No matter why you decide to begin to eat vegan… for the animals… for your health… or for the environment… that choice becomes a gateway to a more compassionate way of life. It happened to me, and now I am always discovering new ways to be better and do better.
My latest project is embracing sustainable, vegan fashion. While there is no industry standard, sustainable fashion means items made from environmentally friendly materials and produced by socially accountable methods. Sustainable fashion does not always mean vegan friendly, but in many cases animals are not harmed in the making of these products.
So why should I care about how the clothes in my closet impact the planet? Because it actually does, in a major way. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that fashion is the second largest polluter in the world, with well over 10 million tons of discarded clothing, accessories and footwear is just sitting in American landfills… forever. I had no idea. But now that I do know, I want to be part of making a difference.
So as a long standing fashionista, I decided to pull together a plan for elevating my closet to a more planet friendly status. That good news is that I am far from alone. Sustainable fashion has made it’s way to high fashion, meaning many celebrities are now embracing this way of dressing. That means there are many great resources like Red Carpet Green Carpet to guide and inspire me. Red Carpet Green Dress, headed up by founder Suzy Amis Cameron and CEO Samata Pattison, works to raise awareness about sustainable fashion, particularly in the entertainment industry where there have had great success.
As far as my carbon footprint, here is how I will embark on first phase to reducing it:
Consign Me Up
Since I am a full vegan, I no longer want to buy products that involve harming animals. I also, want to stop wearing the clothes and accessories that I already own that are made from leather, suede, wool, silk and other animal materials. Instead of just throwing these things out, I decided to consign them which will save water (since water consumption is a big part of clothing production) and, reduce pollution from agriculture and production. I am actually working with a consignment expert to sell some of my items and I am planning to set up a closet on Poshmark. I will soon share of video of the process on my YouTube channel, so stay tuned for those details.
Get Thrifty With It
Ok… if you are going to consign your old clothes, you have to consider how much new stuff you are buying. This is why I am going to do more thrift shopping. I love fashion, and I actually don’t mid thrifting, but it is not so easy on line. However it is possible, and worth the effort when you find something fabulous. I have snagged some great designer items from sites like The Real Real and Ebay. And prior to Covid, I would stop by thrift shops like Becon’s Closet and Housing Works and found some great stuff. Honestly, I would like to get to point where most of my clothing and accessories are thrifted. But I have a lot to learn. Here are two lists of Black owned thrift and vintage shops:
Bye Fast Fashion
Before I knew what to call it, I was into Fast Fashion. Fast Fashion is inexpensive designers who create variations of runway looks and quickly put them in stores at low prices… think H & M, Zara, etc. I loved having access to nice looking clothes and accessories, that were on trend. At first, most of these pieces were not well made. But today, many of these companies present with strong tailoring and details. I was really excited to be able to no longer have to shop at high end stores, to feel well dressed. However, once I learned that in order for these Fast Fashion companies to be successful, they have to cut corners on when it comes to the environment and labor. And because these are usually trendy pieces, I would only keep them for a certain amount of time. So, my plan is to pay more attention to the back story of the clothes that I am buying… not just about the materials, but the company and it’s practices. As a vegan, I was already doing this since I was shopping to avoid animal made wear. Now I am ready to take it step further.
As someone who loves clothes, this will be challenging, but I am excited to find ways to still be fashionable and chic, and do my part to save the planet.