When I first learned about the ethical and environmental effects of fast fashion, my reaction was surprise followed by a burning urge to counteract the movement, no matter how small my efforts would be. For anyone who’s interested in learning more, I highly recommend the documentary The True Cost by Andrew Morgan, (also on Netflix) which gives a great overview of the impact your five-dollar t-shirt from Forever 21 can have, halfway around the world.
I’m in no way pushing the blame onto other shoppers, but rather want to begin a conversation on the effortless little ways we can help improve the industry through our consumerist choices. Because, I also own my share of five dollar t-shirts.
As someone who recently began making the shift to shopping less and buying second-hand or from ethical brands when I do, the weight of my faux leather pants from Zara pressed heavily on my heart. However, I soon realized that one of the most sustainable practices of slow fashion lay in wearing and fully using what you already own, no matter what brand they come from.
Making the move towards a more sustainable and conscious wardrobe does not mean throwing away all of your clothes from quote unquote bad brands and buying a whole new ethical wardrobe. By seeing what you already own and creating exciting new looks instead of buying clothes for the sake of new options makes becoming an ethical fashion lover waay less daunting!
So, I’ve come up with four completely different looks combining both my favorite mock neck wool sweater from Everlane, a brand set on high ethical standards and transparency, and several fast fashion pieces I’ve accrued over the years. I’ve never been one to limit myself to a specific style, but rather dressed in whatever I felt like was more “me” that day, whether it is retro, comfy, or something with a bit more “va va vroom.” Take a gander at how different one sweater can become with the looks below.
Photo by Marek Urbanski @urbanm11
Look 1: Everlane sweater, Levi's boyfriend jeans (which I live 3/4th of my life in since they're so darn comfy), and embroidered Sam Edelman slip-ons for a bit of funk!
Look 2: Everlane sweater, Reckless Girl faux leather skirt, nude fishnets (subtler than black but with the same pop), and Franco Sarto over the knee boots
Look 3: Everlane sweater, groovy satin joggers from Bebe, and my mom's old boots (bless her fashion sense)
Look 4: Everlane sweater, 70's wide-leg pants from Free People, and Sam Edelman booties
I'd love to hear what you think in the comments!
**Additional credits: thumbnail photo sourced from everlane.com