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Like any proper fashionista, we love a bargain on a hot trendy item, but lately we’re a little disillusioned with the fast fashion frenzy. Fast fashion is a term used to describe clothing collections which are based on the most recent fashion trends. These trends are designed and manufactured quickly and cheaply to allow the mainstream consumer to take advantage of current clothing styles at ultra low prices. In theory this is all well and good, but the fact of the matter is that these garments are not being made in a socially or environmentally responsible manner.

Here’s the deal, about two million tons of clothing end up in landfills every year and many major retailers regularly destroy unsold merchandise rather than donate it to those in need (check out the complaints against H&M and Urban Outfitters). What’s more, natural resources are being squandered on the immense amount of cotton it takes to produce such high volume clothing. Fortunately some countries are taking notice of this depletion in resources and have formed advocacy groups. Recently the U.K. began a campaign, The Sustainable Clothing Action Plan, which comprises more than 300 retailers, producers, and designers who endeavor to make garments that are made, sold, and disposed of “without damaging the environment or using poor labor practices”. Here in the U.S. various groups are working to improve sustainability and insure fair labor practices as well as working to increase the ranges of fair trade and organic clothing available on the market, supporting fabrics which can be recycled more easily, banning cotton from countries know to use child labor, and giving fashion schools extra tools to educate students about sustainability in the industry. This is a great start, but reforming the fashion industry means that society has to redefine what it means to be fashionable.

Here are some easy ways you can do

reduce, reuse, and recycle the best of fashion without compromising your style or your budget…

  • Look for organic and/or fair trade garments, it will often be clearly written on the tag.
  • Check out Borrow the Catwalk for couture you can borrow, wear, and return!
  • Swap duds with friends, even make a party out of it!
  • Buy handmade artisan jewelry and accessories. You’ll feel good about supporting local artists and you’ll have a great conversational piece to flaunt.
  • Cruise through a cool vintage/consignment/second hand shop. This may take a bit more effort to comb the racks, but there are great finds to be had.
  • Donate your unwanted clothes to local shelters and organizations. Remember those formal dresses tucked away in the back of your closet (the ones you thought would never see the light of day again)? Well, it’s prom and wedding season so put those gowns to good use! Go to http://www.donatemydress.org/ for more information on donating formal wear in your city.
  • Upcycle! Find a great tailor and revamp some classic pieces! Shorten the hem of an old “investment” dress (we’re loving the mini’s right now), change up the buttons on a blouse or jacket, maybe add shoulder pads to your rotation (yes, they are back with a vengeance), get creative and consult your friends!
  • Advocate today! Use your Facebook/twitter/myspace/etc to share this information and find groups and organization that support such efforts. Also, check out (and sign) these petitions:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stophandm

http://www.petitiononline.com/ykap2/petition.html

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/end-sweatshop-labor-in-big-business

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stop-saipan-sweatshops

Concern over the social and environmental impact of the fashion industry is itself inherently fashionable. As the great Coco Chanel said,”Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening”. So enjoy the trends, without being a slave to them and consider the implications of what you’re wearing.

“Bid to Buck ‘Fast Fashion’ Trend.” BBC News 20 Feb. 2009. a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7899327.stm">http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7899327.stm>

“Fast Fashion”. 14 August 2009. Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_fashion

Views: 77

Comment by BeautyUnfolds on June 1, 2010 at 6:49pm
Following on twitter. :)

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