When you first go green, making a Google search for sustainable brands will give you plenty of results. This is what I'd like you to consider first step actions - searching out companies that are already "there". Supporting brands in alignment with sustainable standards is definitely always encouraged. What are your sustainable standards? The ultimate concept includes fair trade production and organic construction. These key ideas support social responsibility and low human impact on the environment. But do you also include vegan standards in your fashion purchases?
Many trendsetters are choosing to wear the latest fluffy, furry trending coats this season and doing so in vegan furs. I have also seen many vegan leather options available due to the rising demand of the trend this season. You should be aware ethics of vegan furs are still being debated. Of course, the production harms no animal, but does it encourage real fur as a trend?
My opinion lies with Ashley Palmer who's article can be found on PETA's website [find suggestions and insights from her PETA article here].
I often find myself browsing online fashion, purveying new, sustainable brands with interesting design. An article from Alle Connell caught my attention. I loved the avant-garde aesthetic of the independent label she ran across on Instagram and reviewed [read her article]. I especially enjoyed the selection of clothing from a category called "All Black Everything" (go THERE yourself). This is when I dug in. Generally, a look at an "About Us" or "FAQ" page on a website can reveal a label's ideology. I was pleased to hear Marigold Shadows used only vegan fur and leather.
As you may be chillingly aware, it's very cold this winter. My southern bones begged for a warmer coat. They had beautiful faux fur coat options. I was just a little late to the party; they sold out before I could decide on my favorite coat (sign up for email notifications - check).
I wasn’t done dreaming of warmer winter options and proceeded to the vegan leather. A great, affordable way to supplement your wardrobe is with the Zuriel Fingerless Gloves, $20. There were about 24 other vegan leather items on their site last check. I highly suggest you take a look.
Now comes my next-step moment. If you are already supporting sustainable goods, what else can you do? I liked Marigold Shadows' style so much, I sent an email. Since they were furry friend friendly, what other sustainable practices do/can they support? Due to their timely response and open dialog, I was able to learn that the owner approved working conditions when she made an in-person inspection before her venture began. The company started up as a small niche boutique. When it made sense, they made the switch to an online boutique.
Instead of making large runs on items, their philosophy thrives on short orders, or smaller quantities available for each item. This method ensures sold out items return only with more interest via request, which cuts down on fashion waste. I was even more pleased to hear they were interested in what I was looking for, what standards I was hoping to find, and in researching ways to solve some of my concerns.
I want to thank the ladies at Marigold Shadows for the conversation and beautiful clothing. This is what we should hope for - a constructive dialog where voices matter and the power of my dollars drive awareness. This is the next step. Contact places where you want to find sustainable options. Let them know your concerns. Encourage people to make sustainable choices.
FASHIONISTA TIP - One of the pieces I decided to buy (below) will allow me to get more use out of items I already own, and for only $15.00.
Meet Erin. Erin is a creative individual who loves her planet. She loves to learn and can be caught listening to NPR or playing TED Talks podcasts on her lunch break.
Erin feels that she has done a pretty good job at keeping a low carbon footprint. She recycles, lives in a tiny house, and has been eco-conscious long before she made her old Brownie Troop Adopt-A-Mile. She even works with an organic beauty brand in a repurposed movie theater.
One day at work she heard about a great documentary called "Racing Extinction". After watching this documentary, Erin thought there must be more she could do for her planet.
Erin also loves fashion. And it never occurred to her to shop for clothing the same way she shops for groceries, personal care, and cleaning supplies. So she began to research. She learned two things. One, the fashion industry has a long way to go before it can be considered fair trade and sustainable. Two, fashion with a conscious is not readily in supply in her area.
Erin is just a person - one person. But she thought that by raising awareness, more people would have the same realization she did, that one person could turn into two….and two into three…, and eventually consumer-driven demand would change the way fashion is made.
But let's back up. Here are two more things you need to know, two words really - fast fashion. This is the mass produced, cheap clothing you can find everywhere. In fact, it's so cheap and accessible, we tire of it quicker. Most of it ends up in landfills. Americans average 70 pounds of discarded clothing per person, per year. And did you know where your donated items may end up? Think about this - it is very possible some article of clothing you tossed will have traveled to more places than you have been.
Erin thought about this. Which is why she made a dress from unconventional items that were being discarded. If anymore of her belongings were to make such a long journey, it should do so with purpose. Now these refashioned items are travelling the globe to spread awareness about sustainable fashion. Then maybe one person would change the way they purchase clothing; then one into two…and two into three…
Want to help put a HAULTE to fast-fashion? Drop us a line.
Artists have long made a tradition of seeing the beauty in all things - taking something, now rubbage, and making it beautiful yet again. This is truth. What is even more truthful? The importance of waking up our society to a larger, more eco-conscious vision of the future.
Throw away fashion hit it's peak in 2015. Cheap, super-stylish, mass-produced clothing was readily available - quality aside and business ethics not on the minds of consumers. Now there is momentum for change.
A responsibility to make cruelty-free, fair trade purchases is at the forefront of an eyes-wide-open generation. The evolution of awareness is here.
The pitch: Send a dress made from recycled materials around the world to drive awareness for sustainable fashion. At each stop, a fellow artist will capture a unique image that will echo our mission to change the way we think about fashion. This is where the transformation starts.
Put a #HUALTE to unethical fashion. It's time to Un-Dress!