State Street Style: Reduce, reuse, restyle

(Design by Andrew Willoughby.)

Who says green isn’t your color?  

It’s no secret we all need to do better for the Earth. Whether that means in our personal lives or at work, no step toward sustainability is wasted. Refillable water bottles, reusable straws, and of course, recycling are great small changes that lead to a big impact.  

If you’re already a thriving environmentalist, you’re doing great, sweetie. If you feel like you need to step up your game when it comes to saving our one and only planet, consider your closet.  

Everyone loves a good bargain, but retailers known for their low prices (cough cough, Forever21) are using production methods known to be extremely harmful to the environment. Fast fashion companies develop product meant to be replaced quickly, which leads to poor quality and a crazy amount of waste.  

The textile and apparel industry is one of the largest polluters globally. Dyeing fabric uses a ton of water, far too many garments get thrown in the trash, and many materials used for clothing aren’t exactly eco-friendly. Thinking about this can be stressful, but you don’t have to be a fashion major to make a difference.  

You may not realize it, but when you threw away your old middle school T-shirts, they made their way to a landfill (gross). The overall process of decomposing clothes depends on the textile, with cotton taking three to four months, wool lasting one to five years in a landfill, and rubber soles taking a whopping 50 to 80 years to finally decompose, according to Cariloha blog.  

So next time you want to do a “Marie Kondo style” clean-out, take your unwanted or non-joy-sparking clothes to a donation center or consignment shop. If you’re a fan of H&M, you can donate your used clothes in-store and be rewarded with a coupon. This way, you’re reducing the amount of waste in landfills while simultaneously giving someone a new outfit. 

It’s a win-win.  

Thankfully, more and more apparel companies are striving to do better for the environment. Clothing brands such as Athleta use recycled materials and organic fabrics to produce their garments.  

Recycled plastic can be ground down and repurposed into thread and made into stylish pieces (phew). Check out Adidas’ shoe line in collaboration with Parley. These sneakers are made from plastic that otherwise may have ended up at your favorite beach.  

Many garments made from recycled goods can be on the pricey side, but not to worry. This is a supply and demand issue. The more people switch to sustainable shopping, the less it will cost. Let’s contribute where we can.  

We’re not telling you to go full-on Kourtney Kardashian and start living all earthy crunchy – just be more conscious of where and how you shop. The fight to help our environment starts with small changes that all lead to a great impact. 

Do it for the turtles.