Meet Nichole, our newest EcoCult contributor. As the former owner of a sustainable fashion boutique, she has a passion for (sustainable) style, which she will be sharing with you about once a week. But first, a little bit about her philosophy:
Sustainable style means very different things to different people.
Some people make it a priority to keep up with the latest eco fashion brands like Dagg & Stacey, Amour Vert, and Groceries Apparel (just to name a few). Others enjoy the pursuit of recycled treasures from vintage shops and thrift stores. And to some, “eco style” simply involves a minimalistic approach to a wardrobe–quality over quantity if you will.
To me, sustainable style is largely a hybrid of these different approaches. Sometimes I make it a point to buy “made in America” and sometimes I like to support brands that help bring jobs, money, and a livelihood to those in other countries who are less fortunate than us economically. Sometimes I’m okay with putting down big money to support ethical designers and feed my lust for beautiful design, and other times I prefer to buy more budget-friendly pieces that I know I will get plenty of use out of, even if they are made by more conventional means.
Before I make any fashion purchase, I like to ask myself the following questions:
“Can I see myself wearing this for the next 5 to 10 years, or even longer?”
“Will this be in style for longer than a couple seasons?”
“Is this high quality and made to last?”
“Was this made without harming and/or manipulating those who were involved in its production or the environment?”
And most importantly,
“Do I really, really love it?”
The Case for Conventional
I prefer to support ethical fashion brands and designers as much as possible, because it’s true that we vote with our dollar. However, when I am not buying from eco fashion brands, I make sure I’m buying items that will last me a lifetime. You don’t need fifteen purses and fifty pairs of shoes. Seriously. How often do you wear those? I’d rather spend more money on better items: shoes that are comfortable and that I can walk in; apparel that is versatile, and which I know I love enough to wear for years; handbags that fit everything that I need to carry around with me, complement any outfit, and are constructed well.
I recently went through a huge closet purge, and the trend that I found in the items I end up getting rid of were: they were highly trendy, they fell apart after a few uses, they were ill-fitting, and/ or they were made in outrageous colors or patterns that didn’t mix well with anything else in my closet.
A green fashion blogger I follow recently said something along the lines of “you can’t consume your way to a greener lifestyle.” This is so true. Impulsively buying and hoarding items that are made “green” is not sustainable either, and Alden talks about this in a recent post. To me, sustainable style starts with having an awareness of how our shopping habits impact the environment. Once you develop this kind of consciousness, it’s up you to decide how you can realistically implement a greener approach to your own personal style.
I’ll leave you with this final note: Less is more, green is the new black, and minimalism is the new Carrie Bradshaw.
How do you define sustainable fashion. Tell us in the comments!