Your closet is overstuffed, you're bombarded by ads for clothing daily and some clothes are just so cheap — how could you not buy them? And yet, you know your shopping habits have far-reaching impacts: how many resources were used to grow the fabric for your clothes? Did the garment workers who made your clothes get paid a fair wage? And what happens to all of your damaged clothes that you donate to thrift stores?
It's overwhelming, and you're just not sure how you can make an impact with your daily clothing choices. Will they really add up and contribute to a more just and sustainable future?
Yes, they will! As you navigate curating a more ethical and sustainable wardrobe, check out Remake, your one-stop shop for all things sustainable and ethical fashion. Remake is a nonprofit organization providing consumers with information, resources and opportunities to make more ethical and sustainable choices.
As "a community of fashion lovers, women rights advocates and environmentalists on a mission to change the industry's harmful practices on people and our planet," Remake is the premier resource for anyone who wants to be a conscious consumer of clothing.
Around the world, Remake ambassadors (volunteers) champion sustainable and ethical fashion by hosting events, advocating, sharing information and resources and reminding consumers that our everyday actions do make an impact. Recently, the advocacy of the Remake community helped pass a bill in California that will protect garment workers by requiring companies to pay hourly wages instead of piecework wages — this is big news in an industry rife with exploitative labor practices.
We spoke with three local entrepreneurs and Remake ambassadors who are on a mission to help Seattleites use fashion as a force for good. Check out their practical tips for how to be a more conscious and sustainable consumer.
Think ethical and sustainable fashion means purging your closet and purchasing new items from ethical brands? Zakiya Cita, founder of The Chayah Movement, points out that "the most sustainable thing you can do is start with what you already have. Take care of the things you already own and make those things last. It matters."
When shopping new, check out brands that create beautiful ethical and sustainable items (see Waddell's Ethical and Sustainable Brand Directory).
JeLisa Marshall, founder of The Stylist Way and co-creator of The Conscious Cut podcast, wants us to remember that "as a consumer, every dollar you spend adds up, creating the type of life you want for yourself and your community." She added that "if what you find is outside of your budget, invest in one piece as you can afford to do so. Sustainable fashion is a marathon, not a sprint. Change doesn't happen overnight. Be patient with yourself as you shift."
Cita offered another tip, "when it comes down to buying new, consider the cost of your investment and stick to the 30 times rule. Ask yourself, 'will I wear this at least 30 times?'" The overall value of that quality, ethically-produced item is likely to be better than the fast-fashion equivalent that will easily damage or fall out of season quickly.
And utilize the excellent resources Remake puts out. Waddell said "Remake provides a lot of resources through their blog and social media. Conscious consumers can easily follow their Instagram to start learning."