Have you set yourself the new year's resolution to dress more eco conscious and/or ethically/vegan? LOA has put together a mini guide to make things easier for you!
This is the eco-wardrobe pyramid by Sarah Lazarovic
1- Use what you have
This is probably so obvious. But what you have is more than what you have in your current closet. I don't know about you but I am super hoardy when it comes to clothes. I think, well what if this comes back in style? What if I have kids one day and they want my old clothes? Oh but I wore this that one time and I can't throw it away cause it was such a special moment! Well, all of those result in bins at my parents house, piles of clothes in my room at my parents house and bins under my bed in my apartment.
Well I recently went through said bins for things to sell & donate and I found A LOT of stuff I had forgotten about. Funnily enough, the clothing I fell in love with were things I had bought when I was younger that I never wore because I didn't have the confidence back then!
So moral of the story - spend the time to look through what you have! Because things DO come back in style & you might have grown into something you bought when you were younger that you never wore then but will end up being your go-to item now.
Borrowing is such a great way to reduce your amount of consumption, save money & promote an ethical lifestyle! I personally get weary of borrowing situations because you never know if your friend will give it back to you clean or well.. ever.. or you might want to borrow something from a friend but are shy to ask. Let's clear the air on the shy-to-ask issue first.
As someone who has been asked to borrow something I say - never be shy. It's such a compliment that a friend wants to borrow something. It might be for a special occasion or work event, or work day, anything! The fact that you took notice of your friend or family member's clothing and love it enough to want to wear it yourself is such a great compliment, never be too shy to ask. You never know, maybe you have something they want and the borrow will turn into a swap!
As for being worried about cleanliness or something never being returned. I would make sure to talk about cleaning and time frames when you are lending something out. Just be honest. If you spend 100$ on an item that your friend is borrowing, they will understand that you are cautious with it! Make it clear that they are to clean or dry clean an item before giving it back and that you want it back by a certain date. If you know the date of the event, just text or call your friend the day after to check in on how it went, how they felt in the item, blabla and this will serve as a reminder to them to give it back to you!
3 - Swap
Swapping is such an awesome idea & a great way to get new clothes, get rid of old clothes, save money & once again, reduce consumption. Everytime you switch out clothing for someone else's used clothing you are literally taking money away from fast fashion brands which in turn tells them to produce less and less in the long run. & that's our ultimate goal!!
Swapping basically means that you are trading your clothes for someone else's. This is such a great thing to do. I know I have some really special items that I don't wear anymore or that don't fit me and I don't want to donate them because I spent a significant amount of money on them. & It's hard and time consuming to sell items over the internet!! So, an awesome idea is to host or organize a swapping party!
You can set a guideline to friends and invitees that they need to bring a certain number of items, ranging from different prices & try to be sure that everyone is around the same size or at least have multiple sizing options. I think the most important thing is that people have an honest idea of the value of their clothing. It would be a bummer if I bring something worth 200$ and everyone else has items they spend 10$ on. You can have groups of items at different price points and sizes & basically go around the room trying stuff on! Instead of having a cash transaction, you can just switch out items for new ones. This way everyone gets rid of something they have grown tired of, and get a new item to love!!
You can set boundaries on if it is a permanent or temporary swap!
The next option is to thrift! There are so many great organizations that sell previously used clothing. Yes, it might be time consuming - but the items are usually at very low prices and there's always a rush of excitement when you find a great item! Everytime I have gone thrift shopping I have found something! Either small, like a necklace or big like dresses or jackets!
Not many people know how to sew and even less know how to make patterns. It's hard, I know, I spent three years studying it!
If you do know how to sew, a great thing is that fabric stores sell patterns! They have catalogs you can go through of different styles and you can buy them + fabric and have all the explanations and steps of how to make it! The people at fabric stores are trained to help you & are always super happy to help with projects.
There are also a lot of tutorials of DIYs on the internet or easy hacks to make things!
We also have awesome DIYs of how we dye our items! If you have something white that is stained or discolored, a really fun thing to do is to dye them yourself! It's like bringing an old favorite back to life!
6- Buy ETHICALLY & ECO-FRIENDLY
I know it seems kind of backwards to promote all these non-buying practices when we are a brand trying to sell. But it's just the truth. Our top priority is to promote and create and more eco-consious and ethical world.& that means that we want people to use and consume what is already out there!!
BUT there are moments where you just can't find certain things & you've exhausted all other options - or you just can't find the time! I've been there, we've all been there.
This is where we can help you. & multiple other eco brands too! I know it is super easy to just walk into an h&m or a Zara and find that dress you need for the wedding coming up, or just walk in and find something cool you weren't even looking for. Easy isn't always good. I don't think I need to remind you of the slave labor happening behind the 10$, 20$, 50$ top, dress or jacket. Or of the amounts of pollution and waste involved in making them.
When looking for an ethical and eco-friendly brand, I usually go straight for the 'about us' section. This will tell you the brand's core values and practices. They don't have an about us section? Take that as your first red flag. A brand that is eco and ethical is proud of it and will 100% tell you about it because they need to. If you're an ethical brand your price points are higher - so you literally need to tell people you're ethical or they won't see the point in buying your higher priced items.
The second thing is look where the items are made and what they are made of. If you're seeing a lot of polyester, acrylic, silk, leather, wool, polyurethane, etc - you're stepping into non eco-friendly & cruelty ridden materials. As for the locations, the huffington post has a great little article of the countries with the worst workers rights. I'm not saying that anything made in these places is automatically bad - you have brands that exist in those places that make it a point to go against the laws or rights. But I would steer clear of made in 'x' unless otherwise mentioned that their employees are well paid and treated.
Another great place to learn about workers rights is Fashion Revolution. It's my favorite place to go to learn about movements, ethical problems in the industry & hope for a better future. They are the ones behind the 'Who Made My Clothes?' movement that I'm sure you've heard of!
If you're shopping vegan & eco friendly what you need to look for is organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, rayon, viscose, tencel, linen, pinatex, etc.
Organic Cotton versus Cotton makes a HUGE difference. When it comes to the standards of organic cotton the laws prevent the use of harmful chemicals, dyes, bleaches, or the overconsumption of water, and many other things that are used and practiced with cotton that can be avoided. So yes, cotton is vegan but it is not an eco-friendly option. Always look for certified organic cotton.
Bamboo is such a great fiber because it is SO similar to cotton in all the great ways but it takes much less to grow and make into yarns. It takes much much less water, less time and less area. Linen and hemp are the same - they are very similar and really great fibers and are much better than cotton for the environment.
Rayon, Viscose & Tencel are all part of the same family - they are partly natural, partly man made. They are made using wood pulp which is processed and broken down to make the yarn. At LOA we typically use Tencel because it is known that to call it Tencel, sustainable forests and harvesting practices are implemented. As for Rayon and Viscose, I'm not 100% familiar with the standards, but they also come from wood pulp and because they are half natural they are already a step up from the 100% man made fibers like polyester, acrylic, polyurethane, PVC and others.
Remembering these steps and information on eco & ethical pointers will be a great building block for your new eco & ethical wardrobe!! If you have any questions I am always happy to answer!! firstname.lastname@example.org