Sheena of the Uniform Project is one of my biggest fashion inspirations right now for many reasons: first of all, she pledged to wear the same dress (a “uniform” made by Eliza Starbuck) every day of the year in an effort to raise money for the Akanksha School Project.
But not only is the Uniform Project about raising money for children in India to attend school, it is also about exploring sustainable fashion. Sheena uses pieces already in her wardrobe in different ways: socks layered over tights, thrifted shoes from eBay and local shops, belts as necklaces, necklaces as belts, dresses and skirts layered under the uniform dress… her day-to-day creativity is astounding!
So what is sustainable fashion?
Also known as eco-fashion, it is the concept of considering the long-term environmental and social impacts of what we wear each day.
For many people, this means recycling: instead of throwing away that tee shirt you ruined in the wash, could you make it into something? Could it become a cute tote bag, a pillow, a bunch of cleaning rags, or a heating pad through some careful stitches? The idea is what we all learned in elementary school: reduce, reuse, recycle!
So how can you participate in the sustainable fashion movement? Here are ten ways.
10 Ways to Support Sustainable Fashion
10. Shop thrift.
Instead of going to a department store or the mall to buy a new floral dress or a laid-back plaid top, take a look in your local thrift or vintage shops. You never know – you might find an AMAZING piece, saving money and the environment in the process.
9. Donate to thrift shops.
It’s hard to think that some people just throw clothes away, but it happens. Before you donate yours, look at all the clothes you want to get rid of. Are they still in good condition? Now think of the person who will find them in a thrift store – and how happy they’ll be.
8. Buy natural fibers.
Not only is it better for you to buy natural fibers (synthetic fibers can be itchy and they can make you sweat more!), but it is better for the environment. Cotton and bamboo are two examples of natural fibers that make great fabrics and clothes.
7. Shop Etsy.
Etsy is full of artists making great pieces: you can find hand-knitted scarves, hand-made jewelry, and lots of eco-friendly products. These artists care about what they do and each piece is special. In most cases, no one will have anything like it!
6. Use Ebay instead of buying new.
Many of Sheena’s shoes come from Ebay: she has some great vintage platforms, fabulous blue boots, and a brilliant shoe collection in general simply from using Ebay to find the best pieces.
5. Learn to DIY.
I know learning to sew is daunting (I’m still working on it!), but it can be a great skill to have. If you find a great skirt in a thrift store but it’s too big, you’ll be able to tailor it yourself! You can also start to learn how to turn your old clothes into something new: I love the idea of making hoodies out of old tee shirts!
4. Research the best eco-friendly brands.
It’s fashionable to be green: many high-end designer lines like Stella McCartney and Loomstate have started to support sustainable fashion. There are SO many great eco-friendly brands out there that sell fabulous products. Check out our list of our top 20 favorite sustainable fashion brands for a great place to start!
3. Shop your own wardrobe!
Instead of buying all new stuff each season, think about how you can make what you have look new again. Do you have accessories that you haven’t worn in years that you could use to spruce up a current outfit? How can you mix pieces together to create new looks? Be creative and have fun with it.
Don’t be afraid to use your favorite pieces together to create a new outfit – you don’t need a new bag to pull an outfit together… you might just need to experiment with your options. Don’t limit yourself!
Related reading: Our top sustainability tips for college students.
1. Get educated… and educate those around you!
Sustainable fashion isn’t a political idea – it is an idea to help our planet continue to thrive, something I think we can all agree is important. I know I want the world to be as beautiful for my children (and my grandchildren!) as it was for me… and to me, sustainable fashion helps that.
If you want to get deeper into the ethical fashion movement, be sure to check out our ethical fashion reading list. Then get to work!
Simple things we do every day – like getting dressed – can make a difference in the world. I think Sheena is a great example of that: she puts together brilliant outfits for a great cause each day and we can too!
Speak Your Mind!
Hopefully this guide has served as a good intro to get you interested in sustainable fashion. Now I want to know your thoughts: what do you think of sustainable fashion? Do you have any tips to make your wardrobe more sustainable? Let me know in the comments!