How to Reduce Your Fashion Footprint

IMAGE DESCRIPTION. Ethical shopping made easier.

Let’s get real: we all want to be more eco-friendly. We recycle our paper and plastics. We buy organic food, when the option is available. We even walk or bike instead of driving, when the weather cooperates. But we never really think about how our fashion choices having a huge impact on the environment, and it's something that can make us feel really guilty, too. According to The Fashion Footprint, the fashion industry is the world’s most polluting industry behind oil and gas. As the state of the environment - and fashion’s role in its dissolution – only become a greater issue, it's about time that the industry takes a stand. But what can we as consumers do to help? We’ve got some tips. 

 1. Streamline
 We recently gave you five tips to organizing your wardrobe (check them out here), and another great idea is to trim your closet down to only the core pieces – items you wear all the time or just absolutely love. Which means it may be time to say goodbye to that one dress from Zara you got on sale, wore once, can’t fit in anymore, but you swear to yourself that you’ll wear again. This will not only make organizing your life 20x easier, but it will also keep you from buying any duplicates or anything unnecessary. (P.S. recycle those unused hangers. There is really no need for an extra 200.)

2. Donate it, don't trash it
Once you’ve paired down your closet contents, it’s time to actually get rid of them. The absolute best way is through clothing donation services; be it  Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or even your nearest H&M, where you might be able to find one of the company's many clothing recycling bins. If all else fails, do an internet search for online donation or trading site (just make sure they’re reputable), like Clotho – a UK based and operated company that allows you to take the clothes you no longer use or want and exchange them for something else. 

3. Visit the tailor
Nothing feels better than having your clothes fit like a glove. If a piece fits you perfectly, then you are more than likely to keep it longer. That’s where a good tailor comes in. Find one with merit in your local area and they will become the fairy godmother/father of your dreams. The cost it takes to have them custom-fit all of your clothes will definitely pay off, in addition to cutting down your overall consumption. 

4. Skip the fast fashion
Speaking from personal experience, nothing can make a pocketbook itch more than walking into a high street store. Low priced, trendy pieces dripping from the racks along with bumping electro-pop remix jams can get overwhelming pretty fast; before you know it you’ve left the store with more than an armful of bags. If the urge is just undeniable, then first ask yourself honestly, “How many seasons can I wear this?” If the answer is under at least 4, reconsider. Also probe your favorite retailers and see if they have sustainable options – like the ASOS Green Room, H&M’s Conscious section, and Urban Renewal (Urban Outfitters’ hand-crafted clothing line made out of vintage and recycled materials). 

5. Support ethical brands
The best way to make a statement and take a stand for sustainable fashion is through the almighty dollar. Putting your money behind eco-friendly brands, like Reformation, not only gets you really cute clothes, but also sends a message to the industry at large. When looking at brands, pay close attention to the details: where do they source their fabrics? Who makes or manufactures their goods? Do portions of their sales go back into philanthropy? A great place to start is on The Good Trade

 6. Invest in timeless staples
A wise woman once said, “Quality over quantity,” and when it comes to pieces like a trench, a black dress, or a classic handbag, that couldn’t be more true. Certain items just never go out of style, so instead of buying them from a high street store – where the quality may not make the grade – be willing to spend a little more to get an impeccably made piece that will last forever. Also, think about cost per wear. This will make splurging on that vegan Stella McCartney handbag you will use every day a little more worth it. 

7. Thrift, thrift, thrift 
One of the best ways to cut down your fashion footprint is thrifting. Thrift shops, flea markets, consignment stores, and antique shops can be found everywhere, each overflowing with unique items. Sure, the clothes are pre-owned, but they carry so much charm! Vintage designer pieces are usually nearly half the original price too, so we're not complaining.

Did you like this post?  Read up on the other ways that fast fashion is affecting the industry over here, then catch our interview with designer CĂ©line Semaan, whose brand Slow Factory is championing ethical production standards and supporting refugee women.

WHO: Autumn, Jr. Fashion Market Contributor at Couturesque magazine
WHERE: Southern Illinois, U.S.  
OBSESSED WITH: Mark Zuckerberg x H&M 
(the April Fool's spoof that would make a killer IRL collab). 
CAN BE FOUND AT: @im_autumnbreeze

1 comment:

  1. I love this article! And the part about supporting ethical brands is so true - we as consumers have the power to change the environmental flaws of the industry all through what we demand!


What do you think of this article?


I founded Couturesque Magazine when I was 15 years old because like many of my peers, I felt ignored and talked down to by all of the other teen fashion publications out there. I figured that at the end of the day, the people who knew the most about my generation, were the people who belonged to it. The fashion industry is becoming increasingly dependent on the creativity of younger voices who challenge the status quo and make us rethink what we wear and why we wear it. And that is exactly what Couturesque set out to celebrate - authenticity, intelligence, originality, and diversity... in other words, what makes Gen-Z tick. Fast-forward to 2016 and we now have a staff of more than a dozen fashion distruptors contributing to our daily content from all around the globe, 100K+ readers following us from Toronto to New York, to London, Copenhagen, Berlin, Tokyo, and Tel Aviv, and a plethora of big-wig industry fans and collaborators. But what matters to us the most is the responsibility that our publication has to make a positive impact in the lives of those who come across it - we stand against retouching our photoshoots and we stand for sharing the beautiful, individual, complex voices of everyone, especially those who feel marginalized by mainstream fashion media. We hope that you love our site as much as we do and that you take the time to follow us (Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest / Tumblr / Snapchat / YouTube) throughout our journey to make fashion accessible to the powerful young adults of today.

Tia Elisabeth Glista
Editor in Chief