5 Common Struggles with Sustainable Fashion

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Understanding that fast fashion is not sustainable is easy. Knowing how and where to find better alternatives is slightly harder. Even when you start looking into the subject there are a few common problems that might arise.

Style

Are oversized hemp pants and batik tunics the picture that comes to mind when you think of sustainable fashion? Sure, there are loads of that out there but today there are alternatives available that offer a wider range of styles.

Finding sustainable clothes that fit your personal style can be hard. You’ve probably spent years cultivating your style and finding stores that correspond to this. You probably know where to go if you want a good white tee and where to go for a party dress. So when you start looking for sustainable options you might find yourself back at zero, having to go through the process of finding your sustainable favorites.

So how can you make the process of finding your sustainable style a bit easier? Firstly, find sustainable influencers whose style you like. They will surely be sharing their favorite brands on their channels so be there and snap it up. Additionally, you could start following your favorite brands on resale apps. It’s still possible to shop your favorite high street favorites, as long as you purchase them second hand. By shopping second hand you save clothes from going to landfills, as well as avoiding using new resources.

Size

Finding clothes that fit is hard enough, to begin with, but if you are plus size the selection of sustainable brands that cater to you will be very slim. Many sustainable brands start very small, meaning only size S-L which leaves most women out. There are however brands that are working hard on being size-inclusive, so don’t think that you have to skip sustainable fashion because of your size!

Some great resources for finding size-inclusive brands:

Marielle Elizabeth’s full list of plus size sustainable brands

The Good Trade’s list of 15 plus-size brands

Ecocult’s list of size-inclusive ethical and sustainable brands

Price

The price point is definitely higher for sustainable fashion than for fast fashion. This is because better materials cost more, and so does paying a fairer wage for workers.

The best ways to get around the price issue is to rethink how you value and spend money. From fast fashion, we have gotten the view that clothes are cheap and disposable and that it’s okay if a shirt breaks after 4 wears because it only cost us 4€. But the resources behind that shirt was way more expensive than those 4€ and we should strive to extend the life of our garments. So instead of buying five 4€ shirts that last us a total of 20 wears, we should instead invest those 20€ in one shirt that will last us 20+ times. Investing in quality rather than quantity.

Shopping second hand is also a great solution for an affordable and sustainable closet. The prices are cheaper and allow you to stretch your money further than buying new. There are no new resources being used for second-hand items and at the same time, you might be saving an item from ending up in the landfill. Pretty neat, huh?

Accessibility

If you don’t live in a bigger city, chances are there are no physical stores near you that sell sustainable fashion. Thankfully today there are loads of brands that are available for you to shop online!

One issue with shopping online is finding the right size and fit, so to avoid sizing issues, invest in measuring tape to make sure you order the right size. Also, don’t be afraid to contact the shops or brands for sizing help, they want you to find the best fit as well. There is the problem with shipping when shopping online. And while it might feel like a big issue, shipping usually has a small impact on the lifecycle of a garment.

If you don’t feel like shopping online, it’s wise to go for smaller local businesses that produce quality products that will last. Investing in smaller businesses keeps your money from the big corporations, destroying the planet with unethical practices, and benefits the local area.

Knowledge

Knowing which materials, brands or certifications are best takes time and lots of research. Even researchers seem to be unable to say what’s the best choice (except maybe less consumption of newly produced products, I think that one is pretty clear), so how is it possible for us consumers to know?

Once again, I would champion finding stores, influencers, and brands that you can trust and follow their lead. Unless you want to do all the work yourself. Just spending a little time reading up on which fabrics are most eco-friendly can make shopping feel easier. And never feel bad for making a decision based on what you thought was the best at the time. Choose progress over perfection and be kind to yourself.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

5 common struggles with sustainable fashion

What is Slow Fashion?

Slow Fashion: what is it really?

To explain slow fashion I usually start at the other end. It’s easier to say what slow fashion is not. It’s NOT fast fashion. It’s NOT throwaway culture. It’s NOT buying things that you know will be used just once. It’s the opposite of all that. Opposite of what has become the new normal.

So let’s start with fast fashion and the current consumption behavior. As you might have already understood we are consuming way too much and way too fast, and it’s projected to grow even more. We are today buying 60% more than 15 years ago and the global industry has more than doubled since 2000. If we continue the growth the fashion industry will account for more than one fourth of emissions worldwide in 2050…

Why is this way of consuming a problem?

It requires a lot of resources to make clothes. Everything from growing the crop or extracting oil for making fibers and then fabrics, to all the energy used in factories, to the actual labor making the clothes and then transportation and all the stores and warehouses to provide with lighting and heating.

And we are not only buying at an increasing rate. We are also throwing out faster than ever. On average a garment is used just four times before being thrown away and many of our purchased garments don’t even make it a year…

“Buy less, choose well, make it last”

– Vivienne Westwood

How do we slow down fashion?

There are several ways of promoting slow fashion. Here are my best tips!

Buy less and less frequently

This is the simplest way of slowing down fashion. Buying less will obviously reduce your overall impact and when you force yourself to buy less you become more mindful of the purchases you do make.

Buy quality so it lasts longer

When we invest in qualitative items they are more likely to last. Most of the fashion made today is low-quality and will start to break or lose color in a few wears, which is neither sustainable nor fun.

Buy clothes that fit properly

With standard sizing, this can be a real issue, but if the fit feels off, you will most likely not wear it. We have all bought items that you love in the store, but its a bit too tight at the waist or can’t really fit your shoulders and we all know that those are not the items we reach for in the closet later on. So only buy things that actually fit your current body.

Buy timeless pieces that won’t go out of style

This might seem boring to some, but investing in a closet that stands the test of time is a great way to engage in slow fashion. Fast fashion is built on trends that change every few weeks, while slow fashion is rather built on style, which will last you way longer. So by investing in timeless cuts, colors, and garments, you will find yourself having more to wear every season.

Take good care of the clothes you own

Making clothes last is not only about how you buy them but also about how you care for them. How we care for our clothes has a big impact on their longevity and impact, so make sure you follow the instructions on the washing label, as well as mending items that break instead of buying new.

Consider swapping or rental subscriptions

If you think that timeless is the epitome of boring go for more sustainable options to trendy consumption, such as clothing swaps or rental subscriptions. That way you can have a steady stream of new clothes coming and going, while not actually consuming anything. Win-win!

What’s your best tips for slow fashion?

October Challenge: Slow Fashion

October Challenge: Slow Fashion

October month will be all about slow fashion and sustainable fashion here on the blog. I will share my best tips on how to build a more long-lasting closet and how to slow down your fashion cycle, as well as which materials are the most sustainable and how you properly take care of your clothes.

There are so many ways you can be mindful with your closet, but it can be a jungle of information and certifications and whatnot for the normal consumer. It’s hard to be a conscious consumer and most companies are not making it any easier. Hopefully, governments will take the responsibility off of the consumers’ shoulders in the future by implementing stricter environmental and labor laws and be tougher on companies that greenwash, but until then it is free for companies to do as they please. So the only way to get around it, for now, is to do your research, and hope to be of help there!

So what will I practically do this month?

  • Obviously not buy anything since I’m on a shopping ban (this is probably the most efficient way of slowing down your closet!)
  • Mend any items that need mending (even though I think my mom recently fixed most of mine)
  • Fix any garments that aren’t working (like cropping pants that are too long or tailoring things that don’t fit well)
  • Sell any items not being used enough (because why should they take up space in my closet and mind?)
  • Do a care day for garments (get rid of any lint or spots on my garments, take care of my leather bags and shoes)

Do you have any questions or problems on the topic of slow or sustainable fashion you would like me to bring up this month?

Slow fashion challenge

Self-care that you can do at home

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Self-care can sound expensive and luxurious, and many might think of a spa or a get-away when they hear the word. But self-care is much more than treating yourself to things. It’s about taking care of yourself, your body, and your mind.

Self-care doesn’t have to be a big deal. In fact, it shouldn’t. It should be something we have integrated into our lives. For our health. For our personal sustainability. Just carving out a few minutes a day can make a big difference, so don’t feel that it isn’t for you just because you can’t consecrate an hour a day to meditate or go to the yoga studio.

If you feel like you really don’t have time to spare (I mean we all have busy lives) think about if there is anything you could prioritize differently? Maybe you could save up some time during the week by prepping your food on Sunday. Or maybe you could skip 10 minutes of Netflix or Instagram time to meditate? Just focusing on your breathing can make a huge difference, and that is something you can integrate whenever during your day. Just by taking a few deep breaths, all the way down to the belly.

So now that you’ve found some time, here are some small ideas of cheap (but still pretty luxurious) self-care you can do at home:

  • Take a warm bath or shower
  • Do yoga (I love Yoga with Adriene YouTube channel)
  • Take a nap
  • Put on a face mask
  • Paint your nails
  • Read a book
  • Turn off your electronics
  • Meditate (here I’ve shared some favorite apps for meditation)
  • Massage (either doing it yourself or having someone massage you)
  • Gratitude journal

How do you make sure to take care of yourself? 

Self-care You Can Do at Home

 

Self-care is not Selfish, it’s Sustainable

Why you should stop thinking self care is selfish

The talk of eco-anxiety and eco-burnout has been floating around in the sustainable bubble for a while now. In Sweden, research showed that 80 percent of young women suffered from eco-anxiety.

During the safety information on a flight, they tell us to put on our own oxygen mask before helping others. If we do not put our own oxygen mask on first, we risk passing out trying to help others and that just leads to no good for anyone involved. This holds true in other parts of life as well.

For us to lead a fulfilling and sustainable life, and to have energy and time to give to others and to important causes, we need to function well ourselves. So if we want to advocate and inspire towards a more sustainable and ethical world we need to make sure we set out time for rest and recharge.

Self-care looks different for everyone and there is no one size fits all. For some, self-care is a quiet undisturbed day (or even just an hour) at home, away from family or kids. For others, it might be a raging girls night out or a dinner with family. The important thing is to prioritize small things and actions that make YOU feel good. It’s worth noting that needing or wanting to take a break from your “regular” life doesn’t mean you are a bad person. You can love your spouse, child, parent or friend and still crave and need time away to recharge. So don’t ever feel guilty for it.

Taking care of yourself is not selfish, and if anyone ever implies that it is they are wrong. Anxiety, burnout, and depression do not make people feel better nor makes them more productive or efficient. We are generally at our most productive when we are energized and motivated, and when our health is manageable. So if we want to save the world, we need to take care of ourselves too.

Self-care is not selfish. It is a necessity.

September Challenge: Self Care

Fall is around the corner and while the end of summer marks a new school year and a feeling of new beginnings, it also means that darker and colder times are arriving. So, for this reason, I will be doing #selfcareseptember as my monthly challenge for September, as a way of easing into the times to come.

If you want to join along I’ll be focusing on one thing daily to treat myself to new experiences and love. However, self-care is about doing what feels right for you, so if you feel like it make up your own calendar or list of things you want to do or focus on. Nothing is too big or small!

Self care calendar

An eco-friendly reading practice?

A stack of books and a tree branch

Reading in itself is a great hobby. It requires no electricity (except maybe a lamp) or energy to perform compared to other types of media like TV or the Internet. However, making books requires paper, and paper comes from trees. Paper is a renewable resource thanks to the fact that trees can regrow, but keeping your resource usage in mind is always a good idea. Especially today when more forests are being cut down to give room for crops and cattle. So always buying new books might not be a very eco-friendly choice.

Additionally, if you try to live a more minimalist or conscious life buying new books all the time will result in an overcrowded bookshelf and home. And a cluttered home, gives a cluttered mind, and we don’t want that, do we?

Reading that doesn’t require chopping down trees

So should we just stop reading? Of course not! Reading is a great way of gaining knowledge and amusement. So if you want a more minimalist and eco-friendly reading practice, below are a few tips.

Library

As a child, I would spend hours in the library getting lost in the rows filled with books. A habit I recently got back into because it’s great! It’s (more or less) free and it has more books than I could possibly ever read, no risk of getting bored. If you have the privilege of having a library where you live, definitely check it out.

Borrow from friends

Another free option is to simply borrow from friends and family! You probably know someone or several people who have at least 10+ books at home. Why not ask if you can borrow a few the next time you visit? Apart from being free and resource smart, it might give you something to discuss the next time you meet!

Swap

Swapping has become commonplace in fashion and clothing, but honestly, it’s even better for books. Most of the time we only read something once or twice, so why should it take up space on your shelves? Why not organize a small book swap with your colleagues or your friends’ group?

Thrift

Second hand first applies as much to books as it does any other item. By buying second hand you are using resources that have already been used. And while it’s not free, it’s definitely more affordable than investing in new.

Audiobook subscription

Nowadays there are several subscription services where you can pay a monthly fee and get access to hundreds of audiobooks. Granted that you won’t be reading it yourself, this can be a great option if you are an auditive person, also if you drive a lot or just have little energy/possibility to read yourself.

E-readers

This one requires quite some resources to produce (batteries and plastic) but if you are a big reader it can be worth the investment. Both money-wise and for the planet. You might even be able to score one-second hand! The nice thing about an e-reader is if you travel a lot or read on public transport as it allows you to bring a library of books in a few hundred grams.

So, if you are one of those people who love the feel of a physical book in your hands, realize that there are a lot of options out there for you. You don’t have to get an e-reader (nor should you if you don’t like it).

And, if you really do love a filled bookshelf and it gives your life more meaning, continue by all means. But maybe you could decrease it just a bit? Buying only the ones’ that you really want and for the rest don’t. Book swap with friends, or go to the library. If you really like it afterwards you can always make the splurge then and it won’t have cost you an extra dime!