What makes pre-loved clothing sustainable?
Yesterday I had a man walk into the shop with his wife. He asked the question "what makes buying used clothing sustainable?" I had to take a minute to think about this question and how to answer it.
The first thing to answer is this- What does being sustainable mean? Does it mean not using plastic straws? To recycled everything with a little triangle on the bottom of it? Does it mean to use detergents that don't contain icky chemicals that in turn end up in our oceans? Yes. But there is more to sustainability than that.
adjective 1. able to be maintained at a certain rate or level. 2. able to be upheld or defended.
Sustainability means that to keep the current quality of this lovely little planet, things are going to have to change. Resources are being depleted at an astonishing rate, our trash is literally piling up from years and years of using plastics that never degrade. To be "sustainable" it means that we have to slow our consumption of goods and to make things last. This is where we come in.
Question 2: How is buying used clothing sustainable?
When a garment or accessory is made to last, it is going to do just that- LAST. Fast fashion such as Forever 21 and H&M do not take the extra steps that create a quality garment. The intent is that you buy something for very little money, wash it a few times and it falls apart, thus creating a (short) cycle of constantly consuming then landfill. If you buy one piece of clothing 5 times in a 5 year span, when you could have bought a quality item that lasts 5 years, you are creating unnecessary waste. Quality fabrics and stitching last many washes and let you love them even longer.
When we take in items, we make sure that they are quality that will last. We fix holes, we re-dye fabrics, we get out stains, All because the well-made clothing is worth it. By purchasing used, you are purchasing with intent and purpose. You are keeping one more item out of a landfill and refusing a brand new item.
FUN FACT: Sustainable apparel is up 139% in two years, and vegan products are up 116%. Meanwhile, ‘eco’ and ‘bamboo’ have fallen.
Here are the seven types of sustainable fashion:
People are becoming more aware of what they consume and what they decide to spend their money on. If that is used clothing, metal straws and beeswax food covers, it brings them one step closer to living a more sustainable lifestyle. When buying used clothing, you are prolonging its natural lifespan, creating a circular way of consuming rather than a one way freight train towards ruined ecosystems. (the drama, I know.)
WOO for sustainable fashion! Lets do this!