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Sustainable Fashion: If it's broken, fix it!

by Josh Todd, RG Environmental Studies Intern

The fashion industry is one of the highest grossing industries in the world. It is no surprise that clothes are no longer built to last. Marketing pushes us as consumers to keep up on new styles and meet the social standards that fit the population. Americans fall into the trap of replacing clothes annually for the “new look” of a year's season, even in cases where clothes have lost their perception of being new/trendy.

There are companies that are incentivizing the buying of clothes that are built to be repaired. Embodying the concept that clothes are an investment, all in a goal to reduce the ecological footprint the constant manufacturing of fast fashion has on our planet’s resources, especially our water resources. The goal of theses clothing brands like Patagonia, Nudie Jeans, Kathmandu and Asket is to build relationships with their customers, they offer locations to have your clothes fixed or shipping them to a site to be repaired and returned. These clothing brands treat their items as investments, the long-lasting materials and repair-friendly designs come at a heftier price, a price that is still more valuable than the constant replacement of clothing occurring in our lives.

Understanding the red flags behind simply trusting the “made in” tag on your clothing is horribly misleading. The purpose of that tag is to inform the item’s final destination of assembly, leaving no room for the consumer to know where the materials originate from in the world. Often these items are finalized in countries that can provide cheap labor for stitching and sewing. It is impossible to gauge the environmental impact of these items since the origin of the materials is unknown. A helpful counter to finding the environmental impact of an item of clothing is in the type of garment. Though the final manufacturing destination cannot give you a breakdown on the environmental impact of a product, it can provide clues to where in the world the yarn was sourced to create the clothes.

Reconsidered Goods is a fighting figure in the battle to reduce our footprint in clothing. Buying reused clothes and repurposed items is a great way to engage in more sustainable practices. Reducing your carbon footprint is possible and very effective through switching to repairing and buying repurposed and reused clothing from select stores.

Buying these clothes locally is an excellent way to combat the fast-fashion industry. Sustainability is something we must aim to achieve through altering how and where we buy our clothes. Shop local, shop sustainable!

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