You made your way here because you are looking to make a change for the better. You want to create a sustainable closet. We’ve seen the impact we are having on the earth, truckloads of garments from the fast fashion industry are being burned, while new low quality items are being made daily.
Why create a sustainable closet?
In the west we consume a lot of goods, clothing is no exception. When we look at the way fast fashion industries operate, creating cheap clothing at extremely low costs we need to understand how these items got to our store. The clothing creation industry employs about 75 million people, these people are paid incredibly low wages and work inhumane hours. Child labour plays a huge roll in allowing you to pay low prices for low quality clothing. Quality of life for your clothing creators is low as they are often sick from the chemicals and poisons used to dye your clothing and create the textures that we love so much.
Apart from the people who work in the industry, the earth is also suffering from our over consumption. Clothing is often made of plastics and non-biodegradable materials, meaning it will sit in our landfills for years, or be sent to a burning facility to pollute our air. For how much one pair of jeans impacts the environment please see here.
What is a sustainable closet, and how do I make one?
The most sustainable closet, is the one you already own. By re-using, re-purposing, and fixing your items, you are saving clothing from going into the landfill.
However, if you are looking for new items, and a new style, then we need to look at how best to do that without creating a cluttered closet.
1. Look to shop from local boutiques, which often have local handmade items, fair trade items, and where the seller knows about the companies that they are selling. You can often talk to them and tell them your concerns for sustainable clothing and they will guide you in the right direction.
2. Read about the companies you already have in your closet. This will help you decide where to shop in the future.
3. Remind yourself when you go shopping that LESS is MORE. Find items that are versatile, and that you can wear in more than one way, and with more than one outfit. Change up a white shirt with accessories, pants/skirts, and coats to get more than one look.
4. Save your money and purchase those items that you LOVE, instead of the knock offs.
5. Write letters to the other brands that you love asking them to please consider more sustainable options.
Affordability is usually a big issue with “sustainable” items, since the clothing creators were paid a fair wage, and the items use natural and environmentally friendly methods to be created, as well as being quality items that will last you many wears and washes. Seriously if you are shopping fast fashion items then the prices are going to shock you and they are not going to be as cost efficient in the short term. Remember when buying a t-shirt that costs $40.00 as opposed to $10, that you will have this shirt for many years as opposed to a short while. I now purchase in the 1-10 ratio, 1 shirt for every 10 I would have purchased. My closet is not over crowded, and I have room for my new items. I have also learned to take better care of my clothing, and “LOVE” them more.
When you are looking for more affordable pieces, or just cannot afford to purchase a $60-$200 shirt, there are still options!
1. Look for sales! Your local boutique is bound to have an end of season sale, and the best part is, unlike fast fashion, these items remain in style for many years to come. This means that next summer while the colour may change slightly, your summer dress is still in style, and easily adjustable by adding accessories or changing up the way you wear it.
2. Swap with friends– Arrange a clothing swap and wine night with your friends. You’d be surprised at the amazing “new to you” clothing you can get.
3. Buy/Sell – You’d be amazed at how much you can sell your brand name clothing, and sustainable items for online if you have kept them in good condition. Sites such as Poshmark and Threadup make it easy for you. You can then use the credits or money to purchase that new item that you have been wanting. This allows you to keep a fresher closet without the big pocket book.
4. Paybright – Look for companies that offer either PayBright or AfterPay, you get your clothing right away and pay over a select amount of time. This is a great way to get some super cute quality items now, while paying it over time. Set a monthly clothing budget and be sure to stay within it. (you don’t want to buy something you will not be able to make the payments on).
Where to shop?
Local – I love to shop local and make friends with the ladies who work in the store. Why? many reasons, one is that they are into the same thing I am, Fashion. secondly they know my personality and what size I am as well as what I do and do not like. They often are able to message me when they see something that I want in my closet too.
Swap – You will be surprised by how your friends old clothing matches you and fits so well in your closet, and even more surprised by how much your friend is excited about that old sweater that you are finally giving up. (Have a girls night swap party!
Thrift – Thrift stores often have really good clothing that is at a fraction of the price. Often these items were not even worn, and you can find items with original tags.
Poshmark, – Poshmark allows you to sell your upscale lightly worn clothing to others online.
Threadup – You send your clothing to threadup and they send you a credit to spend on their site. It’s a great way to get new or lightly used clothing for a fraction of the price.
I hope you enjoy your shopping. See the bottom of this post for some of my favourite online shops.
Love, Light, And Brightest Blessings,
“There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere.”
– Annie Leonard, Proponent of Sustainability
SHOPPING LINKS! (More to come)
Finders Keep Hers – My favourite boutique located in Courtney BC. Now offering PayBright. (seriously get on it)
Jessica Redditt Designs, – Beautiful Local to BC made clothing. Jessica Redditt uses silk and natural dyes in her clothing.