People often tell me that they don’t think there is anything they can do to be more sustainable in their everyday lives, whether that’s because they don’t think they can afford to make large changes to their current lifestyle or because they don’t think that they can have any real impact as a single person.
While it’s true that much of the pollution and environmental damage done is by large companies, as consumers we can try to support more sustainable brands, or to reduce our own consumption since that is what we can control. We can hope that if enough people switch to shopping sustainably, brands will recognize sustainability as a priority of their consumers and begin to incorporate it into their manufacturing considerations.
What are some simple changes that everyone can make to be more environmentally conscious as a consumer?
1. Consume Less
Reduce how much you shop for clothing
Try to buy pieces that will last if you are able to. For example, if you can find a pair of jeans that will last a few years or longer, you won’t have to buy new jeans every year! Consumption reduced!
If possible, avoid buying too much of a style that you know will go out of style quickly, or that you might not like in a year or two. This is often hard to know in advance, but I try to analyze what kinds of pieces that I have bought in the past and worn the least. For example, I’ve noticed that clothing with bright colors is often something that I might purchase and not wear very often. I have also noted that I tend to get the most use out of maroon, black, white and grey clothing. By tracking your own purchase to use ratios, you can create similar conclusions and help identify pieces that you will enjoy for years to come. You can try an app like Closet+ or write down purchase and use observations in a journal to keep track of your own tendencies.
2. Repurpose What You Already Own
At altKEY, we LOVE to up-cycle and repurpose clothing. Our president Katie (a sustainable fashion icon) basically worships Ashley of the youtube channel best-dressed for her up-cycled pieces. Like Ashley, you can take items from your own closet and cut and sew them into entirely new pieces of clothing to update your wardrobe and keep your fashion repertoire fresh without increasing your clothing consumption.
3. Shop Sustainability
When you choose to purchase new items, try to buy from brands that are known for using sustainable methods of production. By shopping sustainably, you are supporting brands that are doing their best to reduce their waste and keep our planet healthy.
The app Good On You is a great start for comparing how sustainable different brands are. Check it out next time you are planning on making a purchase!
Ah, thrifting. Thrifting is such a complex issue that it will get a special blogpost soon on the topics of ethical thrifting. Keep an eye out for that one, especially if you are concerned about the impact that the increase in thrifting has had on poorer communities.
Until then, I’ll just keep it brief. Thrifting is a great option especially when sustainable brands are too expensive. Shopping at thrift stores can help reduce clothing waste and reduces your consumption of new materials. You can also repurpose thrifted items with the same up-cycling methods you might use on your own old clothes! The short version of ethical thrifting is to avoid buying in bulk, and avoid buying clothing items just to sell them for a marked up price. If people profit off reselling items from thrift shops, thrift shops often have to mark up their own prices to compete, which hurts people who rely on thrift shops as their main source of clothing.
**Check out our interactive thrift map in posts** Important Dates: 02/01 - Modeling & Dancer deadlines 02/25 - Preliminary Round (Designer Deadline) 02/28 - Semi-Finals Round 03/14 - Fittings & Dress Rehearsal 04/10 - The KEY, Fashion Show Important Links: -> check out our KEY tab! -> https://www.instagram.com/altkeyofficial/ -> https://discord.gg/BEJuvKQE75