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Slow/Sustainable Living

Slow Fashion: Well Worth The Wait

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Have you ever heard the saying “good things come to those who wait”?

This outfit taught me about patience, and reaffirmed the importance of shopping with slow, conscious brands.

Unlike fast fashion labels, where garments are pre-produced and shipped out as quickly as possible, slow fashion brands take their time and do things right. They produce garments that are timeless, meaningful, and of quality, using materials that are more friendly to their health and the environment.

When I order from slow-fashion brands, I don’t expect to receive a notification one day later saying my order has been processed and is on it’s way to me. I understand that being made-to-order there may be a longer wait before receiving my items (these pants, for example, took six weeks before being ready to ship). It’s a small price to pay when you have the opportunity to support small brands that prioritize an ethical working environment, produce only as needed, and minimize waste.

The end result? Well worth the wait!

My outfit was made with love and care by women who I know love what they do, are treated fairly, and who run their business with intention. And now I have a garment that I will treasure for years to come, and that reflects my values and style.

Moral of the story?

Two day delivery isn’t all that it’s cracked up do be, and if you’re willing to slow down, it could result in something so much more special! 

What Is Greenwashing?

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As more and more conscious consumers demand transparency and look for safer or more sustainable alternatives to products that have typically long been accepted, topics such as zero-waste, slow fashion, fair trade, climate change, etc are gaining momentum. Greenwashing is when brands (who aren’t as conscious as they claim) throw around buzz-words such as “sustainable”, “natural”, or “eco-friendly” to market to their audience, often misleading them into believing that through their purchase, they’re making a more ethical choice than they really are.

I recently experienced greenwashing with a skincare brand I made a purchase from. After placing my order, I had a concern about an ingredient their website claimed wasn’t used due to environmental and health risks, but a closer look at the ingredient label in fact listed it as the first and primary ingredient. Being a company that puts a large emphasis on being completely natural, and who encourages their customers to do their own research into brands and ingredients, I fully expected them to be open and honest, providing clarification, education, and transparency when I reached out to them. Instead, the response I received was extremely vague, and questions regarding the safety of this ingredient were left unacknowledged and unanswered. I was disappointed to learn that this company would rather pressure me to cancel my order, than be forthcoming or make an effort to ease my concerns.

PSA: Brands that are mindful of their practices and processes for the right reasons (i.e.: not to capitalize on a movement) are passionate about these topics! They appreciate customers that take the time to inform themselves, and are happy to answer questions you might still have! This is why I love supporting small businesses, slow fashion brands, and makers/artisans over chain stores. Not only is the quality so much more apparent, but in most cases I’ve come across, they’re more willing to educate their audience on their standards, values, practices, and more.

Moral of the story? Do your research. Look at ingredient labels. Understand the impact materials or processes have on the planet and it’s inhabitants. Learn about the treatment and conditions of those who create what you consume. Contact brands when you have questions. Be aware of red flags (like “ghosting” or vague answers). Look deeper into fast-fashion brands that all of a sudden claim be offering conscious alternatives. Support small.

Building A Wardrobe That Matters: Capsule Closet

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There’s a lot of talk around fast fashion happening as of late, and I’m so happy for it. It’s a conversation that needs to be had.

I’ve really come to learn what environmental and social impacts the fast fashion industry has on the world. People and the planet are being exploited for this industry. Animals are subjected to inhumane treatment. Employees work in unsafe factories, and are paid poorly for their labor. Mindfulness is not given to the resources used in production. Instead of selling, recycling, or donating, thousands and thousands of tonnes of clothes get burned every year, contributing to the mass waste already created. The list goes on.

I’ve never been the type to have a large, overflowing closet, instead choosing to wear those tried and true pieces again and again. But as I become more and more intentional about the life I lead and the impact I have, I find myself saying no to fast-fashion brands, instead purchasing quality pieces from ethical and sustainable brands, and slow makers that are transparent about their process, standards, and values.

Buying from conscious brands, wearing only natural/organic materials, or supporting small can be more expensive than the chain stores that offer you cheap clothing and free shipping, but think about it — how can a shirt ethically sell for less than a cup of coffee? How is the person who made it paid a living wage? What conditions do they work in? Consider the environmental ramifications. And do you really think that shirt is meant to last? No. It’s designed for one or two wears before falling apart, so that you turn around and buy the next trendy item. That’s part of fast-fashion culture. It’s a vicious cycle.

As an alternative, I love the idea of a minimalist capsule wardrobe. Aside from the sustainability aspect, there are so many benefits! Short on closet space? Want to curb your spending? Do you no longer want to participate in the fast-moving trends, and instead want to reduce your possessions, curating your closet with classic, timeless pieces that don’t go out of style? Are you simply too busy and want to put an end to decision-fatigue?

Over the last year, I’ve slowly been building my capsule, and thought I’d share are a few tips I’ve learned along the way. These guidelines are based on my own experience and values, and each of us might do things a little differently. Finding what works for you is a learning processes, and there will be trial and error.

  • Before starting your capsule wardrobe, make a list of the things you need, removing the excess and clutter. The goal here is to narrow it down to about 30 pieces or less, including clothing and outerwear, shoes, and accessories. Undergarments, workout gear, and loungewear are excluded (unless you tend to wear loungewear often, like while running errands or on the weekends, in which case it becomes part of your capsule).

  • Decide on one capsule closet (year-round), or two smaller/seasonal capsules (Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter, storing away the season not in use). If you choose the latter, you’ll likely find that many pieces overlap. While you might see it elsewhere, I personally do not support the idea of a new capsule wardrobe every 3 months, and find it wasteful and unnecessary.

  • Take everything out of your closet/drawers and separate your existing clothes into three piles: love, like, and donate. The donate pile we pay forward right away. The like pile we hold onto, and whatever we don’t reach for within one month we donate. The love pile we use to make up our capsule wardrobe.

  • Choose comfortable basics in neutral colors that easily mix and match, so they go with everything. If you want to add in color or patterns that suit your personality, do so only after you have these staples covered.

  • Forego the synthetics, instead opting for natural materials like organic cotton, linen, hemp, etc.

  • Live with your capsule for a bit before deciding where the gaps are.

  • If there are pieces you need and are missing, instead of shopping at fast fashion retailers, support ethical/sustainable makers or artisans — there are so many incredible small businesses out there, with exceptional quality. You can also shop secondhand or participate in a clothing swap. For special events, rent or borrow attire instead of splurging on a dress/tux you’ll only wear once.

  • Invest in quality over quantity. I’ve always been of the mindset of “fewer, better” or “buy less, choose well”, if it’s within your means.

  • Before making a purchase, sit with it. Do you really need this item? Do you love this style, and plan to wear it over and over again? Does it work with what you already have in your closet? Or do you just have the itch to purchase something new? Will it end up in the “like” or “donate” pile in a matter of months?

  • Remember that it’s not about buying. Don’t use a capsule wardrobe as an excuse to go on a shopping spree every season. Build it slowly and with intention, and make it last for years.

  • Take care of what you own. Don’t toss at the first signs of use — repair when you can.

Do you have a capsule wardrobe? What are your favorite tips for starting one?