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Sustainable Fashion

  • InLifestyle, Sustainable Fashion

    How Detoxing My Instagram Feed Made Me A Better Sustainable Shopper

    Building a sustainable closet or lifestyle in general can be intimidating. It takes changes in habit, new lifestyle choices, and a true passion for the life that you want to live. Changing any habit is tough, but it’s not impossible. Of course, it won’t happen overnight. But a simple step in the right direction can be as easy as detoxing your Instagram feed. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people is one of the best things you can do for your personal sustainable journey, and all it takes is a few “unfollows” and some added “follows.”

    Let’s just be honest, it is not always possible to surround yourself with people who believe the same things as you in real life. I learned that the hard way. While I did have friends that loved thrifting and making better choices for the environment, it was exhausting to try to explain every little life choice to some family and friends. There are some things that are worth explaining, like Rana Plaza or simple clothing washing tips. Then there are topics that I’ve researched in depth for a while that are just too much to lay on someone right away. Bottom line: in real life, I can’t be surrounded by people that are supportive and make empowering choices all the time. But I can be online.

    Detoxing my social media was one of the best things that I did for my sustainable journey. The task is simple, free, and totally empowering. It’s nearly impossible to change your life when you’re scrolling through Instagram and looking at bloggers buying new shoes, sweaters, and skirts every day. Or people from high school that you no longer have anything in common with. If you’re looking for permission to delete these people from your online life and follow who you really, truly want to, this is it.

    Like I mentioned before, detoxing an Instagram feed is one of the many ways to start or dive deeper into your sustainable lifestyle journey. It also happened to be the most impactful for me. There is no right or wrong way to detox your feed, but here are three simple steps to start your Instagram detox that really worked for me.

    1. Slowly unfollow people that only buy fast fashion.

    That blogger that’s always promoting her “super affordable” fast fashion finds? Unfollow. The friend you had in high school that spent more time at the mall than class? Gone from your feed. The people that you knew in college, but don’t have anything in common with anymore? Feed be gone. It’s that simple.

    This was a big step for me. Of course, I always want to support fellow blogs that I love and friends who love fashion. But ultimately I decided that it was not helping me to see new items promoted every single day on my feed. Instead of going through my friend list and deleting everyone in one fell swoop, I waited until they popped up on my feed. If it was something that wasn’t inspiring, I’d click their profile, decide if they’re worth having on my feed, and then hit “unfollow” if they weren’t. I still do this little trick today.

    Of course, I’m not saying that you have to get rid of everyone that isn’t living a sustainable life. This is your journey, and there are no rules. But you are what you constantly see, read, and think. The less time you spend looking at and being subconsciously influenced by, the easier your personal sustainability journey will be.

    2. Getting rid of brands that aren’t inspiring.

    Just about everyone follows some sort of brand of celebrity on Instagram. But it’s worth it to ask yourself, what are they adding to your feed? Brands and celebrities are often promoting every single thing they do. That’s a whole lot of marketing in your face and on your feed. Is the message that they’re promoting in line with your values? Do you genuinely love reading and seeing the content? These are all personal decisions that you can answer for yourself.

    Of course, there are some brands and celebrities that will be in-line with your personal values. You don’t have to unfollow everyone. These are simply just suggestions to curate the feed that’s right for you. People always talk about curating photos on their own grid. But we need to think of out feed as being curated as well. You can make the rules for what you want to see. It’s also worth it to remember that most brands and celebrities have public profiles, so deleting them from the feed doesn’t mean that you’ll never be able to see that content.

    3. Find people to follow that inspire you.

    Like I mentioned before, it was nearly impossible to surround myself with people in real life who have the same personal values as I do. It was much easier to do it online. Although it took some time and a few down-the-rabbit-hole moments, I have found a community online that I can comment back and forth with and get excited to see their content every day. Some of the people I love to follow are @the_spines, @petraalexandra, @thegreenedition, and @kate.eskuri. Not all of them have the same content as me or as each other, but I genuinely get excited when I see their posts pop up on my feed. That’s what Instagram is all about.

    You can do the exact same thing with brands. I love to follow brands that I’ve bought from and even the ones that I’d love to buy someday, especially if they have an incredible message. I follow brands that don’t push me to buy “right now” but ones that are genuinely inspiring.

    Now it’s time to curate your own feed. Think about the people and brands that you truly enjoying seeing on your timeline. You don’t have to follow people just because it’s your cousin or best friend’s bridesmaid or anyone for that matter. This is your personal feed to get inspired by. Think about it as your own personal vision board. It’s time that Instagram be a place of inspiring messages and positivity — and it can be if you make it that way.

    xx.

    8
  • InSustainable Fashion, Thrifting

    5 Ways To Build A Sustainable Closet That Cost Nothing

    When I first started building my sustainable closet, I didn’t actually know that I was building one. I knew that I loved to thrift and saving money was great. It just so happened that I found out about saving clothing from the landfill around the same time, which made me amp up my habit and stock my closet with only secondhand finds. It wasn’t until I downsized my closet, focused on fabrics, and decided to stock up on items that I knew would last that I decided to invest in some sustainable items. And, yes, let’s just get this out of the way now, sustainable clothing is expensive.

    Sustainably made items are priced higher for a few reasons, but that topic is for a different post. (If you’d like to dive into the price, this Live Planted podcast episode is a great start!) My point is that jumping into building a sustainable wardrobe is intimidating. It’s a huge task that can seem daunting. But there are three ways to start building your sustainable closet that are completely free. You won’t have to buy any fancy brands or throw everything out and start over. Because the truth is that building a sustainable wardrobe is all about focussing on what you already have.

    Sustainable fashion is a spectrum. There is no one way to build a sustainable closet, and not everyone does it the same. It’s important to know that before you start. There’s also not a check-list of how to be sustainable. You don’t get a new colored belt for reaching a new level or receive an award. Building a sustainable closet is a personal journey. It’s about keeping yourself accountable and staying true to your beliefs, while also helping the world and the people in it in the process.

    1. Know Your “Why”

    You will not succeed at building a sustainable closet if you don’t know why you’re doing it. That goes for just about anything in life. You need to know your reason why and you need to believe it. We all have our own reasons for going sustainable. Whether it’s to help the world, contribute to living wages around the world, or just to save money, there is no wrong or right reason. You just have to really, truly believe it.

    If you’re unsure of where to start, the documentaries The True Cost (available free on Netflix), River Blue (buy a digital download), and Sweatshop: Deadly Fashion (available on YouTube). These are great films to watch and even rewatch no matter where you are on your sustainable journey to remember why you’re on this journey.

    I find that keeping a fashion journal of brands I love, outfits that have become my favorite, and my little findings that I want to keep in mind. If you’d like to see how I do my fashion journal, I can definitely do a post about it.

    2. Stop Buying (Just For A Few Weeks)

    One of the best ways to go sustainable is to stop buying clothing for a period of time. I recommend starting with a week, or trying for two if you’re feeling ambitious. This gives you a chance to see what you’re thinking about on a daily basis. You might be surprised at how much you think about fashion. But the opposite of buying fast fashion doesn’t have to be buying from slow fashion brands. It can be simply taking a break from buying anything at all.

    I’m not saying that you should stop shopping forever. This is just a way to take a little break from buying any items and see what you think about on a daily basis. By slowing down your spending and shopping habits, you can focus on what you already own. It gives you a chance to see what your personal style is and what your closet could really benefit from when you’re ready to start buying again.

    3. Wear What You Own

    Contrary to what Instagram makes you believe, you don’t need a closet full of slow fashion brands to call yourself sustainable. You just need to get the most wear out of what you already have in your closet. It’s hard to appreciate the clothing that you have when you’re constantly adding new items to your closet. Take a step back, look at what you have, and celebrate the items that you own. Heck, you never know what you’ll find in the back of your closet.

    This is also a great way to nail down your personal style and take inventory of what you have. You bought the items in your closet for a reason. The best way to figure out your personal style is to look at what you already own and work your way from there. You can also downsize the closet that you own, donate items that you know you’re not wearing, and have a better grip of your closet if you do decide to add to it. You know, instead of just buying more hangers and shoving items in.

    4. Change The Way You Wash

    This tip is so simple that you might not even realize it’s a way to go sustainable. But by stepping back, reading labels and changing your washing habits, you can truly become more sustainable without spending any money at all.

    First of all, read your labels. Taking the extra time to look at how your items need to be washed will prevent them from shrinking, tearing, or stretching out. You won’t have to buy new items, because you’re taking care of the items that you already have.

    Wash on cold. It’s so simple and so effective. Lower temperatures protect the dyes and prevent items from shrinking. While we’re here, you can also try skipping the dryer by air-drying some of your clothing. It saves energy and helps your clothing hold up better.

    Lastly, wash your clothing in like-colors. You know, darks with darks, lights with lights, colors with colors. This helps the colors keep their hue. You won’t have to worry about your whites turning pink or getting rid of clothing because they get beat up in the wash.

    5. Borrow From A Friend

    Okay, so you stopped shopping, looked at what you own, and are still feeling the need to shop. Instead of shopping at the store, shop your friend’s closet. Borrow isn’t just sustainable, it’s really freaking fun. This is the perfect opportunity to “try on” a style that you’ve been dying to. And it comes at no cost to you or the environment.

    Let’s be honest, your friend will probably be flattered that you asked. Plus it’ll be fun to get together and explore each other’s closet. Just make sure that you’re taking care of the item(s) that you borrow and give them back in a timely manner. If you end up liking the item enough, you can start looking for it at the thrift store or invest in the item from a sustainable brand.

    There is no right or wrong way to go sustainable. This is your journey, so do what’s right for you and make your own rules. The only wrong way to go sustainable is to do nothing at all.

    xx.

    4
  • InSustainable Fashion, Thrifting

    All The Places To Donate Your Unwanted Clothing — That Aren’t The Thrift Store

    It’s springtime. The flowers are blooming, the days are longer, and you’re probably eager to swap out all those sweaters in your closet for something a little more springy. In other words, it’s closet cleanout time. Whether you’re going full-Kondo or just doing some tweaks here and there, all of those unwanted items have to go somewhere. As good as you might feel about doing all of your spring cleaning, it’s important not to forget about where all of your unwanted clothing items are going after they’ve left your house.

    Cleaning out a closet can be a long, daunting task as it is. I get that. But just throwing unwanted clothing items into a bag and sending it to the thrift store just simply isn’t working anymore. Part of this, as you might already know, comes from the big boom of Kondo-ing a house. After Marie Kondo made her Netflix debut, people started donating items in extremely high quantities. (It’s the same problem that happened after the book came out, I’d like to add.) Kondo does not give practical recycling or disposal tips, which I personally see as one of the downfalls to how she approaches home cleanouts.

    Secondhand shops cannot physically handle the number of donations that they are getting. That means that some of those items will most likely go to the landfill. According to TIME, some thrift stores even had to restrict donations after the Marie Kondo show came out on Netflix. Storage is already a problem in many thrift stores, and some places even have to pay to dispose of the items that it cannot sell. That defeats the purpose of donating items.

    But even if you’re not into Kondo-ing your home, it’s nice to find new, local alternatives to where your clothing is going. Believe it or not, there are plenty of non-profits that are putting specific clothing items to good use. Yes, it takes a little bit longer to separate dress clothes from loungewear and workout gear from denim, but it really does pay off. If your main goal is to keep item out of the landfills, then the below alternatives for donating are for you.

    Workwear

    Dress For Success

    Dress For Success has 153 offices in 29 countries, so there’s likely one around you ready to take your unwanted women’s workwear off your hands. It’s a not-for-profit organization that has a goal to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing them the support, resources, and clothing that they need. You can donate your gently used professional attire, give a monetary donation, or volunteer directly. This is a great way to give your unwanted blazers, dresses, and trousers a new, meaningful purpose.

    Jails To Jobs

    This non-profit organization teams up with local community organizations to collection workplace clothing for men and women that have recently been released from jail. They take everything from blazers and blouses to suits and shoes to give to people who need a little help getting back on their feet after being incarcerated. There’s a national directory on the website for the places you can donate. Each person must sign up and qualify to receive assistance, and the organization also offers tattoo removal and job training.

    Career Gear

    Career Gear is a non-profit based in New York City and takes specifically men’s workwear. The organization gives to low-income men who need help finding a job. It also offers job and life skill training. If you’re not in the area, you can mail in your gently used casual and formal menswear. The organization also takes accessories like watches, hats, and bags as well. The only catch is that it will cost you to send them in. As an added bonus, Career Gear has a green initiative on the website as well.

    Workout Clothing

    RunningWorks

    Any gently used workout clothing or accessories can be sent to RunningWorks. It’s a non-profit that provides career development, mental health counseling, group therapy and help with housing for the homeless. To donate, email info@runningworks.org to get an address to send to.

    Patagonia

    If your workout gear is from Patagonia, the brand will take it right back when you’re done with it. You can ship the clothing to Patagonia Service Center at 8550 White Fir Street in Reno, NV (89523-8939). You can also take it to participating Patagonia stores near you. The brand will make sure that the items get recycled and stay out of the landfill.

    Shoes

    Soles4Souls

    Soles4Souls takes unwanted shoes and gives them a purpose again. The non-profit creates sustainable jobs, repairing the worn out shoes that get donated, and give them to those in need. You can donate your shoes at your local DSW or Zappos.

    Nike

    Nike will take any old tennis shoes for its’ Reuse-A-Shoe Program. The program takes old tennis shoes and turns them into high performance surfaces around the country. You can donate any brand of tennis shoe to any Nike store.

    Denim

    Blue Jeans Go Green

    Cotton Incorporated came up with this program that turns unwanted denim into insulation for Habitat For Humanity homes. The program accepts any colored denim in ay condition. You can ship them directyl to the brand, using the mailing labels on the website. Or you can take them to any Madewell, Rag & Bone or American Eagle store to get 10% off a pair of jeans while you’re there.

    Bras

    Free The Girls

    Yes, even your bras can be donated somewhere other than the thrift store. This non-profit takes used bras and give them to survivors of human trafficking to sell in their country. Women can start a safe business and earn living wages. You can donate to Free The Girls at 1552 Pioneer Trail Chesterton, IN (46304). The website also has drop-off sites throughout the country.

    Harper Wilde

    When you buy a bra from Harper Wilde, the brand will send you a return label to send back all of your used bras. The brand collects them to turn them into new bras. Of course, there’s the catch that you have to buy one first.

    These recycling steps take a little more effort than just throwing them into a bag, but it is worth it. When we can get items directly to where they can be reused, they have a better chance of staying out of the landfill. Of course, there are plenty of local places to take your clothing as well. There are always clothing banks or even just friends in the area who are us for a swap. That’s the magic of clothing.

    xx.

    4
  • InLifestyle, Sustainable Fashion

    What Is The 30×30 Challenge? The Month-Long Wardrobe Experiment Will Help You Make The Most Of Your Closet

    I used to have a knack for justifying owning a lot of clothes. I love experimenting with it, styling outfits in different ways, and hunting for new items at the thrift store. So when it came to putting it all away, I’d get creative with storage or buy those thin hangers so I could fit more. It wasn’t until we moved into our apartment that I realized that owning a lot of clothes was hurting my style instead of helping. Although I had tons of different options, none of them seemed to go together. Even worse, none of them were really me.

    Downsizing was the best thing that ever happened to my closet. I found that the fewer items in my closet, the easier it is to get dressed in the morning. Each time that I downsize my closet, my job gets easier and easier. That’s why I’ve decided to join Petra Alexandra’s May 30×30 Challenge.

    For one month, I’ll be wearing only 30 items. (Get it? 30×30.) The items include tops, bottoms, shoes, and jackets. Everything that I’ll need for the month, not including loungewear. Basically, it’s a seasonal capsule collection of items that all go together in different ways.

    The rules of the 30×30 Challenge are simple. You wear only the 30 closen items for the entire month. You can re-wear any items as often as you’d like and trade out things early on if you notice that they’re not working. The idea isn’t to limit yourself with items. It’s to show you how versatile the items are in your closet. You can experiment with different layering and re-wear items in new ways.

    I had a really fun time putting together my 30 items. I started with my staple work pants, jeans, and a handful of tops that I find myself wearing all the time. From there, I added in some color and shoes to go with it all. When I had all of my favorites laid out, I had about four more spots to fill with newer items that I have been wanted to add to my spring collection. Honestly, I just went with the items that I really love, will work for different occasions, and are really, truly me.

    Here’s what I’ll be wearing in the month on May…

    Tees

    Dressier Tops

    • Old Navy Polka Dotted, Tie-Back Top*
    • Silk Sage Tank Top*
    • Floral Green Open Blouse*

    Button-Ups

    • Universal Thread Denim Button-Up*
    • Billy T White Button-Up*
    • Love Notes Blue & White Striped Button-Up*

    Dresses

    Sweaters

    • Brown Cardigan*
    • Burnt Red Cardigan*
    • GAP Cream Sweater*
    • Oversized Gray Sweatshirt*

    Bottoms

    • White Wide-Leg Pants*
    • American Eagle High-Rise Jeans*
    • American Eagle Black Culottes*
    • Banana Republic Black Dress Pants*
    • Nicole Alex Lola Leggings
    • Old Navy Black Pencil Skirt*

    Jackets

    • Jean Jacket
    • Tan Cargo Jacket*

    Shoes

    *Items that have been thrifted.

    This is my very first time doing a clothing challenge like this. I have no idea if all of these items will work well together or what outfits I will put together for the entire month. But experimenting with clothing is the only way to figure out what works for you. At the end of the day, it’s only clothes. Who knows — maybe I’ll fall in love with my smallest wardrobe yet.

    xx.

    7
  • InLifestyle, Sustainable Fashion

    3 Sustainable Living Podcasts That I’ve Been Loving Lately

    You are what you surround yourself with. You’ve probably heard it before, but, trust me, it’s true. When I first started my sustainable fashion journey, I didn’t have anyone in my life to talk about it with. Yes, I had a few close editors and a great friend group that loved to hear about my journey. But there was no one that completely got what or why I was so committed to this new purposeful fashion journey. There was no one to swap sustainable shopping tips with or grab a coffee and talk about our latest thrift finds.

    Then I found sustainable living podcasts.

    Podcasts truly changed my sustainable lifestyle journey. With them, I had the ability to surround myself with advice. I could go out, grab a coffee, and listen to like-minded people. Or drive to work every morning with a virtual passenger telling me all about mindful shopping, the progress of organic cotton, and more.

    Now, I’m not saying that I didn’t talk to my friends and family about all things sustainable. If you know me even just a little bit, you know that I love to talk about my passions. (I’m not saying that I get drunk and talk about fair wages for garment workers… but okay, yes, that happens sometimes.) It’s just really nice — especially at the beginning of going sustainable — to have something to open your mind up to new topics.

    I listen to a lot of different podcasts, but there are three that I instantly listen to as soon as I see that there are new episode. Green Dreamer, Conscious Chatter, and Wardrobe Crisis are my go-to podcasts. I love the spirit of them, the positive advice, and the incredible interviewing skills. Because, let’s just be honest, there’s nothing worse than listening to terrible interviews. All of the hosts are knowledgeable but approachable, serious but proactive, and don’t pretend that they’re perfect. Each woman is on their own sustainable journey, just like you are.

    No matter where you’re at in your sustainable journey, these podcasts will be the support and encouragement that you need. By all means, surrounding yourself with people IRL is incredible. But if you’re not there yet, or you’re just looking to learn a little more, then these podcasts are for you.

    Here’s a little bit more about my favorites…

    Green Dreamer

    This podcast covers everything from fashion to farming to mindfulness with one main theme — sustainability. Most of the podcasts are done interview-style by Kaméa Shane, who is an incredible interviewer.

    Kaméa summarizes what you’re hearing while you’re hearing it so that you don’t get lost along the way. I absolutely love how diverse the topics are and knowing that I’m going to learn something new with every single episode. Also, stay until the very end, because the five rapid-fire questions at the end are just as great as the rest of the episode.

    My favorite episodes (so far) are… 101 Ways To Go Zero Waste With Kathryn Kellogg, How Mindfulness Can Lead To A Healthier & More Sustainable World, and Everything We Need To Know About Microplastic Pollution Right Now With Rachael Miller.

    Conscious Chatter

    While this podcast does have a heavy focus on fashion, it’s got a little bit of everything else sprinkled in-between. Each brand spotlight goes way beyond the product or service and into a bigger conversation about the world. The podcast takes an interview style but has a little storytelling and action steps that we can actually take to make a difference.

    Kestrel picks thoughtful topics every single week. From her own personal sustainable clothing brand to the flower industry to publishing living wages, this podcast will have you binging the entire 150+ episodes and waiting every week for more. You’ll become obsessed in the best possible way and feel inspired to do more in your own personal life and your community.

    My favorite episodes (so far) are… Remake + Made In Mexico, Able, Living Wages, + The Importance Of Publishing Them, and Farmgirl Flowers + The Dirt On The Flower Industry.

    Wardrobe Crisis

    This is the heaviest of the three, conversation wise. The conversations are deep and the experts are wise, but, no matter where you’re at in your sustainable journey, you’ll be happy to be a fly on the wall in the conversations. Even as someone who has been into sustainable fashion for a few years, I still am surprised by the guests and brands that she highlights. Topics include everything from the green carpet, upcycling, and politics and fashion.

    Clare Press has written two books — Wardrobe Crisis and Rise & Resists — about, well, fashion and activism. I haven’t read them yet, but you better believe that they’re on my to-read list. She talks in an informal conversation style and adds in the most lovely commentary. Like mentioned before, it’s a little bit more fast pace than the others, but it’s worth the listen.

    My favorite episodes (so far) are… Fighting Fashion Waste With Redress’s Christina Dean, and Outland Denim’s James Bartle On Fighting Human Trafficking & Creating Positive Opportunity.

    I love to listen to these three podcasts on my way to work, running errands, and even at the gym. What I love the most about them is that they inspire and uplift the listener, even though the topics may seem heavy. Surrounding yourself with positive conversation in just one click? It doesn’t get better than that.

    xx.

    6
  • InSustainable Fashion

    The One Way To Instantly Make Your Shopping More Sustainable

    You’re shopping secondhand, selling on Poshmark, and asking brands who made there clothes. What’s next? The answer is hiding in your pantry or maybe even your trunk. Using reusable shopping bags is the one way to instantly make your shopping more sustainable. It’s really that simple. So many people are taking their reusable bags to the grocery store or the farmer’s market. Yet no one is doing the same at the thrift shop. I’m here to ask why.

    Seriously though, why is no one doing this? It’s completely normal to put your freshly purchased food in a reusable bag, but there aren’t that many people taking them shopping with them. According to Earth Policy, “a trillion single-use plastic bags are used every year, nearly 2 million each minute.” Yes, you read that right. A lot of those bags come from grocery stores, but a whole lot of them also come from in-store shopping.

    B.Y.O.B. — bring your own bags to the grocery store and the farmer’s market. But also bring them to your next shopping spree.

    I have made it a point to start bringing my reusable bags everywhere with me. Now, I’m not saying that I remember my reusable bag every time that I go to the thrift shop, but, when I do, I feel so awkward using it. People working at the store are honestly confused when I let them know that I brought my own bag. Heck, my own mom looked at me like I was crazy when she saw me walk through the double, automatic doors.

    Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

    I am baffled that reusable bags are the norm at every single grocery store ever, but not at the mall or thrift shop or outlet store. Of course, I’m not the first person to bring a reusable bag with me. But when I’m in line at the grocery store, I see at least five people stocking their reusable bags. When I’m at the thrift shop, I see no one. I can’t remember ever seeing one at the mall, either.

    It’s time to change the norm around reusable bags.

    Let’s use them for everything — not just food. Like I said, I know that I’m not the only person that brings reusable bags to clothing stores. Instead of feeling weird that I’m using a reusable bag at the store, I want people who don’t use them to feel weird.

    Okay, so I’m getting a little bit passionate about reusable bags, but that’s because I am. Bringing a bag with you saves energy, waste, and wildlife. That’s well worth a few awkward stares, if you ask me.

    xx.

    1