Sustainable fashion isn’t just for tree huggers

Sure, maybe your first thoughts when you hear sustainable fashion is ‘it’s nice, but I don’t want to look like I’m going trekking’ or ‘my one shirt isn’t going to make a difference’ or ‘isn’t that for vegans and tree huggers?’.

I have to admit that when I first started to see sustainable fashion, the designs were quite bland and more about practicality than being trendy. As a person in my early twenties, the last thing I wanted was to come off as the ‘frumpy girl’. With all of the fast fashion going around, the ease of picking up a new $10 Forever 21 dress for the weekend made a $4,000 Stella McCartney dress out of the question.

But since then, things have changed. Larger brands, like H&M, have started to see the importance of sustainable fashion. Platforms, like Etsy, have given artisans the opportunity to create beautiful clothes and accessories for the global consumer. Nowadays, brands can be more transparent about how they went from cotton to jeans. You can see the design process 5 seconds after its happened and call brands out if you don’t like what they’re doing. We’ve made our entire lives transparent on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram, so why not expect your brands to be?

It’s nice, but I don’t want to look like I’m going trekking.

I agree. I don’t want to look like I’m about to go on a 10-mile hike when I’m meeting up with a friend for lunch. Here are two great looks from trendy brands that are taking design to the next level whilst making slow fashion.

Reformation

Tino Pant by Reformation, $178

Vaute

Jessie Holiday Dress by Vaute, $191

Not all of us can afford to update our closets every year with $1,000 pieces. So here are some high quality, low cost looks with fast fashion comparisons.

Slow Fashion #1

TOMS

Beach Master Matte Tortoise by TOMS, $119

Fast Fashion #1

Ray-Ban

New Wayfarer Matte by Ray-Ban, $180

Slow Fashion #2

Bangs Shoes

Classic Olive Lowtops by Bangs Shoes, $45

Fast Fashion #2

Converse

Chuck Taylor All Star Double Zip by Converse, $65

Slow Fashion #3

Gather and See

Tabaka Dress by Lalesso, $80

Fast Fashion #3

Free People

Cosmic Circle Dress by Free People, $298

My one shirt isn’t going to make a difference.

The average family spends $1700 a year on apparel, footwear and accessories. And for 2013, the global womenswear market made over $638 billion in revenue! So we are definitely not buying just a couple shirts a year. Can you imagine the change that could happen if that was spent on sustainable fashion?

The minimum wage for Bangladeshi workers in 2012 was as low as $37 a month. And they weren’t working 9am to 5pm, 5 days a week jobs.

There’s a lot of power behind your dollar. If you don’t support mistreatment of workers and demand ends up declining for those brands, they will begin to listen. We need to change what is popular.

Isn’t that for vegans and tree huggers?

Vegans and tree huggers are often seen as radical people; people who tend to go against the grain and speak up tirelessly about issues they see as important.

If you can’t relate to this, you should be able to relate to the image of a 9-year-old girl.

Bangladeshi Clothes Factory

9-year-old factory worker, Meem, in charge of training in Bangladesh

Unfortunately, Meem lives in a country that relies heavily on the export of textiles. Raveena Aulakh, a Canadian journalist, went to Bangladesh as an undercover reporter after the Rana Plaza factory collapse. She found that there were many underaged children working in factories to help provide for their families.

Sustainable fashion is for anyone who cares about the world we live in.

What can I do?

The next time you are looking to update your closet check out the brands below instead. At a minimum, that’s all you have to do.

If you want to do more, join us in supporting a new era and share your slow fashion purchases by tweeting us and including #lovewildfashion. You can also check out our list of favorite non-profit organizations in our ‘how to get involved’ section. They are always needing help to empower women and make our world a better place.

x Danica, Wild Tussah Founder & Designer

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