Feasible Fashion: To educate the public on various sustainable fashion methods that conserve our Earth’s resources

By National Youth Council Vice-President Ria T.

Imagine this: you realize that you do not have the latest brands like all your friends do. You want to keep up with the trends, but it costs so much money these days for just one item. However, now, you realize you can buy what is called fast fashion. Fast Fashion focuses on speed and low costs, rather than quality. It is designed to be replaced quickly. Because of this, clothing ends up falling apart and filling landfills. In the U.S, only 10% of the donated clothes gets resold. This means that 13 million tons of our clothes ends up in landfills in the U.S alone. That is equivalent to filling a football field 14 feet deep with clothes! In addition to this, the fashion industry’s CO2 emissions are projected to increase by more than 60% to nearly 2.8 billion tons per year by 2030. Landfills are bad for both the environment as well as the municipal budgets. They cost millions of dollars to build and operate. What can we do about this? The first is to upcycle your clothes. Through recycling, we can cut down these costs. If we recycle 100 million pounds of clothes, we would simultaneously remove the amount of emissions that 26,000-35,000 cars would produce. You can also swap clothes that are in perfectly good shape! Going to a consignment store also will help (and you will even get a percentage of the sales!). Another option is to donate your clothes to people who cannot afford proper clothes. Lastly, you can repurpose your clothes! With some creativity, old items can become brand new again! This is a perfect option for those who are interested in DIY projects. For example, old t- shirts make perfectly good pillow cases!

Another way to help solve this issue is by shopping at sustainable brands. Most of the time, fast-fashion brands are extremely unsustainable, so you should try and support local “slow-fashion” businesses. Patagonia is one of the best in ethical clothing. Another good option is Athleta because 60% of its products are made with sustainable materials. Everlane audits every single factory for ethical guidelines. Amour Vert sources fibers from all over the world, and focuses on choosing more sustainable options when possible. Reformation calculates environmental footprint based on carbon dioxide emissions, water usage, and waste produced in what it calls the “Refscale” to help understand the impact of each garment. Eileen Fisher buys and resells old clothing, and reduces waste at every step of their production. Cuyana builds factories near raw materials to reduce transportation carbon footprint. Levi’s reduces water consumption during jean-making process. Alternative Apparel uses organic cotton and recycled materials. These are all examples of companies that rock the sustainable fashion process. It is important to note that some companies are sustainable, but are one of the worst fast-fashion stores. An example of this is H&M. By being aware of the stores that practice good sustainable methods and are not fast fashion-stores, we can make better more informed decisions on the topic.

It is also important to have sustainable fashion icons we can look up to for inspiration on this issue. One truly amazing sustainable icon is Emma Watson. She has consistently shown her passion for sustainable, eco friendly fashion. She participated in the Green Carpet Challenge, where she not only wore sustainable fashion, but also inspired others to participate in eco friendly campaigns as well. Emma says “each and every part of this beautiful gown has been produced with sustainability in mind…truly beautiful things should be worn again and again and again.” In addition to this, she often posts on social media what she is wearing and how it is sustainable, prompting the youth to want to follow her practices.

Emma Watson truly is an inspiration for all generations for her work in trying to promote the sustainable cause. For more inspiration, check out her instagram (@the_press_tour).

Why does all this matter? As we head into the holiday season, we should be aware that the places we shop at and the items we buy all have an effect on the environment. We have the power to limit the detrimental effects, and instead promote good sustainable practices. By spreading awareness, our goal is to educate the public in order to make good, eco friendly, sustainable choices. So next time when you are in the stores, remember that your actions can have either a positive or negative impact on the environment!