrics like synthetics, but most never take into consideration how such materials would interact with the environment once thrown away. Not only are the materials dangerous to the Earth, but the factories used to mass produce the clothing contributes to the fashion industry’s 8% in manmade greenhouse gas emissions in the world, a number that is set to grow larger and larger every year (you can learn more about the industry’s impact here. According to the University of Queensland’s project on sustainability, the fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world only second to oil; its main contributor being fast fashion.
No matter if it’s during Black Friday or when you’re just shopping with friends, being mindful of what you are actually buying and supporting makes the whole experience even more satisfying! Here are some tips on making sure the items your are buying are made by sustainable retailers and made of sustainable materials:
Here are a few brands to get you started towards a more sustainable closet!
Patagonia has environmentally sustainable activewear for both men and women as well as a “repair and reuse” program to make the most out of every item of clothing.
Everlane is affordable while also providing radical transparency and sustainable practices. It has also been nicknamed one of the world’s cleanest denim factories.
Levi's uses sustainable practices like significantly reducing water usage, decreasing greenhouse gases by 20% by 2020, and has aimed for zero hazardous chemicals in their jeans by 2020.
Plastic Freedom is a UK based brand striving for a plastic free future. Not only are all items of clothing sustainable, plastic free, or even recycled, Plastic Freedom also has everyday products such as kitchen supplies that are also as sustainable as their clothing.
Boyish Jeans is a high end sustainable and ethical denim brand, focusing on using sustainable fabrics for their vintage-inspired denim pieces.
Reformation is a sustainable fashion brand focusing more on high end, feminine items of clothing.
Of course, striving to be sustainable in a society where fast fashion seems to pop up everywhere comes at its price. Since fast fashion practices have been used so often, it is hard for more companies to switch entirely to sustainable practices, so the prices of their products usually increase. However, another way to tackle fast fashion with a more sustainable closet is by thrifting! Through thrifting, you are essentially reusing good pieces of clothing, and you might even find some gems while doing it! One of the more known thrift stores is Goodwill, and many more can be found with a quick internet search of your local area. Even if you thrift something that does not seem completely sustainable, you are still extending it life, ensuring that it will not immediately end up in the trash. There are also many online thrift stores such as ThredUp that are perfect to browse on during quarantine.
Lastly, supporting small businesses is one of the best ways to avoid fast fashion because many of these businesses produce their items sustainably! Supporting BIPOC businesses helps integrate these storeowners into our fast-paced economy and ensure more ethical and sustainable purchases. Here is a blog by influencer Anjali Chakra that contains a curated list of Black-owned stores to explore this Black Friday.
Thank you for reading this article! You can learn more about fast fashion’s impact on the environment here!