I have to admit the hardest switch for me when it comes to living sustainably is hands down the fashion component. Who knew so many things were made of plastic (and who knew there were so many different words for plastic)?! I guess in my heart of hearts, I had to know there was a reason my Forever 21 shirt cost $7.99, so I started to do some digging and what I found ain’t pretty. One thing I have been studying in particular, is fabrics. It seemed so crazy to me that some fabrics could have a vastly larger carbon footprint than another. So I’ve been reading up about natural vs. synthetic fabrics, and lets just say that after learning about where synthetic fabrics come from…my desire to switch to a 100% eco-friendly wardrobe go from a morning jog to an olympic sprint.
It was honestly so scary to admit to myself that I didn’t want to be a part of the fast fashion and pollution problems any more, because that meant saying no to brands I love and have, worn and worked with for years. It’s one thing when you are making the switch to sustainable living in your personal life, it is another to completely shift your entire business and turn down businesses that used to pay your rent. But it had to be done, and I have never been more excited about my blog than I am now.
I am so stoked to discover and bring you brands that both align with sustainable, eco-friendly and fair trade values and are as every bit as stylish (and affordable) as their fast fashion counterparts, we have already seen this in the Conscious Collection by H&M. My hope as I grow more knowledgable in sustainable technology, and the problems the fashion industry is facing with pollution, that I will be able to really help contribute knowledge and tools for brands that are stuck in the fast fashion model, and bring them ways to innovate. Because the way I see it, this isn’t and ‘US’ vs. ‘THEM’ thing…this is a 7 Kingdoms vs. The Knight King kind of thing, so sharing resources and ideas is truly paramount to the success of sustainable fashion…but that is a topic for another time.
Until then, let’s talk fabrics.
In an effort to shed some sustainable light on your next shopping trip, today I am sharing 3 reasons to flip the tag over before you buy your next summer staple, see what it is made of, and give synthetic fabrics the boot (not sure what replace them with? I got you bae, scroll to the bottom for some stylish staples to go for instead)!
3 REASONS TO DITCH SYNTHETIC FABRICS
Synthetic Fabrics are Made of Oil, Plastic and Chemicals
Did you know that synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon, acrylic and rayon are made with chemicals like petroleum? Yes, the same kind of oil you put in your car. So let’s get this straight…Fast fashion brands are literally using things like petroleum and terephthalic acid to make us plastic clothes that pollute the ocean and our air, and make us smell funny because they are *plastic* and so our sweat has nowhere to go, and we have all just been lining up for it like suckers?! Well, not today Zurg!
SUSTAINABLE SOLUTION: Start peeping those tags yo! Make sure you actually read the care label on the clothes you are buying! You want to aim for natural fabrics like cotton, linen, wool, hemp and cashmere that will biodegrade. Also, aim for organic options when possible because this means the people farming the resources aren’t using harmful chemicals on their crops.
Synthetic Fabrics are the Pollutant that Keeps Polluting
The annoying thing about synthetic fabrics, is that they are habitual polluters. They contribute to the largest pollutant known to mankind, oil manufacturing. Then, most synthetic fabrics have to be shipped which adds to the air and water pollution. Then, you have the water pollution from the synthetic dyes that have to be used because synthetic fabrics won’t absorb natural dyes (because they are *plastic*). Then on top of the toxic dyes we are sending into our water with every wash, you have to factor in the average of 4,500 fibers per gram of clothing that come along with it. Then, when you are done with your garment, even if you recycle it, it will eventually end up in a landfill where it will stay upwards of 200+ years.
SUSTAINABLE SOLUTION: This is a tough one. I have often wondered what is worse? Throwing away all of my synthetic clothes because washing them is polluting our water, or wearing them until they fall apart to avoid buying more stuff and contributing to a landfill. I honestly don’t know which is worse, but I did find these cool laundry bags called ‘GUPPYFRIENDS’ specifically made to battle micro-plastics in your laundry so here is a start!
Synthetic Fabrics Will Probably Just End Up Back On Your Plate…Wait What?
The ocean is a BIG place. Like, it covers 71% of the planet. So when I read articles that scientists are finding traces of plastic in everything from my sushi to my HONEY – it’s time to freak out just a lil bit. I don’t know about you but I don’t like my yellowtail with a side of styrofoam. Since awareness surrounding micro-plastic pollution is kind of newer thing (and the fabrics themselves haven’t been around that long in the grand scheme of things) there isn’t any scientific data to really tell us how humans will cope with the amount of plastic we are ingesting, but if the million sea birds that die from plastic pollution every year, or the amount of new pharmaceutical commercials coming out on the daily is any indication, I’m thinking plastic + human consumption = not good.
SUSTAINABLE SOLUTION: Do your part to reduce single use plastic waste! Looking for tips? Check out my article where I share 19 stylish ways to say goodbye to things like plastic takeout forks and Starbucks cups, say hello to a more sustainably stylish you!
SHOP SUMMER ESSENTIALS IN NATURAL FABRICS THAT I ‘M LOVING ATM
It’s not that I can’t find thrifted goodies to wear, or get extra miles out of an old shirt by DIYing it, but you are talking to a girl who LOVES to shop, and as a blogger it’s part of my job (or at least that is the excuse I give my husband when I am having an ADD TO CART kind of day). So I have linked some of my favorite pieces I discovered this spring made of linen and cotton, you might notice I have a thing for white (now I just need a vacation glow to go with my wardrobe).
Location: Whole Foods, Salt Lake City, Utah