BY SELLING YOUR USED CLOTHES
This is a new series in the eco-style genre, focusing on several ways to live a more sustainable and ethical fashion existence. The goal is to help improve the fashion industry by sending them a message, one changed habit at a time.
To help the rookies make the transition over to "slow fashion", I will bring attention to some of the great ways you can lessen your carbon footprint, and prove that it's more easily attainable than you would think.
In this post I will share how (the beautiful and talented singer) Lise Mæland and I, tried what it was like selling our used clothes at a vintage market, "Vestkanttorget" in Oslo, Norway.
The world now consumes about 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year. This is 400% more than the amount we consumed just 20 years ago. As new clothing comes into our lives, we also discard it at a shocking pace. 2/3 of the clothes produced each year, end up in landfills within the end of that same year. The fact that clothing production has doubled only in the last 10 years, makes that an even bigger environmental problem that just seem to keep growing. The average American now generates 82 pounds of textile waste each year. That adds up to more than 11 million tons of textile waste from the U.S. alone. Historically, clothing has been something we have held onto for a long time, but with cheap clothing now abundantly available we are beginning to see the things we wear as disposable. The result is, massive productions and a lot of resources used, for things we use briefly and then stow away or throw away to buy new stuff as the trends change.
About 4.7 billion pounds of clothing are donated by Americans each year. Only 10% of the clothes we donate to charity are considered good enough to being resold in the retail store. The rest of that ends up in landfills, some of it is recycled into rags and insulation, and some of it ends up in the markets of Sub-Saharan Africa where it collapses their own clothing industry. In the last 10 years, local industries, such as garment-making and tailoring in these countries, have collapsed, leaving hundreds of thousands of workers unemployed. People will argue that the second-hand clothing industry in Africa is booming, but the global trade of second-hand clothing is a multi-billion dollar industry for developed countries. With our clothing waste being sent overseas by the tons, there’s little chance of African countries, as a whole, developing their own textile trade. Over one-third of Sub-Saharan Africans wear second-hand, and the reality is that for as long as the second-hand clothing industry thrives, African economy is unlikely to improve.
Another important thing to consider, is that most of the clothing being produced in fast fashion is not biodegradable, and end up at garbage dumps where it release toxic fumes into the air for about 200 years.
Maybe it's time western society took responsibility for the damage it's causing the world as a whole, and not depend on third world countries to keep "paying" for it by keeping their standard of living low, so we can keep ours high? Maybe we should start buying and selling our own used clothes and create a circular economy, so that Africa too can get to raise their standard of living and create their own industry, instead of only having to wear our scraps? And don't even get me started on the state of the garment workers rights in Asia, but I'll leave that topic for another post. (Or you can read more here.)
Luckily, as the general public has gotten more and more environmentally conscious about what they buy, second-hand has become just another great way of being able to shop guilt free while lowering your carbon footprint. Buying second hand fashion has gone from being a thing for the people who couldn't afford new clothes, to becoming a full blown trend for the fashionable. Vintage shopping has actually been a source of originality for the fashionistas for quite some time now. As fast fashion has grown and trendy clothes has become more accessible, the risk of wearing the same has increased and by association become less exclusive. Exclusivity and originality has always been the drive of fashion, and you need to be an original, as well as one step a head to be a trend setter. The reason why second-hand clothes is so sustainably fashionable, is that you're getting a one of a kind piece that you won't see on anyone else in your close proximity. In short, second-hand clothes offers the exclusivity of high fashion with the respectability of vintage.
I actually loved having a little "pop-up, second-hand shop" for the day. It was so much fun! Not only did I get to spend the day in the sun with my friend, but it also felt great to get some money back for the clothes we didn't have use for anymore. The best part however, was knowing we were doing something positive for the environment by giving our clothes a second chance at life, as well as contributing to a circular economy. Especially since some of the clothes we were selling were second-hand bought to begin with, which makes them third-hand clothes, I guess? Afterwards we donated the leftovers to charity. This is definitely a thing I'm going to repeat, and now that I've tried it once it doesn't seem as complicated as I originally thought it would be. Lise had done it before, so I greatly benefited from her experience, which made it a lot more straight forward as I came prepared. All you need to do, is to search the internet for places to sell, like this "vintage market", figure out how much it cost to have a stand there, bring you own paper, markers, clothing racks, hangers, and tables. These items are very inexpensive at IKEA for those who don't already own it. Bring water, a snack, and cash for the payment and change. The Paypal app is also a helpful tool. The only downside, is that you have to pay 50 euro to be able to sell there, even if you have your own racks, tables, and hangers. So, you will have sell for more than that sum to earn something. In my opinion, it should be cheaper, so that it will encourage more people to try this. Norway is an incredibly expensive country though, so it's hopefully more cost-efficient other places.
WOULDN'T YOU RATHER BE
want to know why you should change to an eco-friendly
and ethical lifestyle? READ THE FULL INTRODUCTION POST
BY clickING here.
Sources: The documentary "The true cost" movie, "Fair Trade: The first step", and the series "Sweatshop", https://www.one.org/us/2014/03/14/what-really-happens-to-your-donated-clothing/
A non profit brand selling lovely wrist bands to help provide safe drinking water to people in need.
Thank you so much to Wristsposible for these two beautiful wrist bands. For every Wristsponsible band you buy, 100% of the proceeds go towards helping provide safe drinking water to people in need around the world. If you too want to support this great cause, go to @wristsponsible or wristsponsible.com for more information.
Website is www.wristsponsible.com
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I got the wristbands for free, however I would never promote anything I don't belive in on IdealistStyle.com. I was not paid to promote this. I chose to promote it because it's a great cause and a non profit.
LEMON DRESS ALTERATION
Please enjoy the DIY part, of the "Eco-Express Yourself" series.
In short, same girl, ill fitted clothes, new style.
If you haven't read any of the previous post's explaining the purpose of the "Eco-Express yourself, Recycle fashion" series, click right here, or scroll down for a quick repeat after the photos.
In this part of the series, I will go into the value of salvaging clothes and breathe new life into them.
What I'm wearing.
DIY altered lemon printed dress, found online. Unknown brand, and no tag in the dress. See below for before photo and information about the process.
The brown faux leather belt is about 5 years old.
The gold bracelet is about 3 years old.
The white cat eye sunglasses are one and a half years old, and a newer addition to my collection. I like having retro style sunglasses in a few different colors, so that I have one for each base color.
I have gotten really picky about what I buy these past few years, and won't buy anything unless it checks all the boxes. Style ☑️ , Shape ☑️ , Length ☑️ , Color ☑️ , Material ☑️ . I've found that if these criteria haven't been met, I'm not going to use the piece of clothing enough for it to be worth buying. This can make it difficult to find anything that works, especially if my body type don't correlate with the trends at the time, or if I want something in an unique style.
That said, having a system in place doesn't keep you from making the occasional mistake, and this was one of those times.
I've wanted a retro style, lemon print dress for so long, so when I found one with the right length and shape online, I took a chance and figured I could make it work (even though buying without trying, is very risky). When it arrived it truly was close to perfect, except for the puffy doll sleeves. The sleeves were made using an elastic band wrinkle effect, that just made the whole dress look incredibly cheap. It didn't pay off to return it, so the only option I had left was to alter it and try salvage the dress. Having made a decision to live a more sustainable life, I couldn't just not use it and buy another one, or throw it away. Even donating clothes is not the most environmental solution, so buying less and taking care of what you already have is really the best option. Luckily for me, this problem was an easily fixed one. The dress only needed minor changes, and removing and finishing the sleeves was done in a few hours. No sewing machine required, as it could all be done with a pair of seam rippers, needle, and thread.
It was well worth the extra work, and it has now become one of my favourite dresses. When I wore it to my grandmothers 90th birthday, she told me she had one just like it when she was young. That just made this dress even better. There is also something special about finally having the dress you've wanted for so many years, and knowing that it's a dress you want to keep using for a really long time. Thinking quality over quantity has really been a blessing in disguise.
I used seam rippers to take off the sleeves, then I cut small incisions at the front and back of the arm hole to better shape the arm opening. Once the arm hole was fitted to my liking, I used invisible stitching on the inside of the dress, to make sure nothing would be visible on the front to get that smooth seamless look. I did this so I didn't have to pick a part the entire top part of the dress to do a perfect lining. It's not going to look as good on the inside as a perfect lining, but it saves a lot of time.
"Getting my hands dirty" and repair, alter, and create my own designes, has done wonders for both my wardrobe and my conscience. Did I mention that sewing is really therapeutic? And not as difficult as you'd think. It's actually the perfect solution to most shopping problems.
THE GOLDEN WARDROBE RULES
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).
TO READ THE INTRODUCTION TO THE "ECO-EXPRESS YOURSELF" SERIES,
OR WANT MORE TIPS ON HOW TO GET YOUR WARDROBE IN ORDER,
(Source: The photos are mine, except the before photo of the dress. That came from the seller. Information about the environment is from "The True Cost Movie" and you can see more at https://truecostmovie.com/learn-more/environmental-impact/.)
ETHICAL AND PERSONALIZED STYLE, FOR A "GOOD FOR YOU" WARDROBE.
Idealist style is a website and "slow blog" dedicated to ethical fashion and personalized style, including tips on how to find your very own "slow fashion" style by using color analysis, the body types system, and other slow fashion tips.»