Slow Fashion Saves Lives
Why is it that we are societally motivated to make earth-conscious choices in so many aspects of our lives -- what we eat, how we commute, what beauty products we use, what we clean our floors with -- and yet what we wear is so rarely considered environmentally impactful?
The fashion industry is the world's second-biggest polluter, behind the oil industry.
Globally, we consume 80 billion pieces of clothing each year. This is up 400% from two decades ago.
Let that simmer for a second.
All those cheap, on-trend pieces you're buying from Forever 21? Yeah, they may have less of an impact on your wallet, but the cost is far greater... All this thoughtless consumption is jeopardizing the future of this planet we call home.
So, how can we make more thoughtful, impactful, and ethical shopping decisions?
It's a simple question with a convoluted answer, and on January 7th, 2016, some of Indianapolis' environmentally and fashion-focused citizens gathered at Outpost Indy (a pro-local "mall takeover" pop-up in Circle Centre Mall) to discuss "Slow Fashion".
Slow Fashion Speakers:
Julia Spangler of Fair For All Guide is a Sustainability Blogger and Sustainable Events Consultant. Julia’s mission is to empower individuals to make responsible choices that honor our connection to each other and the planet. Fair for All is an online guide for understanding and embracing the interconnectedness of today’s world.
Elizabeth Roney is the creator of Liz Alig, an Indianapolis-based fashion label that provides consumers with clothing that is fair trade, ethical, and fashionable. All of the Liz Alig garments are produced using standards of fair trade which means that workers are not only paid a fair wage, but Liz Alig purposely chooses to work with people in developing countries and low income communities to encourage their economic growth.
And the third speaker was me, Sara, the owner of Lux & Ivy. ;) My background in journalism, management of two different consignment/resale shops, and time spent as a Buyer for a boutique, led me to start really questioning the impact on our environment through fashion. In one simple sentence, “Why waste precious resources creating new clothing that is not made to last?” Read about the sustainability philosophy behind Lux & Ivy in my interview with Julia on Fair For All guide.
We had a lovely little spread, provided by New Day Craft and Wildwood Market. Through Julia's connections in event coordinating, we had compostable plates, cups and napkins, and a composting service provided by Earth Mama Compost.
Check out this awesome video that Alex Gonzales made of the evening's events:
Soooo what the heck is "slow fashion", and how do we start making changes with our consumption?
- Aims to be conscious, sustainable, ethical
- Takes responsibility for its supply chain
- Doesn't race to the bottom
- Values people and the planet
Fast Fashion Facts:
- Only 10% of the clothes people donate to charity or thrift stores get sold. The remaining 90% is shipped to developing countries where the flood of secondhand clothing can undermine local industry, or they end up in a landfill.
- Demand for low prices creates an extremely competitive "race to the bottom". Factories have to produce at lower and lower costs or lose business altogether. Workers are pressed to produce more and faster with no loss of quality. This can lead to a grueling and sometimes dangerous work environment.
Putting this all into action: How do we save our planet through fashion?
1) Shopping responsibly. Meaning - purchase items that are higher quality, made well, and made sustainably. Look for well-made clothing that will last. Buy staple pieces that will outlast the trends. Seek out sustainable fabrics like cotton, bamboo, hemp, or anything biodegradable.
2) SHOP VINTAGE AND SECONDHAND. Give new life to already existing pieces instead of wasting resources on new ones. Screw the current trends and find your OWN style. Trust me... it's wayyyy more fun.
3) Shopping locally handmade and Fair Trade. Look for companies who make goods themselves, or honor the makers of their products through fair trade. Fair Trade works supports communities of makers and celebrates traditional and ethnic techniques that are being forgotten in our culture of fast fashion. Read more at: http://www.lizalig.com/fair-trade/
(Hint: Check out LizAlig, United State of Indiana & Vardagen, along with local high-end jewelry and accessory brands like Quil Jewelry, Velvet Ruins, Salame Designs, People for Urban Progress, and Leather Feather Stone. We carry several of these vendors in our shop.) Homespun is also a great resource for handmade items from the midwest.
4) Getting rid of stuff you don't need - responsibly. Keywords: Consignment, resale, clothing swaps, online sales and swap groups, apps like Yerdle and Depop. Julia has a really great blog post on How to Connect Stuff You Don't Want With People Who Want It. Remember that only 10% of the clothes people donate to charity or thrift stores get sold. There are often times better homes for your unwanted items than a thrift store!
We also put together an in-depth info sheet from our Slow Fashion event, which you can request via email.
One thing you should absolutely do if you want to know more on this subject is watch The True Cost on Netflix.
Questions?? Please comment below, or send an email to luxandivystore(at)gmail.com.
Thanks for reading about ethical fashion! Remember...SLOW FASHION SAVES LIVES!