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

How to Build a Capsule

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The reasons for having a capsule closet are many, and differ from person to person. Some do it to make their lives easier and save time (less choice makes the morning routine easier), to downsize and create more space or maybe even to cultivate a more sustainable and slow closet. These are also some of the perks with a capsule closet, things like freeing up space and time.

So what is the connection between a capsule closet and sustainable fashion. Well, a capsule closet means you buy less and use more of what you already own.

So how do you get started? You need to start by thinking about a few things.

Your Life

When building a capsule one has to have one’s lifestyle in mind. There is no one size fits all when it comes to capsules. This includes the actual size of the closet.

Do you live in a colder climate or where temps change often? Maybe you need an extra sweater or two. Do you live in a rainy region, then it might be reasonable to include rain clothes.

Do you have a strict dress code at work? Or could you manage with your “regular” closet?

Your capsule needs to be built around and suited to your needs and life, so take some time to think about what situations you do find yourself in.

Your Preferences

You’re the one who will be wearing the clothes, so just like with all other purchases you have to assess what you like. Finding your personal style is one of the keys to a longlasting closet and capsule.

Don’t like pants? Then don’t build a capsule around them. Hate dresses? Then leave them out.

This also includes things like color schemes and the excluding or including of prints. What type of shoes and clothes you feel most comfortable in. Those things that you tend to grab after on days when all feels boring.

Your Closet

How many pieces of clothing do you own? Are you used to circulating between 15 pairs of shoes and you love them all? Well, then I say it’s totally fine to continue with it.

Also, do the clothes fit together? Do you have that one odd shirt that only goes with that one skirt you don’t really like and those boots that make your feet bleed? Maybe it’s not a great piece to keep. At least not a piece to include in a capsule.

No number is right or wrong, so you just have to decide for yourself what seems viable to you.

Tips & Tricks

  • The second step to your capsule closet is usually a purge. Get rid of things you have not worn in a year (or pledge to wear it), things that do not fit or that are damaged beyond repair. If there are items you are not sure of and you do not feel ready to part with, put them in a box and leave it for a few months. If you do not miss it after those months you might be ready to let them go.
  • I like to do a (2:1) ratio of tops and bottoms since I usually get more wears out of bottoms compared to tops.
  • Think about how often you are willing to do laundry. If you are fine with washing your clothes every week you could get by with a pretty small capsule. If you’re like me and you dread laundry time, then maybe it’s wise to up the number of items, especially tops, so you can stretch the laundry dates a bit more.

Inspiration?

Some great accounts to follow that post content about capsule closets and sustainable style are:

Anuschka Rees

Wonder Wardrobe

Style Bee

Un-fancy

 

Ready to get your capsule together?

June: Capsule Challenge

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So, summer is here, don’t really know how or when that happened, but I’m excited. My June challenge is a capsule challenge and initially, I had planned on a 30×30 challenge. This means I would have 30 garments to use for all of June. But then I kinda joined a May30x30 on Instagram, so it didn’t really feel like a challenge anymore.

I asked around for some tips and some people thought I should continue for another 30 days, which would have been a fun idea but the weather had changed a bit too much. Some other fun tips were to stick to only one kind of pattern or color, but if you know me you know I barely wear any color or print so that would have been reeeeally tough.

Finally, I settled on the challenge. I would first do a 10×10 (ten garments for ten days) and then a 6×6 (the more extreme of six items in six days). However, I will not be counting shoes this time just to give myself some kind of freedom.

Have you done any capsule challenges? What are your thoughts on them?

Sustainable Yoga Brands

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Compared to many other sports and workout forms yoga is very low maintenance and you rarely need many, if any, new gear and clothes to start the practice. However, if you do feel like getting some new things to motivate your practice or you have worn out the clothes you wear for yoga, then check out these sustainable yoga brands below!

Yoga wear

Girlfriend Collective

Girlfriend Collective makes trendy yoga clothes from recycled PET bottles. They have many beautiful colors to chose from, some permanent and others are temporary.

PrAna

PrAna makes yoga wear, activewear, and swimwear that is better for both the planet and the people. They use sustainable materials like hemp and organic cotton, as well as recycled materials. They are Fair Trade certified and as they say themselves sustainability is in their DNA.

Vyayama

Vyayama uses only natural and semi-natural (cellulosic) fibers that are sourced sustainably and ethically. They offer both minimalist styles in solid colors and fun printed styles.

Satva

Satva Living makes beautiful yoga wear in many colors. They use both organic cotton and recycled materials for their clothes.

Patagonia

Patagonia is probably the most known brand on this list. They have since long been pioneering sustainable practices in the clothing and activewear sector. They use sustainable and recycled materials in their innovative designs.

Ecoalf

Ecoalf is a Spanish brand that works only with a 100 percent recycled materials. Their motto is “there is no planet B” and they sure live by it.

Organic Basics

Organic Basics is not inherently a yoga or sports brand, but in addition to their underwear, they offer a line of activewear called SilverTech that is made with recycled nylon that is treated with silver to lessen odor and therefore require less washing.

Yoga props

Yoga can require some accessories, many of which can be made of plastic. If you want to make more conscious choices for your props here is a small list of what to think of.

Most important things first: the yoga mat. Many yoga mats are made from plastic, but if you want to make a more sustainable choice look for either recycled materials, sustainably sources natural rubber or even cork! Manduka has a line of eco mats that could be worth checking out!

The same goes for yoga blocks. Your best bet here is either cork or recycled plastics. For things usch as yoga straps and bolster that are usually made from woven fabrics it’s important to choose either organic fabrics (like organic cotton) or naturally sustainable fabrics like hemp and linen.

Feel like getting your yoga on now?

4 Fun Hobbies for Conscious Fashion Lovers

Many people today consider shopping a hobby, which is quite sad. They have made consumption into their hobby and oftentimes it can be their only one. I used to have shopping as a hobby. I used to spend hours of just strolling around stores, during lunch hours, after school or work, or just whenever I had some time to kill. All this gave me was an overfilled and uncoherent closet that always left me feeling like I had nothing to wear. In addition, it cost me a lot of money this mindless spending.

Still, I do love fashion. Like I really love it. But I don’t want to be part of this unconscious consumerism that is going on. So I’ve tried swapping my shopping for other more productive hobbies and here are some tips on things you can do if you love fashion, but don’t want shopping to be your hobby.

Sewing

Learning to sew is not just fun and very fulfilling, it’s also very practical. When you know how to sew you have endless possibilities! You can tailor your old clothes or things you buy, you can completely refashion things into new items or you can make your own things from scratch. Sewing your own things will mean you get a closet tailored to you, both to your body and your style!

So how do you make sewing your hobby? Well, you can always take a course, you could buy (or borrow) a book about sewing, learn from online, or just try it out. It will cost you a bit to start if you do not own a sewing machine or can borrow one, and it will also require some basic tools like fabric scissors and such.

Embroidery

Learning to embroider might not be as practical and useful, as say sewing, but it can be equally fulfilling! Spending time on a certain pattern only to see it start coming together is a lovely feeling. And while it might not make a new garment, it can really give new life to one! Maybe you’ve got some holes or stains in your favorite shirt, that makes it unusable. Well, why not try embroidering some nice flowers over it? Not only broken clothes can benefit from some embroidery. A regular white t-shirt can become a statement piece by adding some colorful threads to it. If your style is leaning towards bohemian this is the hobby for you!

Knitting & Crocheting

In the last few years, the popularity of knitting and crocheting has skyrocketed. There are now several stores (such as Wool and the Gang) providing ready-made kits for making your own sweaters, hats, and cardigans. I have found that knitting can be quite expensive if you want to use quality yarn (which you want, just imagine making a sweater for yourself only to find it to be an itching nightmare…), but to me it’s quite meditative and something to keep my hands busy (instead of scrolling Vestiaire…).

Fashion illustration

If you love drawing and being creative, or maybe you’re just not too interested in producing wearable things, why not try fashion illustration? It won’t add things to your (or your family’s) closet, but it will still give you a bit of that fashion fix. The best thing about having fashion illustration as your hobby is that it is super cheap to start! Sure, if you want to get fancy with it there are expensive pens and brushes, but for starters, a few pencils will do.

So how about you? Do you consider shopping a hobby?