I remember being a little kid, 5-6 years old, and changing my outfits 10 times a day. My mom heated it! Rather than fold my clothes, I’d toss them in the laundry so they’d have to be washed again even though they weren’t dirty. I probably should have taken that as a sign that I wanted to work in fashion haha, but I didn’t go that route! Rather I started working at non-profits right off the bat, I loved the sense of doing something impactful, but I made NO money. At the time though, I was still able to keep up with the trends because like all other millennials, I grew up in the age of fast fashion.
I only shopped at Forever 21, H&M, and Target. They were the only places I thought I could afford and I had no idea how problematic fast fashion was. I was consuming it as fast as my tiny pay checks would allow. It wasn’t until much later that I started to become aware of the impact of fast fashion, along with all of the other “fast consumption” products that I was using on a daily basis. I’ll write a post later about behavior change, but basically my path followed the very typical Stages of Change, which is why I’m writing this now. If you’re reading this, you’re at least in “Contemplation” and that’s part of the journey. I feel very strongly that shaming people into behavior change never works, and people need to come to it on their own, so don’t take this as me evangelizing, only showing another potential option :-)
As I got a little older I started trying to simplify my life, I designed a “work uniform” for myself which doesn’t vary much from day to day (more on that later), but when I’m off work I had a really hard time figuring out what to wear. I still loved fashion, but I hated feeling like I was wasting money on clothes that were made poorly, were bad for the communities producing them, and had a horrible impact on the environment. It wasn’t until I started digging around blogs and Instagram that I found people who were doing this sustainable fashion thing already, and I started to learn.
The outfit below is care of an incredible woman here in Oakland, CA who curates thrift store finds and sells them via her insta @Sequoia.Vennari . I met her initially at her adorable diner, Sequoia in Oakland, if you’re in town you need to go, it’s amazing. Her finds are all full of pretty neutrals and quality fabrics. As far as sustainability goes, this is really the best you can do. Shop local and support small business. If you’re like me and you have a hard time with thrift store treasure hunts, find someone who does that and support them! The clothes are still affordable and you’ll be doing a solid for both the environment and your community.