Ways to reduce textile waste
It’s no secret that the fashion industry has a major carbon footprint, with its waste truly damaging our beautiful planet. In 2020, it was estimated that fast fashion emits around 1.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide. Those emissions are no joke. They surpass all international flights and the maritime shipping industry, combined. How can we love the earth and also love fashion at the same time? It’s absolutely possible, but it does take some forethought and consideration.
It all starts with understanding that our dollars have a direct impact on the health of the planet and an acceptance that not everything we put in our closet needs to be brand new to be beautiful or fashionable. Buying secondhand runs the gamut from rifling through thrift store racks to scoring designer gear that needs a new lease on life. When you choose to buy a secondhand item, that is one less demand on the fashion machine to produce a garment that is almost guaranteed to end up in a landfill one day. In fact, every second that ticks by sees the equivalent of a trash truck full of garments being dumped into a landfill.
Beyond the need for lessening the burden of production, we can also do our best to choose garments that biodegrade over time and are gentler in their decomposition. This means doing our best to purchase natural fiber garments such as cotton, linen, and wool -- which break down quickly given the right mix of soil, moisture, and air -- rather than polyester, nylon, rayon, and similar synthetics.
With these goals in mind, here are a few ways to thoughtfully fill your closet with clothes that you truly love, even more so because they come with less of an environmental cost:
While some folks may find it difficult or just plain annoying to sort through racks of clothes, shoes, and bags, others find it a bit thrilling to go on a “thrift hunt.” Thrift stores can be treasure troves for fun, beautiful, and funky items at a literal fraction of the price of buying new. When approaching a rack of clothes, set your mind to be on the lookout for specific fabric types (think, linen, cashmere, or wool), and as you thumb through the hangars you will find what you are looking for quickly.
APPS + WEBSITES
These apps and websites do much of the hard work for you, by documenting size, color, item type, and brand so you can easily sort and search. It’s not unusual to find NWT (new with tags) Girlfriend leggings on Poshmark, pristine Eileen Fisher cashmere sweaters on ThredUp, and made-to-order linen dresses on Etsy! We’ve also included a few Instagram pages where folks buy, sell, and barter for vintage and secondhand items, as well.
ThredUp - A little bit of everything, fast fashion to mid price, some designer brands
Poshmark - A lot of mid priced brands like Madewell and Anthropologie
The Real Real - Designer brands
Etsy - Vintage and handmade clothing
Noihsaf Bazaar - Instagram marketplace for vintage and ethical brands
Sell Trade Plus - Instagram marketplace for plus sized ethical brands
If you’re in the market for something shiny and new but want to make the smallest footprint possible, there are many sustainably-minded and ethical designers out there working hard to use materials that are environmentally friendly or neutral, while also producing beautiful clothing. To keep things short here, check out this extensive list by Good On You, as well as this one from the New York Post.
CLOTHING SWAPS - RIGHT HERE IN VANCOUVER!
One of our favorite ways to find new duds while also connecting with community is through hosting or attending clothing swaps. You may have heard about this concept in our previous interview with Kali Aevermann! You bring the clothes and accessories that just don’t spark joy anymore and, in turn, you get to peruse everyone else’s gently used cast-offs. At the end of the day, you’ll head home with some new items that cost only a bit of time and come with the bonus of chatting and connecting with like minded neighbors. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Lucky for you (and us), we are hosting our very first clothing swap, here at the store on August 28th from 10AM to 4PM and a Plus Size Clothing Swap from 4PM to 6PM. Bring your clean, gently used clothing, shoes, and accessories and come prepared for a good time with good finds. Any clothes left behind will be donated. We can’t wait to see you there!