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Sustainable Fashion

  • InSustainable Fashion

    Fast Fashion & Slavery Are More Connected Than You’d Think

    I love fashion. It allows people to express themselves and experiment with different styles. But that doesn’t mean that it should come at anyone else’s cost. The more research that I do about the fashion industry, the more I realize that fast fashion and slavery go hand-in hand. Doing Dressember this year actually taught me that the two are actually pretty close friends. Don’t worry, because there is a way that you can stop it.

    When people think of slavery, they think of people owning another person to do some sort of manual labor. That, my friends, is what fast fashion is. People are forced into terrible conditions, low pay, and awful hours, because the fast fashion industry has made it the norm in their area. They get paid pennies on the dollar so that you can have that shirt for $1.80 or $5.90. As rough as this might be to hear, you buying the item for that cheap is what keeps the cycle going. Yes, it’s great that you can get fast fashion items at an extremely low cost. Wouldn’t you feel better paying a little more to know that no one suffered, though?

    There are plenty of reasons floating around to not buy fast fashion. Cheap, disposable fabrics and the damage on the environment is just the start. Fast fashion is slavery. It is saying that having a trendy outfit is more important than someone else’s life. I don’t know about you, but I’m not okay with that.

    According to the Global Slavery Index, “the fashion industry is identified as one of five key industries contributing to the prevalence of modern slavery.”

    fast fashion and slavery go hand in handNow, this doesn’t just mean fast fashion. There are plenty of high-end brands that are perpetuating the cycle as well, but I want to focus on fast fashion. Because while you might need to save up for a while to buy that designer brand, you likely see fast fashion brands every single day. That makes it easy to grab for convenience and not think about the harm you might be doing.

    It’s a bigger problem than you might think. To put it in perspective..

    “$127.7 billion worth of garments at risk of including modern slavery in their supply chain are exported annually,” according to the Global Slavery Index.

    What can you do to stop it? Simply put, buy better clothes. Those three words are loaded, I know. Asking questions are the perfect way to start your journey to end fast fashion habits. You control fast fashion with your dollars. Every single dollar you spend is a vote. Ask the brands hard questions, like “who made my clothes?” Let brands know that you love their items, but you want to know more.

    If you’re looking to go the extra distance, start buying clothes secondhand. Places like Poshmark and thrift stores are a great way to find great pieces for less. Bonus points that you don’t have to feel bad about buying them. You’re saving it from the landfill and breaking the cycle at the same time.

    Dressember teaches me something new every day. Some days it’s how to layer, and other days it’s about just how real slavery currently is today. This month is changing me, and I hope this little tidbit of knowledge can change you for the better, too.

    xx, Kali

  • InSustainable Fashion, Thrifting

    Here’s How My Dressember 2018 Will Be Different Than Last Year

    Ready to see a whole lot of dresses around here? Because ready or not, they are coming. I decided to participate in Dressember for the first time almost one year ago. I wore a dress every day in December to raise awareness and money for sex trafficking victims. It was hard. It was cold. And I decided to go ahead and do it again this year.

    This time is going to be a little different, though. I teamed up with my best friend to create a Dressember team. Last year, I decided to go at the cause alone. That’s partially because I had never done it before and partially because I came into it way late. Like, end of November late. This year, my best friend and I have been preparing for Dressember since the beginning of the month. We’ve educated ourselves, done some thrifting, and have been planning team meetings and events for weeks now. It feels pretty darn good to have someone to tackle this cause with.

    dressember 2018 outfitsOur team name is Thread For Thought.

    Because, well, we’re trying to make people think with our threads. It’s no secret that I am on a mission to make my wardrobe matter. Everything I wear has a reason and a purpose. That’s how I’ve lived my life for two years now. It’s also how my best friend and our team hope to live this December. We’ll be picking clothing with purpose for the entire month.

    On top of that, we’re asking our friends and family for donations to Dressember. The non-profit works with twelve different organizations including International Justice Mission, Project146, and CAST to end slavery around the globe. They donate money to missions to rescue people trapped in sex trafficking, set survivors up with aftercare needs, and even help them defend themselves in court. Dressember is a 501c3 organization, so you are guaranteed that your donations are going to those who need it.

    According to Dressember…

    30 million people are currently enslaved worldwide and human trafficking generates about $150 million a year.

    I don’t know about you, but that makes me pretty darn angry. Sex trafficking isn’t something that happens in a far away land, either. Children are stolen and sold all the time. Foster children are coerced into to trade as well. Heck, even grown men and women are tricked into entering the hard-to-leave cycle. This needs to be stopped, and the least I can do is wear a dress for every day in December to bring awareness to that issue.

    Want to help the cause? You don’t have to wear a dress every day to do it. (Although you’re more than welcome to join my team if you’re interested.) If you’d like to give to the cause, you can click on my profile and donate to my team. Every little bit counts — $5, $10, $20 — all of it makes a difference in the movement.

    If nothing else, I’d love for you to follow along on my journey through Dressember. I’ll be doing outfit breakdowns on my Instagram, blog posts on brands that are helping me get through the month, and keeping everyone updated on all the fun meet-ups and events throughout the month. It’s time to make the season of giving bigger than ever. After all, what better way to end my year of giving than this?


  • InSustainable Fashion

    How Direct-To-Consumer Brands Are Saving The Planet & Your Closet

    People will never stop shopping. It’s just the truth. As long as there are influencers on Instagram telling you what to buy, it will live on. People love to promote slow fashion and sustainable brands to help beat the problem, but that’s only half of the equation. The other half is overproduction, which is something that even slow fashion companies can’t seem to get right. Thankfully, there are direct-to-consumer brands shaking things up. Other companies could learn a thing or two from the slow fashion approach.

    For those of you that may not be familiar with the phrase, direct-to-consumer means that the item is not made until it’s ordered. That’s not the norm for fashion brands. Typically, a brand will produce a set number of items, sell them, and then let them go on sale if they do not all sell. This has led to some high-fashion brands burning its excess of clothing. Yes, really. Even sustainable brands like Everlane have a problem with overproduction. It’s a real problem in slow and fast fashion.

    Bucketfeet’s shoes were the first experience that I’ve had with the direct-to-consumer process. The brand makes just one pair of slip-on shoes. The catch is that each one of the patterns comes from a different designer. Designers come from all over the world and get a portion of every design sold. Think of it as freelancing for shoe makers. Designers are all over the globe and make ten times more for their direct-to-consumer approach than they do with fast fashion tactics, according to the brand.

    bucketfeet direct-to-consumer slow fashion shoes“With a traditional inventory supply chain, brands inevitably end up with lots of product they can’t sell which ends up sitting in storage warehouses and in many cases, landfills,” Bucketfeet CEO and Co-Founder, Raaja Nemani says. “This made-to-order approach allows us to make each shoe at the time of the order, using only the materials required for that one product – we’re no longer producing thousands of units per style per season and hoping they sell.”

    You’ll see tons of different prints as you scroll through the Bucketfeet website. None of them are actually made yet, though. The designer doesn’t start creating the shoe until you order it. The approach saves shoes from hitting the landfill, helps artists make more off of he designs, and ultimately saves the planet. It’s a slow fashion approach that you can almost find no problems with.

    The brand was nice enough to send me two different options to test out. These are the most comfortable slip-ons that I have ever worn. They have little grips on the inside of the sole that almost massage your foot as you walk. Not to mention that they designs are incredible. There are SO many to choose from. I opted for a colorful floral print and a coffee cup design. I get compliments on both whenever I wear them.

    Although Nemani believes that there are “no downsides” to direct-to-consumer selling, there is one thing that fast fashion addicts will need to get used to — the shipping time. Because the shoes are not made until you order them, it takes longer to get to you.

    Personally, I don’t see this at a downside considering that it is saving the planet. There are some people who are extremely used to their two-day shipping habits though. My Bucketfeet shoes got to me in about a week and a half after ordering them. It’s something to think about if you’re planning holiday gifts or want to get them for a specific event. Trust me when I say that they’re worth the wait though.

    The other really incredible thing about direct-to-consumer buying is how many people can work for the company. Bucketfeet’s designers include over 40,000 people from 120 countries. Not only does that mean lots of people profiting off the shoes, but it also means that you have a ton of different pattern options.

    bucketfeet direct-to-consumer shoe brand“We’re the only footwear brand that’s made it our focus to work with artists, and so it’s made it a lot easier to attract such incredibly talented individuals from all walks of life,” the founder says. “We make it really easy for artists to submit their work for consideration through our Bucketfeet website. Our team then reviews the submissions internally and determines the designs that will be featured on the site. With on-demand production, we can now approve more designs than ever before in our history.”

    The brand goes beyond a great selling tactic, too. Bucketfeet has one style of shoe — the plain white slip-on. It has found a way to master it by creating many patterns that are unisex as well. The shoes also come in sizes five to twelve, with a size guide that tells you exactly how the shoes will fit.

    While the floral print that I got is pretty girly, my coffee cup design is something that everyone can love. (If only Lorelai and Rory could get a pair..) I also love knowing that the money goes towards designers from all over the world and not just one person in charge of the brand.

    I truly can’t say enough good things about this brand.

    Bucketfeet finds a way to give everyone — buyer and creator — creative freedom all while saving the planet at the same time. How many brands can say that?


  • InSustainable Fashion

    The Biggest Mistake People Make When Building A Sustainable Closet

    My closet is about 85% thrifted and 10% sustainable clothing. If you’re checking my math, you’ll notice that there’s a portion that’s missing. The last 5% is my unsustainable clothing. I know, I know. It’s shocking to think that I still have fast fashion items hiding in my sustainable closet. But shopping is only one part of going sustainable. The biggest mistake people make when building a sustainable closet is throwing away everything that they already own. Because you don’t have to start from scratch to make a difference in the world.

    Every person behind a minimalist Instagram account or sustainable fashion blog had to start somewhere. I personally spent my middle school years in the mall and my high school years in TJ Maxx. That’s a long way from where I am now. Just like my shopping habits, building my sustainable closet had to start somewhere, too.

    Going sustainable can be overwhelming. Especially when you’re looking at other people who have already been years into their journeys. People forget the first step of going sustainable, which is to use what you have. That’s actually more important than switching your buying habits. Because the better you take care of your clothing, the less you have to buy — whether it’s sustainable or not.

    I didn’t throw away all of my fast fashion items when I started building my sustainable closet.

    In fact, there are still fast fashion items in my closet — even two years into my journey. When I started going sustainable, I focused on using what I had. That meant, and still means, taking care of the items that I already had in my closet. Can you guess which item in my outfit below is from a fast fashion company?

    sustainable closetMy sweater and boots came from Goodwill and my leggings are sustainable, Fair Trade, and organic cotton. It’s the vest that came from a fast fashion brand. Yep, I am wearing an Old Navy vest. While I’m not proud of knowing that I invested my money into a fast fashion brand, I am proud knowing that I’ve kept it in such good shape.

    I got this black vest from Old Navy five years ago.

    I can remember heading to the store with my mom on Black Friday to snag it for $12. It was the last time I had ever been Black Friday shopping and before I started thinking about the actions of my shopping. In that time period, I have mended the pocket, hand washed it instead of constantly throwing it in the washer, and have kept it in really great shape.

    It might not be a sustainable item, but it’s one less items that I have to buy. Whether the item is sustainable or not, it is way better for the environment to not buy. People often think that they have to go out and replace the items that they already have, but that’s not true. It’s arguably the most important part of having a sustainable closet.

    You can call yourself a sustainable fashion advocate even if you just focus on taking care of what you own.

    There are other items in my closet, like my vest, too. A few of my fall sweaters are from before I went sustainable. My winter jacket is another item that I’ve been mending and hand-washing every year. I’m not saying that I’ll have these items forever. But it does make life a lot easier to take care of them instead of running out and spending money on something that I don’t necessarily need.

    Bottom line: there is no point in throwing everything that you have away. You know, because that would create more waste, which is the exact opposite goal of building a sustainable closet. If you’re looking to start building a sustainable closet, start at the very beginning. Take care of what you already own while looking into sustainable brands that you’d someday like to support.


  • InSustainable Fashion

    Want To Save The Oceans? Buy Better Clothes

    There’s a lot of talk these days about how to save the oceans. Businesses, cities, and even entire states are banning straws to help fight pollution. Stores — including my local thrift store — are starting to ban plastic bags. Heck, there are even people going plastic free in their lives to help the epidemic. According to The Guardian, plastic popping up in oceans is a problem that not even recycling can fix. But the problem is much closer to home than you might think. In fact, it’s in your closet. If you want to help the oceans, you should buy better clothing.

    Pollution is a problem. At the most basic level, I think we can all agree on that. You’re likely pretty aware of the plastic bags that you throw out or the straws that you grab pretty much daily for convenience. What you might not know is that clothing is a part of the plastic pollution problem. (Say that ten times fast.) I’m not talking about throwing away clothing, either. I’m talking about doing your laundry.

    Let me break it down for you. All clothing are made of materials. Some are natural (think: cotton, wool, silk), while others are manmade (think: polyester, rayon, acrylic). It’s those manmade materials that you need to watch. Each of those fabrics are created with a tiny touch of plastic to help bind them. When you wash these materials, tiny little microscopic pieces of plastic go into the water, down the drain, and eventually into the oceans.

    But tiny, microscopic pieces can’t be bad, right? Wrong.

    save the oceans buy better clothesAccording to Green Peace, up to 700,000 fibers can come off one single item in the wash. The publication reports that 30 percent of the ocean’s plastic pollution comes from microfibers, which eventually end up in animals stomaches, meaning that we ingest them as well. How’s that for a full cycle of plastic pollution for ya?

    There are ways for you to save the oceans, though. All you have to do is to opt for natural materials.

    Synthetics are not so great (read: terrible) for the environment. Thankfully, there are plenty of other materials out there to choose from. Because natural materials are, well, naturally made, they don’t need plastics to hold them together. That means that there are no microplastics coming off of them in your washer. It’s really that simple, my friends.

    The catch is that you won’t find the natural materials in fast fashion stores. Synthetic materials are cheaper to make. Think of them as the McDonalds of the food world. Super cheap and not great for you. Nylon, polyester, rayon, spandex, elastane — all synthetic, cheap, and terrible for the environment.

    Next time you’re shopping, try checking the tags for natural materials like cotton, linen, silk, wool, or cashmere.

    You might have to pay a little more for your items, but it’s for a great reason. Not only will your clothing likely last longer, but it’s also saving the oceans from microplastics. My favorite place to find these fabrics are the thrift store. You can find natural fabrics for way less than retail. Not to mention that they’re likely in incredible condition, since the materials hold up so well.

    That doesn’t mean that you have to throw out all the clothing you already have though. Because that would, you know, create pollution. You can actually get bags for the laundry that reduce the amount of microfibers that escape per wash. All you do is unzip the bag, put your synthetic materials inside, and do your wash normally. Enough detergent and water will get through, but the microplastics will not get out.

    Next time that you’re out shopping, try reading the labels and not just the price tag. Natural materials are available and it’s a foolproof way to save the oceans.

    xx, Kali

  • InSustainable Fashion, Thrifting

    Let’s Talk About The Word “Affordable” & How It’s Ruining Your Shopping Habits

    We’ve all been there. You’re scrolling through Instagram and come across a well-curated outfit shot that makes your thumb stop in its tracks. Then you read the caption and it’s something along the lines of, “Isn’t this top gorgeous? And it’s ONLY $60!” Or maybe it’s a “less than $70” pair of shoes. Or a “just under $50 sweater.” (Yes, all of those have actually graced my timeline.) Pardon my ignorance, but since when are those price amounts affordable? The word “affordable” is ruining our shopping habits, and, well, making us feel bad about what we buy.

    Just about everyone cares about what they wear, whether they want to admit it or not. Some people want to be on-trend at all times. Others are aiming for maximum comfort. But just about everyone puts thought into their daily outfits — especially in the age of Instagram. I will be the first one to admit that it feels good to look good. I just don’t think that you need to spend your entire life savings or a few maxed out credit cards to do it.

    It can be easy to make excuses to do so though. Influencers are being paid to promote brands that are sometimes not so affordable. Bloggers have brand deals with companies. They look great in the clothing, which makes you want them too. In both instances, both parties normally benefit from someone’s purchase. Which, you know, means often have the word “affordable” in the photo caption. It’s a win-win, right? Wrong. The word “affordable” is killing your shopping habits.

    the word "affordable" is ruining your shopping habitsFirst off, let me just say that the word “affordable” means something different to everyone. For the influencer, maybe that means a $50 sweater or $100 pair of shoes. For most of the world, it means something very different. But when you see that word over and over in your timeline, it can make you feel like you are wrong.

    Spoiler alert: you are not wrong. You have been conditioned to think that. 

    Personally, I cannot even imagine paying $20 for a t-shirt anymore. (Thanks, thrift shopping.) I actually held up an $10 sweater the other day and was shocked to see the tag. To think that I used to spend $30 on a jean jacket or $60 on a pair of sandals just five years ago makes me feel like I am living in a different lifetime than my past self.

    That’s not because I’m poor or stingy with my shopping habits. If any of you have seen my frequent live-thrifts on my Instagram Stories, you’ll know that I love to add new items to my closet. It’s because I think very hard about the items I buy, why I buy them, and what value they bring to my life. That is how I gauge what’s “affordable” to me.

    The point is not to save as much money as you can. The point is that not feel bad about what you’re buying. I used to feel buyer’s remorse about clothing all the time. Every mall trip left me with less money in my wallet and a feeling that I didn’t really need what the blogger or influencer said I did. That’s why you’ll never see me push a brand just to do so.

    I will continue to show you what I buy and why. But I will never make you think that you should buy items just to look good.

    If I use the word “affordable,” it’s because it is an unbelievably low price. It’s not a word that I throw around lightly. The problem with the fashion industry is that there is too much out there, which can make you think that you need it all. In reality, the brands don’t hold the power. YOU do. By slowing down, thinking about what you buy, and understanding how the item will truly value your closet, you have the power to feel good about the closet that you build.

    So next time you see the word, question the person saying it. Is it really affordable? Or are they just trying to get you to buy something. Because if there’s one thing that’s going to change the world, it’s going to be asking honest questions.