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Sustainable Fashion

  • 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.

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  • 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
  • Inposhmark, Sustainable Fashion

    My New Poshmark Strategy Is A Game-Changer For Your Closet

    If there are two things that I thoroughly enjoy, it’s thrifting and helping people build a more functional closet. Both of those combined is why I love Poshmark so much. Since I started using the app, my main Poshmark strategy has always been to give people great clothing for a great price. Yes, making money is great, but that’s not the sole purpose that I’m on the app. That’s why I decided to change up my Poshmark strategy to make my goal even more clear.

    When I first got on Poshmark, I listed unwanted items from my closet. The tactic worked fine. Well, okay more than fine. It paid my student loans and went towards building my own sustainable closet. Then I decided to pick up some good finds thrifting and post those on Poshmark, so that someone else can reap the benefits of a good deal. But eventually the tactic of posting whatever I found got boring.

    That led me to slacking on Poshmark, feeling uninspired, and, ultimately, taking a little break from the app. I got back on to list a few things for Dressember, with all money going to the non-profit, but I didn’t feel the same joy that I did before. Honestly, stepping back from the app gave me the ability to see my Poshmark tactic more clearly.

    Now I’m onto a different Poshmark strategy — building capsule wardrobes.

    What is a capsule wardrobe? A capsule wardrobe is basically a starter wardrobe. It’s a handful of items that you can mix and match to create different outfits. You can add as many items to the capsule collection as your little heart desires, but this is the starting point. Some people use this for a minimal clothing collection and others just use it as a base to find their personal style. There’s no wrong way to do it, but there are a tons of ways to create one.

    I have grown to be very passionate about capsule wardrobes, especially the deeper that I dive into fashion. No matter who you are or what your background is, you can benefit from a capsule wardrobe. That’s why I decided to make a strategic plan to curate different types of capsule wardrobes for Poshmark.

    It’s a win-win for me. First of all, I get to continue to thrift and put together Poshmark listings. I also get to make people’s lives a little easier by finding a cohesive wardrobe for them and giving it to them for a great price.

    It’s a passion of mine combined with a hobby that is really, truly fun. That, my friends, is the key to Poshmark.

    But enough about the “why” of it all. Let’s talk clothing. I spent some time going through my past listings, new finds, and some unwanted items from my own closet to put together four different collections. I call them my “edits.” There’s the EVERYTHING EDIT, BLUES EDIT, TURTLENECK EDIT, and COLORBLOCK EDIT.

    Each one is made up of a variety of items that all go together. Think: the same girl would wear every single item in the edit. If you like one of the items, there’s a good chance that you like them all. That’s the idea that I was going for. You can buy the pieces altogether for a steal, if I do say so myself, or purchase the items individually. the choice is yours, but both are there for you on my page right now.

    Capsule collections are not easy to create.

    First, you have to figure out what your personal style is. After that, you have to figure out what items are the most important to include in your wardrobe. The last, and what I would argue is the hardest part, is actually finding the items. You have to decide where you’re willing to look and be patient. Finding the right items takes time and dedication. Lucky for you, I’ve done all of that for you.

    If you can’t tell, I’m a little geeked out by capsule collections. I love every single thing about them. But it’s time to break down my two favorite capsule collections that I have listed so far — the EVERYTHING EDIT and the BLUES EDIT. All four edits on my page are very different, but theses two are the most cohesive and complete.

    THE EVERYTHING EDIT.

    This is a full summer collection. It was designed for the cool-girl who loves fashion, but isn’t willing to spend a lot of time and money finding the perfect look. It’s a fun, laid-back meets put-together style that has everything you need for casual days, nights out, and, when you add a pair of black slacks or white jeans, gives you enough work options, too.

    The colors are black, white, and rust red. The pop of color is there, but the rest of it is classic and modern. You are going to be able to wear these items for years to come, but will also stand out in a crowd.

    THE BLUE EDIT.

    If you’re looking for something a little more feminine, this is the edit for you. The collection was made for the girl wants a clean, effortless look at all times. The bright white and light blue colors make for a great spring to summer collection.

    The five tops in this collection can all be work so many different ways. Two of the shirts can be worn at least two ways and the light blue tank makes for the perfect layerable piece. But what I really love about this edit is that you can build different neutrals and layers right into your closet. If this is your style, you likely already have a few other items that will blend seamlessly.

    There are two other edits on my page, just waiting for you to check out. I’d love to hear what you think of my new Poshmark strategy and what strategies that you have on the app, too. Everyone Poshes their own way, and that’s the beauty of the app.

    xx.

    1
  • InSustainable Fashion

    Veja Sustainable Sneakers Are Fit For A Princess

    The Meghan Markle effect is alive and well in the world of fashion. No matter where you are in the world, you’ve likely seen something about the Royal Wedding or an outfit or two that Markle has worn. But when the now-Duchess of Sussex wore Veja’s sustainable sneakers, the brand didn’t even notice. Yes, really. Thankfully, I did, and I can attest to the shoes being fit for a princess — or just a lazy Saturday look.

    It’s no secret that I love sustainable brands. The products are great, but besides that there is so much thought that goes in behind the scenes. The brand uses sustainable leather, organic cotton, and wild rubber from the Amazonian Forrest to make its shoes. There is so much going on in Veja’s sustainable sneakers that they didn’t even know that Meghan Markle was wearing the brand’s shoes, according to Footwear News.

    In fact, Veja doesn’t spend any money on advertising or paying celebrities to wear its shoes. Instead, the brand spends all its time and money paying workers fairly, finding the most Earth-friendly projects, and becoming as transparent as possible.

    “Seventy percent of the cost of a normal big sneaker brand is related to advertising. So, eliminating ads, marketing costs, doing away with brand ambassadors and billboards means we can invest in our employees, our materials, our factories and, therefore, our planet. It means we can focus on the production chain and how to change it,” said Sébastien Kopp and François-Ghislain Morillion, founders of Veja.

    This is what sustainable shopping is all about. The brands might not smack you in the face. You won’t see every celebrity in the world wearing the items. but when they do, you’ll wonder why more people aren’t. Veja is that brand. The sustainable sneakers are the hidden gems of the world of sustainable fashion.

    Veja focusses on sneakers and does it well. The brand has three different styles in tons of different colors. Similar to how Nike has its iconic swoosh, Veja puts a “V” on the side of the shoe. The name is also on the back tag of the shoe. Each shoe has a vibrant color, like true green, bright white, and pops of red.

    I am obsessed with these shoes. Each one is a classic sneaker, but looks so chic. This is not your typical running shoe, people. This shoe is meant to be noticed. Every time I wear these sustainable sneakers, I style the outfit around them. I want them to be seen, and I want people to ask about the shoes, so I can tell them the story of how they were made. Being proud of what you wear is an incredible feeling. Knowing that Veja goes above and beyond to make each of the shoes as good for the planet as possible is worth shouting from the rooftops.

    One look at Veja’s website and you’ll see why this brand is so great. There is a full rundown of every single item that makes up Veja’s shoes. I’m talking a full rundown of cotton, rubber, fairtrade ethics, limited, production, and upcycling. There are interactive charts showing exactly where the brand sources its cotton. Veja shows photos of people that fight to save the Amazon Forrest. There’s charts of production, breakdowns of where money is spent, and photos from the exact farms where materials are sourced.

    I have seen a lot of great sustainable brands in my time living purposefully, but have never seen anything like this before. The transparency is incredible. I wish every single brand put this much time and effort into making a product that is both great for the consumer and for the planet.

    Like mentioned before, Veja spends exactly $0 on marketing, branding, and getting celebrities to wear its products. That, my friends, is amazing. So what does Veja do with all the money that it’s saving? Using it to reinvent how people see sneakers.

    “Since we started Veja in 2005, we never had a corporate Code of Conduct. We did the contrary : on field, we have been developing ourselves fair trade supply chains in Brazil, working directly with organic cotton producers, and with rubber tappers in Amazonia. We spent years in Brazilian factories, learning how to make sneakers step by step. This was and still is the goal of Veja, to change every step of the production chain from the raw materials to the stores,” Veja says on Instagram.

    On top of all of that, these are amazing shoes. I love my Vejas. I feel great putting them on and just as good wearing them around all day. They’re comfortable, styling, and worth every penny. This will be a brand that I continue to buy from, no matter what age I am. They will never go out of style and the brand has proved through every aspect that it is worth my money.

    You will not be disappointed by this brand. It might not spend money trying to woo you, but you will be wooed. After all, if it’s good enough for a princess, it’s definitely worth trying out.

    xx.

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