How to Make Your Wardrobe More Eco-Friendly

When we think of sustainability + being eco-friendly, we often think of straws, plastic grocery bags, + water bottles. We do our part by skipping straws, bringing our own bags, + using refillable water bottles, but what about our clothes? Fast fashion + the textile industry itself are leaving a big footprint. As CHAARG women, we can help lessen the impact of these industries + look fashionable while doing it!

PROBLEM #1: WE LOVE BEING FITIONISTAS

The first problem is that we like to shop. Everyone can enjoy a good spending spree at the mall + it’s easy to convince ourselves that we need to buy a new outfit for every event in our lives. In fact, North America is the largest consumer of textile goods in the world with the average person buying 60% more clothes than they will actually ever wear. Often times these clothes are only kept//worn for a fraction of the time they are good for partly due to fast fashion. Fast fashion is inexpensive clothing that is rapidly produced by mass-marketing retailers in response to the latest fashion trends. Fast fashion not only moves from the catwalk to the customer, but also from the customer to the garbage.

PROBLEM #2: WE AREN’T RESOURCE EFFICIENT

The textile industry is also in need of reform. Over 50% of laborers in the fashion industry get paid less than minimum wage. However, human resources aren’t the only resources being exploited to keep fashion trends fresh. It takes 10,000 litres of water to produce one pair of jeans + cotton materials alone account for 30% of the world’s water depletion[commonly called the “water footprint of cotton consumption”]. Additionally, when these garments are washed, around 1,900 plastic microbeads are released from the material.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

A great idea for small groups to help is a clothing-swap! Girls can each bring in a few items of clothing that they no longer wear + then swap clothes with other girls in their small group. This is a great idea for an end-of-semester gathering as people begin to sort + pack their clothes. Thinking about swapping clothes beyond your small group? Check out CHAARG’s Fitionista Detox Facebook Page! Thrift shopping can also be a great way to “recycle” clothes + bring back trendy styles — we’ve all heard something along the lines of, “one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure!” We can also research where we shop + choose to shop from conscious retailers. This can be as easy as googling “fair trade clothing retailers” + will ensure that laborers are getting paid fair wages + being as eco-friendly as possible. A few retailers we love include Madewell, Athleta, Patagonia, J. Crew, + prAna.

Let us know how you’re being a conscious Fitionista [+ consumer!] + share pics of your clothing swaps on your _inCHAARG Instagrams!

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