But, if ecological is to become a mainstream thing, the responsibility is just as much on the shoulders of the consumer.
The consumer creates the demand, which in turn shape how the manufacturers produce their products. Every time you buy something, you inform the seller of what you want, increasing the business for that particular item. So, if you choose ethical and eco-friendly products, you can change what will ultimately become mainstream ingredients in food, or even how your clothing gets made. We can even be a part of deciding how the workers creating these products will be treated.
We the people have the power to change the way of the world, and with great power comes great responsibility, so use it wisely.
Personally, I have given up meat, I keep my electronics til they "just can't" anymore, and clothing is no less important on the road towards becoming an eco-friendly fashionista... or person.
The good news is that there are now more options available for the eco-friendly shopper, than a shopping free year or going second-hand. Going green is trendy, and between recycled materials, 3D printing, and fabric grown from bacteria, It's no longer just a shiny dream. Sustainable fashion is in our near future. So, why not get a head start on it .
If you're already one of those who try to do your part to save the environment, it can still be challenging if you don't know where to start, don't have enough money, have a challenging physical feature, or just can't find one of the more "green" brands in your area. The hard part is to be eco-friendly and still manage to have fun with the ever turning wheels of fashion. But don't despair, there are some very attainable solutions to help you get that "dream wardrobe" without pulling for the "wrong team".
I have already written some pieces on time saving outfits, eco-friendly shopping, and personal style, and in the spirit of fellow designer and eco-enthusiast, a.k.a. my bff Mia, and her "shopping free year", I got inspired to start a little project of my own. "Eco-express yourself", as I call it, is a style-series on that it's possible to be fashionable and creative with your style, throwing last years (and beyond's) fashion into the mix.
The core of this idea is putting the stuff you already own to good use, recycling fashion instead of bying something new every time you want to look stylish. Such as altering outdated clothing, or storing things till the style comes back in fashion and you feel like using it again.
I have been doing this for quite some time, and I can tell you that to be able to do this right, you do need to have a good closet to begin with. So, that's why I will be sharing some info on how to get there.
I have tried both, starting out as a really conservative shopper, and to no surprise feeling like I never had anything to wear (also, looking the part). Then evolving into understanding the importance of multiple choices and a well stocked wardrobe for successful dressing, which again started my "shopping era", buy first think later style. Finally, having that conservative consuming mentality on top of that, I couldn't get rid of anything, to the point of having to expand my closet or having a self-intervention. Not wanting to become a hoarder myself, I saw the need to change.
I ended up throwing out everything that was the wrong shape for my body type or not a flattering enough color.
Cleaning out the closet is a huge step towards mastering your wardrobe, and only after cutting my wardrobe in half, I was able to rebuild in a much more conscious way. You need to know what you actually have, to figure out what you need.
A few years later, I probably have the same amount of clothes that I had before the "purge", but the difference is that now I only have things I actually wear (or want to wear). I hardly ever buy anything new, because I feel like I have (more or less) everything I need. I have saved a lot of money on not buying the wrong things, and I honestly have something fitting to wear for pretty much any occasion right there in my wardrobe.
This proves to me that well planned shopping, thinking quality over quantity, recycling your fashion, and creating a wardrobe, instead of being a modern type consumer, bying and creating waste as quickly as the "trend carousel" can spinn, telling us we "NEED" new things, is a way for me to "do my part" for the environment without having to give up feeling well dressed.
In short, If you want something new. Try to really think about if It's just a desire, or an actual necessity.
Below, I have set up the guidelines in an orderly fashion, for a "get straight to the point" overview.
The trick is to think of your closet as a collection, and only shop for what's missing. Never just buy something because it's pretty or cool. Take notice of what you really need when roaming through your clothes getting ready, and make a list. This is a good way of preventing that impulse shopping, based on your feelings for that random shiny dress you just got a fleeting crush on (that you'll never get to wear). The key is to build a wardrobe where you can find an outfit for any occasion, without having to go shopping. Even if it's for work, a birthday party, camping, or a wedding. Too many of us have the "I have a hundred party tops, and yet I have nothing to wear" kind of closets. Or, the "I only have work clothes, and nothing fancy". It's all about finding that right balance.
Instead, spare the environment the pollution, and save money on buying long lasting quality items. This way, you can rather spend your money on replacing basics (Also, more left for the occasional splurge on fashion fabs).
HOW TO MASTER YOUR WARDROBE?
Step 1. Figure out who you are, and what style you like?
Step 2. What is your life really like? Do you need to be fancy for work, or wear sensible shoes?
Step 3. What flatters your shape, looks, and colors?
Step 4. Make step 1, 2 and 3 work together and for you.
It's all about figuring out who you are, what you like, and edit until you find a way to make that style look good on you.
Step 5. Get rid of the items that doesn't do you justice.
Step 6. Yes, after you clean out the unfitting and unflattering items from your closet, you probably will have to be a consumer and buy new stuff. But, this time be very selective, and think long term. Remember that fashion goes in cycles. In five to ten years those last years jeans could be the hottest thing again, so buy quality items and aim to reuse them. There are really only three good reasons to get rid of clothes.
1. It's not your shape or color (you will never wear that, so shop smarter the next time).
2. They're so worn out there is no hope for a salvage.
3. Give those previously mentioned things away to charity or someone else who will have a greater use for it (recycle).
Everything else can be reused, altered, repaired, or stored for a later time.
This philosophy is what keeps my closet fully stocked, and the reason why I haven't had to stress-buy anything new for an upcoming event (not even for Halloween) for the last three years. I actually, hardly ever buy new things other than replacing worn-out basics and favorites, and the occasional fashion find that has been on my closet's "missing list "for at least 6 months. If you can't forget about it, it's probably worth owning. If you do forget about it, you never needed it in the first place.
Also, don't forget that you can borrow clothes from friends, and vise versa. It's a good way to get a trend or an outfit out of your system, without having to buy unnecessary things.
Stay tuned for more looks from my functional closet-project, Eco-Express yourself, and Mia's shopping free year.