Photography: Maxime Desbiens | Story: Style at Home—An Artsy Montreal Apartment With French Girl Charm
It was once cool to never wear the same thing twice, but now, finally, it's tacky not to.
According to a 2018 report, we only have 12 years to fix the environment before it becomes unfixable. If you want to do your part to help offset the negative effects humanity is having on the planet, an easy and significant place to start is with your closet.
The fashion industry is one of the largest culprits when it comes to pollution—in 2015 alone, it added 1,715 million tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. With the rise of fast fashion, clothing has become almost disposable, too, adding more to landfills every year. What's more, the easy (and cheap) access to trendy items has fed our strange need to never wear the same thing twice.
But it's no longer cool to wear an item once and toss it to the wayside. Even the Duchess of Cambridge has been "recycling" many pieces she's previously worn, as we've seen this year. Along with Kate Middleton, Mindy Kaling, Michelle Obama and Cate Blanchett are among the crop of stars who have been proud outfit repeaters, a label that no longer has negative connotations but instead makes celebrities seem relatable and, more importantly, environmentally-conscious.
Read on for five more reasons why your fashion goal for 2019 should be to shop more sustainably.
You might look at sustainable pieces and see them as being too expensive, but if you often swing by your favourite fast fashion retailer and buy new pieces every time you have an event, that cost can easily add up. Consider spending more on just one item, and you'll get a piece of clothing that's more thoughtfully designed and made and will last you for years to come.
Did you know most of the environmental impact of a garment happens after you buy it? We wash our clothes too often, use energy to dry them and when they start to fall apart because of all that wear and tear, we throw them out. If you buy classic, well-made pieces, you'll likely take better care of them, washing them less often, hanging them to dry and getting them repaired if they do get damaged.
In a 2016 study, Oxfam reported that more than 60 million people work in the garment industry. The ones who work for the retail giants tend to be underpaid and work longer hours in poor conditions. But, labels that produce their goods ethically generally use better factories, pay fair wages, treat workers well and give back to the communities in which the factories are located.
Especially around the holidays, we're bombarded with a call to "shop local" and "support your local makers" rather than hitting up big box stores or online retail giants. And since something that's made closer to you has to travel less miles to get to you, that means it's more sustainable. Not only will you know exactly what you're buying and who made it, but you'll also be supporting your local community and economy.
With apps like Good On You and tools like The Fashion Transparency Index, it's not that hard to figure out what brands are treating the environment as best as they can, and what brands you should avoid. If there's a retailer you love that isn't listed on either of those tools, check out their website, and look for a section on sustainability. If you can't find one and asking sales associates in-store gets you nowhere, it's likely they aren't focused on sustainable production. Brands that want their customers to know they're doing their part will want to advertise it.