By: Allison Forsythe
I often find myself logging onto websites like Free People and Zara in my free time, but I have begun to hesitate once I learned more about the term “fast fashion.” Fast fashion is where clothes are quickly made to look like runway clothes, and more specifically fads that quickly get replaced by newer ones. This cycle of constantly creating newer and better clothes results in a lot of unwanted clothes in the trash (textile waste), water pollution and other negative environmental and social impacts. In the USA alone, 10.5 million tons of clothing is sent to landfill every year. That fact is scary to hear because I know I’ve contributed to it. Realistically, there’s no way I could let go of my shopping addiction completely, but I’ve been trying to substitute out some green ways to shop that don’t compromise my style. Here are some stores / apps that i’ve found help make my shopping more sustainable.
Poshmark is a magical app where you can find great brands for cheaper prices! Anyone can make an account and sell their clothes. The best part is that it is free! You can find items from lightly used LuluLemon, “vintage” finds, to American Eagle jeans. There are so many options! I love Poshmark because there are so many recent, good quality finds. It is much easier than trying to navigate your way through a thrift store. Not only can you buy things, but you can also sell the clothes you no longer wear! My friend Claire has made over $1,000 selling her clothes she doesn’t wear anymore. This ensures that the clothes she sells have a longer life cycle, and hopefully they continue to get passed around and don’t end up in the trash.
This app is for the people that have fashion so iconic and daring I wish I could be them. There are vintage finds that will definitely make you stand out not just because no one else will have the same shirt, but because it is a statement piece. I don’t know how the people on Depop find their cool clothes, but I truly appreciate their creativity and edge. Green has never looked so trendy. This app works the same way as Poshmark, but emphasizes style more than brand name.
Have a special event you need something fancy for? Rent the Runway is just for you! This is a website where you can rent expensive dresses or other outfits for one big night and then return them. Why spend a lot of money on a dress you’ll wear once anyway? This website makes designer dresses affordable. They also allow you to upload photos of you in the dress, so before you rent one you can see how it looks on someone with a similar figure, which makes sizing and committing to a dress far easier. From formal, to the holidays, to a wedding or large event, Rent the Runway has you covered. You can rent an outfit for a one time thing, or if you love it you can even get a subscription to unlimited selections! This is one way you can extend the life cycle of a piece of clothing instead of wearing something once and hoarding it in your closet for years (we all know that’s what happens).
Are you more of an in-person shopper? Go to a Plato’s Closet! It is similar to Goodwill but focuses more on in-style brands. You can donate your clothes, shoes, purses or any accessories– and you can buy them too! They have all of your favorite brands like American Eagle, Forever21 and Urban! Let’s get those clothing life-cycles lasting FOREVER.
Remember Depop? Where the trends and styles are at every turn? Buffalo Exchange is similar in that is it very hip and with the trends, but it is an in-person store. The other difference between Plato’s Closet and Buffalo Exchange, besides being more trendy, is that Buffalo Exchange is more pricey. This means that when you turn in your clothes for cash you get more, but if you are shopping there you will be spending more. I’ve loved getting to experience a thrift store that I don’t have to dig so hard to find things I could see myself wearing. See if your hometown has a store near you!
As you can see, there are tons of alternatives to shopping that can make your lifestyle more green. One easy way of doing this is to shop preloved clothes! We can be part of the change that decreases the amount of textile waste that ends up in landfills. Let’s make our clothes last a lifetime with multiple loving owners! If you are more interested in fast fashion and the impacts it has on the world, I found www.sustainablefashionmatterz.com has some interesting facts and recommendations. Now get “green” shopping!