Learning, thrifting, and creating my way to better fashion
Educate yourself on today’s fashion supply chains and you’ll find plenty of cause for frustration: huge drains on non-renewable resources, careless disposal of harmful chemicals, a complete disregard for the well-being of garment workers, and an amazing deafness to the wearer’s desires (pockets anyone??). The second punch of frustration is the lack of transparency about such practices and the scarcity of alternative options. It can feel like we have to choose between clothing and the health of our planet and its residents. This is a dilemma for those that value clothing for the necessities they meet, like shelter, sanitization, and modesty, but it’s an especially bitter pill to swallow for those of us that appreciate clothing as works of art that can elicit confidence, facilitate self-expression, and support the wearer’s behaviors.
The good news? It may require a little extra money, some time, and lots of creativity, but there are alternatives! With this blog I, a life-long admirer of clothes, aim to track my journey in search of fast fashion alternatives and prove that it is possible to opt out of the harmful effects of fast fashion without opting out of a love for clothes.
What is fast fashion?
“Buy more for less” sounds great and I blame no one who succumbs to the siren call of a well-curated shop window with a “Sale” sign. Many of my youthful weekends were spent at the mall purchasing poorly-made garments, many of which were worn too rarely to even be remembered. I was blissfully ignorant of how my buying habits were contributing to a system which has, for the most part, refused to answer for how it affects the environment and its workers. I think of Fast Fashion as clothing brands that:
- Focus on designs that meet rapidly-changing trends
- Prioritize quantity over quality in production
- Promote the idea that clothing is a disposable commodity
When left unchecked, these elements have a dire impact on our environment and garment workers.
Although I’m sure further details will come up, this blog will not focus on the aforementioned issues, so much as it will focus on possible solutions. I embark on this journey with an understanding that alternatives to fast fashion focus on a few essential approaches:
- Wear, care, repair – arguably the number one thing any of us can do to take action against the unsavory practices of the fast fashion industry is buy less. Maintaining the life of clothing requires caring for them and repairing them when needed. I look forward to learning about and sharing care and repair practices.
- Plan – thinking critically about the clothes you already have as well as potential additions allows you to create a wardrobe that will be worn and nurtured. I’ll share thoughts I have and systems I develop for carefully considering how to maximize my wardrobe.
- Thrift – if you haven’t discovered the wonder of your local second hand shop, you are seriously missing out. There are so many amazing garments, severely marked down just waiting to be plucked from their road to the incinerator. I’ll share some great finds, experiment with altering pieces that aren’t quite right, and communicate any tips I find along the way.
- Make – I love sewing and designing clothing. I’ll share the details of how I conceptualize and create a piece as well as some tutorials on how to make your own and where to ethically and sustainably source supplies.
Interested in fashion with a conscience? Follow my journey!