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Shop Sustainably: Cut Back on Fast Fashion

Updated: May 17, 2022

By: Mackenzie Bryan

One thing everyone has in common: shopping fast fashion. Whether we recognize it or not, it’s

detrimental towards our environment. Even though it might feel impossible to escape fast

fashion, there are ways we can combat it. A few ways to cut down on fast fashion include

upcycling clothing, purchasing second hand, avoiding certain fabrics, and supporting brands with a circular or zero-waste ethos. Aside from implementing these strategies, you could also stay up to date with sustainable fashion information.

Currently, the fashion industry is contributing to climate change. As trendy as it is, creating new

garments each season comes at a cost. “2.1 billion metric tons of greenhouse-gas was emitted

into the atmosphere in 2018, about 4 percent of the global total.” In order to address this, upcycling clothing is a great way to revamp your wardrobe or create something new with a DIY project. One of the best ways to create new articles of clothing is by replacing the old with the new. You could turn that old baggy t-shirt into a stylish two-piece set, paint your old denim jacket, or turn to no-sew options. As for DIY projects, there are plenty to choose from! You could create a reusable tote bag, pillow case, quilt, scrunchies, or even a purse. The list could go on, but these are just a few options to choose from.

As for purchasing second-hand, you could do this through apps such as Poshmark, Depop,

Mercari, and Vinted. You could also purchase clothing from your local thrift store or Facebook

marketplace. In addition to this, you could shop at Isla Vista Trading Post. Isla Vista Trading Post “ a student-run organization that hosts trading events where community members can come together to give and take clothing, establishing a small-scale circular economy. We have a “three for free” policy at every event, where everyone is encouraged to take up to three items, regardless of if you donated clothes. Isla Vista Trading Post aims to establish a more environmentally conscious and connected community through one of the most influential parts of daily life: clothing. How we dress and how we shop reflect who we are.” By shopping at these places, you help support small businesses instead of multinational corporations. Not only will you be supporting small businesses and saving money, you’ll also help decrease the demand for mass production of new clothing.

When you’re on the hunt for something new, be on the lookout for certain fabrics to avoid.

Polyester is the most common type of fabric on the market, but its' impact on the environment is adverse. It’s made from purified terephthalic acid and monoethylene glycol, meaning it’s a

plastic like material. Since polyester is not biodegradable it could end up in the landfill for years

or in the ocean. Additionally, synthetic garments have significantly contributed to microplastic

pollution in the ocean. The shocking fact is that “...around 1,900 individual fibers can be rinsed

off a single synthetic garment.” Considering this, look for polyester made out of fishing nets,

recycled materials or water bottles. You could also look for organic cotton,

bamboo, lyocell, sheep wool, cashmere, or silk.

Along with this, supporting brands that are circular or zero-waste ethos is the way to go. At the

moment, the amount of clothing that ends up in the landfill is astounding. It can take up to 200

years for clothing to decompose and in 2018 17 million tons of textile waste wound up in landfills. Instead of purchasing items from your go-to stores, mix it up by supporting brands like Ocio Leisure and Reformation. Ocio Leisure is a fairly new company that emerged from the pandemic. Their passion and drive for sustainability will pave the way for future companies to eventually do the same. Ocio Leisure not only focuses on sustainability, they also value inclusivity. They offer loungewear ranging from sizes XXS to 4X. In addition, Everything is made with sustainable fabrics such as organic cotton and tencel lyocell. On the other hand, Reformation is just as noteworthy since they have been around for a little over a decade. They create products from tencel, recycled cotton, and deadstock. Aside from this, they aim to become climate-positive by 2025!

Despite the price and convenience of fast fashion, we should try to employ these methods to

reduce our consumption of clothes and the amount of resources and energy that goes into the

fashion industry. Wanting new clothes is not a crime, but seeking out more sustainable ways to

be fashionable and enjoy clothes will preserve the Earth for future generations to enjoy. It is easy to disconnect ourselves from the environmental impacts that come with each piece of clothing we buy, so as consumers we must educate ourselves and stop the unsustainable cycle of fast fashion.

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