“Sustainable fashion isn’t sexy” she said to me. I blinked. I was sitting at a table surrounded by incredible women at a workshop where my mind had already been opened in so many ways when the gal leading the whole dang thing told me this. What’s important to understand about her comment is that when she said sexy what she meant was marketable. What she meant was that consumers don’t see how sustainable fashion directly benefits them and why it’s worth their hard earned dollars. Sustainable fashion doesn’t lend itself to a status boost, it doesn't offer prestige like a luxury label, and its health benefits aren’t as well known as those of other green products like say an organic avocado or that toxin free face cream. This may be true, but I would argue that sustainable fashion offers us consumers so many benefits and that it is, in fact, sexy. Here’s three reasons why sustainable fashion is sexy:
Being accountable for how you spend your money is sexy. The thing about “not being able to afford ethical fashion” is that you are probably spending more money right now on your fast fashion purchases than you would be if you got serious about curating your wardrobe with sustainable labels. How is this possible you ask? Let me introduce you to something called cost-per-wear. Cost-per-wear is simply how much a clothing item costs you each time you wear it. Let’s break it down: most times with a fast fashion piece you get anywhere from 1-5 wears before it goes out of style or falls apart. If you buy a $20 jacket and wear it four times, that jacket costs you $5 per wear. Now if you buy something ethically made, it might cost more up front but it’s of much better quality and style so you are likely to wear it multiple times year after year. Eventually, it could come out to less than $1 dollar per wear.
I will say that it’s much easier to grasp this concept in theory than it is to actually start practicing. And we aren’t judging anyone here. The first step to change is recognizing that there is a problem. And it’s pretty likely that you might have the problem of never really budgeting for your fast fashion purchases because it’s just a $20 top that you snag at Target or a $10 tank you add to your Amazon cart. Well it’s no surprise that these purchases add up. And if you really paid attention to what they cost you, you might realize that it makes more sense for you to put that money towards fewer pieces that you will really love. Let’s hold ourselves accountable ladies, it’s sexy! I do think it’s really important to add here that not everyone can afford to support ethical labels and I get that. Thrifting is a great option if you are really watching your budget and it has little room for clothing but you still want to shop sustainably!
Having clothes that look and feel great is sexy. I mean this is a no brainer, right? Because sustainable labels aren’t throwing out 30 new collections a year to encourage you to keep buying, you can usually count on sustainable pieces to be high quality. By high quality I mean that they take the time to develop the pattern so that it fits well which turns into pieces that are comfortable and functional (think less yanking down necklines that keep falling backward, less pulling at armholes that cut your armpits, less awkward gaping and pulling when there’s too much fabric in some places and not enough in others). And yes, having clothing that fits you well is super flattering. Quality also looks like using durable and beautiful fabrics that look and feel great. It looks like thoughtful styles that you will want to reach for over and over. Just think, if every time you reached into your closet you knew that whatever you pulled out would not only fit you like a glove, it would look amazing, and be worthy of anywhere you needed to go.
Saving the world is sexy. I know, I know, this post is supposed to be about how sustainable fashion benefits the consumer, who cares about the world! (just kidding). But let’s be real for a minute, how do you feel when your impulse Amazon top arrives in the mail? At best, you’re excited about it and wear it a few times before it starts to wear out, or you realize it doesn’t fit right, or really doesn’t go with anything you own, or you don’t really have anywhere to wear it. And at worst, you immediately regret having spent the extra money on this top because you already forgot you made this purchase and now you have one more thing to stuff into your packed closet. Imagine instead the feeling of receiving a package that you have been eagerly waiting days for, since the minute you clicked purchase. Inside is the top that’s been on your wish list for weeks (maybe months). You love that it was made my the hands of women who got paid a fair wage. You imagine how the soft linen will feel as you breeze about your home in it. You can’t wait to wear it with the items you already have hanging in your closet because you kept them in mind when you made this purchase. You’ll feel thrilled. You’ll feel like you are a part of something bigger than yourself and you will feel so proud to have supported something you believe in. At least that was my experience when I finally changed my shopping habits (and it’s still my experience every time I add a new piece to my wardrobe that I am so proud of).
If this is all sounding really good to you, and you’re ready to start rethinking how you buy and wear clothing, I have a really great free guide coming next week that I am so excited about. It breaks down everything from figuring out what clothing fits into your lifestyle (that you will actually want to wear), to how to clean our your closet, to my favorite blogs and resources to get inspiration from. Sign up for our mailing list to be sure you don’t miss it!