5 Steps to Being a Socially-Minded Fashionista

Caring about the world never goes out of style

Nov 15, 2013

Image from Flickr user Helga Weber

Being fashion forward and environmentally conscious are two trendy concepts that can go hand-in-hand. Below are five ways to be a socially-minded fashionista that you can start doing today!  

DON’T PANIC – GO ORGANIC
While we’re used to hearing the word organic associated with food, it also applies to clothing. Cotton is one of the most commonly used materials to make fabric and is used in virtually every type of clothing - from your favorite T-shirt to your bedspread. But what you might not know is that cotton is heavily treated with insecticides – a toxin used to kill insects – and when released into the air has dangerous effects on human health, wildlife and the environment. People are starting to take notice, and major brands like H&M, Target and Banana Republic are jumping on board by incorporating untreated cotton into their clothing selections, making it easier go organic.


Image from Flickr user Le Xav'.

GIVE UNWANTED CLOTHES A SECOND HOME
In 2011 in the United States alone, 13.1 million tonnes of clothing were  thrown in the trash and went straight to a landfill. Instead of chucking out your old threads, think outside the box to give your clothes a new life. Donate your old clothes to an organization in your area that can make good use of them.  Or, if you’d rather see your apparel in familiar hands, organize a clothing swap by gathering your friends and pooling together all your unwanted clothes – you might even come home with some new additions to your wardrobe!

Image from Flickr user Remon Rijper

BUY FAIR TRADE
Fair trade is an alternative to traditional production methods, and is turning the world of consumption on its head.  To receive fair trade certification businesses need to adhere to set standards which include: employing local producers in developing countries, paying them a fair price for their products and upholding sound environmental and sustainable practices.  Make sure to look for the Fair Trade symbol on clothing products, and check out these online shopping websites that sell fair trade goods.

Image from Fair International's Facebook page

THINK BEFORE YOU WASH
Fresh laundry can make us feel oh so clean, but it also has a significant impact on the planet - one load of laundry can use up to 40 gallons of water! While it’s important to have freshly laundered clothing, alterations can be made to reduce your carbon footprint, such as washing your clothes in cold water instead of hot. When a load of laundry is washed with hot water it wastes more electricity than leaving your refrigerator door open 24 hours a day for a year.  If you’re unsure of how many wears your threads can go before a wash, consult this quick and handy guide to be on the safe side.

Image from Flickr user stoolhog

KEEP IT IN THE ‘HOOD
Pay attention to neighborhood stores and support local designers who produce their goods in your hometown. Buying locally is the greener way to go as your purchases aren’t being shipped from afar. It’s also another great show of support to your community, because the money you are spending gets pumped back into your local economy, not into large corporations.

Image from Flickr user Dean Terry