What, Why, How: Sustainable Fashion and Where to Shop it Near Campus
Believe it or not, the fashion industry is one of the biggest polluting forces in the world — second only to the oil industry. Not only are we buying more clothes due to rapidly evolving trends and styles, but fast fashion companies such as Zara and H&M have made it easier than ever to be thoughtless consumers who don’t really think about about where our clothes are coming from — or going.
These effects have given rise to sustainable fashion, fashion that is practicing environmentally and socially ethical business. In order to be considered to be truly sustainable, a garment must conform to this ethical standard from the sourcing of its material, through its production process and onto the racks. Sustainable brands have been on the rise, so here are some suggestions of our favorites both online and close to campus!
1. Reformation (Stores at 23 Howard St. and 156 Ludlow St.)
If you don’t know Reformation already, you definitely should. Reformation has linen sundresses, velvet pantsuits and everything in between. Producing their clothing in California, Reformation has one of the most transparent brand ethos in the fashion industry, providing the customer on insight into the production of their garments and all pairing every piece with a scale to see how much energy was used and saved during its conception.
2. Everlane (Store at 28 Prince St.)
The go-to for basics! Their fabrics have the luxury feel without the luxury price tag. You may have to brave a line if you choose to shop in-store, but it’s totally worth it. Similar to Reformation, Everlane is incredibly transparent about its production chain through videos and articles on the website. Everlane also gives buyers a cost breakdown of each product, so you know exactly what you’re paying for.
3. Eileen Fisher (Stores at 166 Fifth Ave. and 314 E 9th St.)
Eileen Fisher is a great choice for a more mature, sustainable look. Using organic and recycled fibers, Eileen Fisher crafts pieces that are both incredibly chic and comfortable, perfect for upscale basics for every occasion. On their website you can also find articles on each facet of their sustainable practice, allowing you to be informed about what’s going into the production of your clothing.
4. Patagonia (Store at 72 Greene St.)
Patagonia is classic for cozy winter wears. Their fleeces and ultralight down jackets will keep you warm even as the temperatures drop below 0°. Patagonia proclaims environmental and social responsibility with the mission statement “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
In addition to shopping from sustainable brands, another great way to practice sustainability in your own life is thrifting. Buying vintage clothing is far more ecologically sound than picking something up at H&M. And the best thing about thrifting is that it’s a two-way street: instead of throwing away clothing, take it to the nearest Housing Works or Beacon’s Closet where you can donate your clothing (and potentially pick up some extra cash while you’re at it).
We’re all part of the problem, but luckily there are many ways to help reduce your fashion waste. Sustainable fashion is way more accessible than you would think — the first step is to just be conscious!
Written by: Corinne Worthington