I’ll be the first to admit that learning about sustainable fashion and implementing it are two different things.
My research has shown that me that despite our best intentions when it comes to sustainability we just don’t know what to do or how to change. For me, despite knowing about issues in the fashion industry, yet I still struggle to emotionally connect to those affected. I think this might be a key component in actually changing our behaviours and being more sustainable when we shop.
Otherwise, I find my choices can be a bit self-centred. For example, I shop at second-hand stores because it is sustainable and inexpensive; it’s convenient for my lifestyle but if it wasn’t, would the case be the same? Research has found that this would not be the case at all. Instead, we might focus on style, convenience, and price over concern about the conditions in the factory or the people who work there. I don’t believe this is because we don’t care but because these issues seem so far away, they don’t really affect us, we don’t/can’t immediately empathise.
I’m not the only one that feels like empathy could be the missing link. Many times, I see brands promoting their sustainable/ethical credentials by sharing facts, which are completely necessary but at the same time, I empathise with people, not numbers. There needs to be a balance. If there’s anything that 2016 has taught us it’s that emotions can be more powerful than logic.
Why is this important to me?
I love that fashion can be used as a medium for self-expression, personal growth, and freedom. Clothes don’t judge you or discriminate, you can make it into what you want and mold it to suit you and your personality. It’s a powerful medium for change and creativity but at the same time, my quest for personal style can’t come at the expense of others or the environment.
For me, loving people includes factory workers in Cambodia, and caring for the environment extends beyond weekly recycling. Love for God, and therefore love for people, is the driving force in my desire to really care and care enough to act. However, this doesn’t mean that the journey has been easy. I don’t shop at fast fashion retailers not because I don’t like the clothes, the shop windows still call out to me. I don’t shop there because I want to be a part of a change for the better.
I still have a long, long way to go but I think it is better to start somewhere than nowhere!
Practical tips for making sustainable fashion choices:
I don’t want to leave you with food for thought without giving you ideas on how to move forward. My 2 top tips for learning empathy and being more sustainable is to…
- Figure out why is it important to you & what is motivating you
- Then get informed. Lives behind the Label profiles the people who are actually making the clothes, sharing their stories, experiences, and ambitions. The True Cost movie goes behind the scenes of fashion manufacturing. Fashion Revolution has some great resources and facts. Where does donated clothing really end up?
What do you think? Would you try any of these?
BTW, are you following me on social media? If not, why doe?
Follow my Sustainable Fashion Instagram: @hnbstyle
Previous posts on the subject
- How I’m Changing My Wardrobe for the Better #NoMoreFastFashion
- Ethical Fashion Wishlist: Birthday Edition