We’ve all had that moment when we walk into an H&M, see a great pair of jeans on sale for just $20 and leave the store feeling so positive about the deal we just scored. But with the rise of fair trade and sustainable fashion conversations, purchases at discount retailers like H&M and Forever 21 are not as acceptable as they used to be.
I know that I felt convicted after reading articles about the unethical methods of production inside many affordable companies such as H&M. That said, participating in sustainable fashion practices is much easier said than done.
Paying more than double for a pair of jeans from a fair trade retailer is a huge burden on a college student’s wallet. I am all about the ethical practices but simply do not have the budget at this point in my life to shop at rising sustainable brands.
I have found that financially supporting these businesses is not the only way to get involved. Joining the sustainable fashion movement can be as simple as being mindful of one’s personal clothing consumption and retirement.
According to the World Wear Project, each year people throw away about 70 pounds (per person) of clothing and shoes rather than recycling them. Donating used clothing to a local thrift store or clothing recycling bin clears your closet, provides affordable clothing to others, gives those pieces a second life and reduces waste.
Purchasing clothing at a thrift store gives the consumer an active role in the sustainable fashion movement and often supports an additional cause. The San Diego Rescue Mission thrift stores use profits to combat homelessness and the local Goodwill provides employment services to the community.
There are many ways to take part in the sustainable fashion movement that are easy, local and inexpensive.