Did you know that the fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters on this planet (second only to the oil industry!)?? Globally, we are now consuming 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year, an increase of 400% compared to two decades ago. Aside from the destructive consumption cycle (with significant amounts of discarded clothing ending up in landfills each year), there are also important social implications as well. Millions of people work in the fashion industry, many of whom are women and children living in poverty because they aren’t paid a living wage.
If you follow me on Instagram (and you should!), you may have noticed a change in my approach to styling. Personally, I have been feeling like the culture of “buy now,” which social media has helped propagate, is something that I can no longer participate in with a clear conscious. I cannot afford to keep up with every passing trend and, even more importantly, I began to think of the environmental impact of my shopping habits. And while I still believe that trend-driven (aka fast fashion) still has it’s merit…mostly in bringing trend-forward pieces to the masses at an affordable price point, I am trying to instill the value of investing in timeless and quality pieces that will withstand the test of time.
Aside from the fundamentals of “Reduce, Reuse & Recycle,” I’ve included below several brands that you should know about as you become more aware of how products are made and what is in them:
I’ve mentioned this sustainable brand before. As Amour Vert in French translates to “Green Love;” this California-based manufacturer and retailer is on a mission is to make sustainable clothes that are both stylish and good for the planet. In addition to planting a tree with every purchase, their products are only made from renewable resources (like the Mulberry silk shirt I’m wearing above) and they pay their manufacturers fare wages (97% of their products are made in California). If you see something you like, be sure to snap it up quickly! Their designs are made in small batches in an effort to eliminate waste while maintaining their high production standards. If you are in Seattle, you can try for yourself at their University Village location, or several stores in California, Atlanta and New York. If you do buy online, all of their packaging is also compostable!
I’m obsessed with these sneakers, the fact that they’re sustainably-made are a bonus! Meaning “look” in Portuguese, Veja sneakers are made in Brazil using organic cotton, wild Amazonian rubber, and up-cycled materials. These sneakers have been worn by the “fashion set” for a number of years and now can be found at such retailers as Shopbop, Nordstrom, Free People, and (of course) our friends at Amour Vert.
Pronounced SUH-REN-UH (meaning “mermaid” in Spanish), this ultra-laid back brand evokes the beach lifestyle of Southern California and, it’s founder’s inspiration, the coast of Spain. Made in Los Angeles, these simple silhouettes combine natural fibers with stylish flare – my personal favorites include the metallic accents. And, most of their garments are made in the US.
This collection of activewear, made to flatter all of your girlfriends, is made from…(wait for it)…recycled plastic bottles. Founded with the goals of transparency and sustainability, Girlfriend Collective aims to design leggings that you will continue to reach for over the years (for every workout). And yes, all of the polyester leggings and bras (even the thread) is made from BPA-free hard plastics that had a former life as your Nalgene water bottle, for example. I encourage you to read their entire bio on the processing – in detail they describe where their material is sourced (fishing nets for nylon?!) and how it is ethically manufactured to produce these colorful AND comfortable leggings and bras.
Next week I plan to share (and re-share) some of my favorite natural beauty finds (think toxin-free cosmetics that are never tested on animals!). In the meantime, a truly green way to continue styling yourself with a conscious is to shop less (a work-in-progress) and buy second-hand. If you are in the Seattle area, please message or email me for a list of my most favorite local consignment and thrift shops.
Happy Friday! And thanks for reading. ~Jenn