Fashion Revolution 2017: Where Do I Begin?
"Much of the global fashion industry is opaque, exploitative and environmentally damaging and desperately needs revolutionary change." — Fashion Revolution
At the same time I studied Environmental Studies at University out of my passion for sustainability, I fell victim to fashion trends, which lured me into constantly buying new clothes in fear of being seen twice out in the same outfit.
Little did I know back then, the fashion industry is one of the largest polluters on our planet and contributes to environmental degradation and public health threats in countless ways: Water contamination, air pollution, intensive energy use, the creation of more nonbiodegradable and toxic waste, climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, etc.
Although I understand that life is a continuous learning journey and that I am only human, I must admit: I still get a little uncomfortable sometimes thinking about how I could have made such mindless, often impulsive choices without fully understanding their consequences.
Examining this in further detail, I came to the conclusion that my problem had nothing to do with my intentions, but rather with my personal lack of understanding (coupled with the industry's inherent complexity, opaqueness, demand-driven incentives, and technological limitations, which all make it more difficult for us as consumers to act on our values).
So with this in mind, I made a mental note to myself:
Learn, learn, and learn.
And when I think I already know a lot, stay humble, question myself, and learn even more. Because ultimately, knowledge can empower us to make more purposeful choices that align with each of our own values.
We can all have the best of intentions and say that we want social and environmental justice.
But to actually translate our vision of a better, healthier world into reality through reshaping the market supply-and-demand, we have to educate ourselves, share our knowledge with others, and whenever possible, dollar-vote for businesses whose values align with those of our own.
After all, not knowing the impacts of our everyday choices (and therefore, failing to create the change we wish to see) is one of the greatest threats to humanity.
So where do you even begin to help make your fashion choices align with your values?
For starters, ask yourself these two questions:
What do I want to see for this world?
What problems in society am I itching to help put an end to?
Once you've clarified what it is you care most about, ask brands about their business practices as they relate to your values and dollar-vote for the ones that you wholeheartedly believe in and want to stand behind.
For more information on how you can get involved in Fashion Revolution, see here.
Sustainable style log by Kaméa Chayne, Content Curator of Konscious Whispers and an author, speaker, Integrative Health Coach, and freelance creative. Follow her @KameaChayne and subscribe to KW to get a breath of fresh air delivered to your inbox once a month.
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