I have been interested in sustainable fashion ever since I looked into the history of my favorite teenage brand, Forever21, and found out that the high fashion designers that I, and many young women, looked up to were actually suing this company for stealing designs.
This came as a shock. I didn’t really realize that designs, things almost seemingly as frivolous as any creative thought (shows how little I knew about art), were original creative works that deserved protection in copyright laws. Forever 21, I found, was being a nasty little backstabber to pur culture’s fashion icons in addition to independent emerging designers.
I did more research, and it turned out that not only did this company steal designs, they preyed on vulnerable demographics for cheap labor, poisoned the environment by dumping chemicals into nearby streams, and making the product so flimsy and weak that the customer only had to return to the store the very next season (sometimes the next month), because of how easily the product ripped, teared, and unraveled during the wearing and washing process.
I thought, Well that doesn’t make any sense. What are clothes if you cannot wear them without unraveling on the first week? Historically, clothes were made to last several years due to the necessity of its durability by the working class and also, because people had less money to spend repeatedly on new season clothes.
Such culture was the slow culture of fashion for the common man and woman. Fast forward today and now we have the inventions of the sewing machine, outsourced labor, and we can create what is now called the fast fashion industry. This industry is the notorious industry that so glamorously captures young men and women in their teens and twenty somethings and go by the names of Forever 21, H&M, TopShop, just to name a few. The suburban mall is the breeding ground for this level of clothing, and they are making oodles of money doing it, while piling up the amount of waste in our fashion landfills.
So. After eight years figuring out this research, which, if you check out ecouterre.com or Google the environmental and labor impacts of these companies, you will get what I’m talking about, I’ve strictly come to favor just a few brands in a very niche shopping go-to on my day runs.
I favor luxury resale shops, which are consignment clothing stores that resell strictly higher end designers. It’s within this category of shops can I find original designs for the price range that I can afford. Other’s solutions may be different. But my style tends to be sophisticated chic, where I don’t like my clothes to ruin in the wash and where I can keep them for seasons to come. I also have a system to where my clothes can easily mix and match to create outfits within a wardrobe, but more on that later.
In this photo my top half (necklace and shirt) are from The Vault Luxury Resale in Brentwood, Missouri, while my ankle pants are from Secondi Inc. In Washington D.C. This outfit is intended for the working day, and I actually took these photos right after I got off work on campus (I work at a university). I bought this shirt recently, so I am not too familiar with the brand just yet, but it is called M.M. La Fleur, in which it was made in New York City, which is only a keyword to indicate that it could *POSSIBLY* (not for sure), be made with better thought put into its design and creation.
I like The Vault because they travel to the coasts to find their items. When I’m not travelling I go here to find what I need. The pants were a J. Crew find, which is still a mall brand, but a decent one with reputation for more mature women, who tend to have higher standards for clothes. They are a basic item and can be paired with anything that goes with navy blue.
I found out a year ago that powder blue is one of my flattering colors for my skin tone, and yes, while I am sitting here talking about seemingly more pressing topics, I think it’s just as important stylistically to find the right shades and style for your body and coloring and appropriateness to the setting and place you wear your clothes to. So in a work world, especially in a science laboratory, I don’t want to be revealing, I want to keep it modest and conservative, because I want the focus to be on my work and not my sex appeal.
I hope through reading this people can begin to think about the items closest to them… the very fabrics and by extension the thought and impact you have on the world and your life. While clothing and fashion may seem superficial, they go a long way in making your impressions on the world and infuence how people see you and treat you.
Looking good can make one feel good, and you can help sustain along the way.