Why You Should Choose Sustainable Fashion


University of British Columbia

“Sustainable fashion” is a movement of change in the fashion industry, practicing environmental and social justice.

Charlize Quinto, Staff Writer

Two weeks ago, I went on my annual shopping spree but this time, it was different. I shop at the beginning of the year, to make way for a fresh start in my wardrobe. Every year, I would always shop for clothes at H&M or Pacsun. As I looked through my closet, I realized that almost half of my wardrobe comes from fast-fashion retailers. Fast-fashion retailers are shops like Forever 21, H&M, Fashion Nova, or Zara. These retailers sell trendy, cheap, and disposable clothing.

According to studies by Google, 20% of wastewater and 10% of carbon emissions come from the fast-fashion industry. In a way, the five-dollar dress you got from Fashion Nova and how it was made contributed to the harmful chemicals polluting the environment. 

Not only are fast-fashion retailers harmful to the environment, but these retailers practice harmful labor conditions. Workers who produce these cheap garments are paid at very low wages. For example, a shirt you bought for $19.99 was made by a person who was paid 19 cents

Fast-fashion has incredibly changed the way we dress. You have probably bought from these fast-fashion retailers; therefore, you are a part of the cycle. But, you can be a part of a change.

Deciding to shop with sustainable and ethical brands makes a huge difference for the planet, for the people, and for you. Sustainable clothing brands such as People Tree, Los Angeles Apparel, Patagonia, or Reformation approach fashion in an ethical and sustainable way. There are many sustainable clothing brands out there you can choose from and each can cater to your own personal style. 

Another way to sustainably shop is thrifting. Take a trip to your local thrift store. These stores have a plethora of second-hand clothing items. You can save a lot of money by recycling and saving the environment! In my recent thrifting trip, I found a vintage Tommy Hilfiger windbreaker worth $90+, but I got it for only two dollars. A real-life gem.

Going back to my annual “beginning-of-the-year” shopping spree, I chose to shop sustainably. I love clothes and fashion. Buying clothes with an ethically made, high-quality fabric is definitely worth the investment. It is expensive but the quality and love in these clothes (thrifted or not) are very special. A personal favorite, Los Angeles Apparel, is a high-quality and ethical alternative from American Apparel. I did pick up some shirts and a blue sweatshirt, which I love and adore. However, as a broke high school student, I mostly thrift and purchase unique, beautiful, and vintage clothing!

As a new year begins, one resolution you should consider is shopping sustainably. Donate your clothes, go to a charity/thrift store, or find ethical clothing brands that suit you. Making these conscious decisions may seem small but it makes a huge difference in changing the world.

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