Lifestyle

Imperfectly Sustainable

As some of you may know, I started this year off by exploring and educating myself in the world of slow fashion vs. fast fashion, along with sustainability, and our consumerism. Some days I feel like my head is going to explode with all the information I have taken in over the past eight months. It can be a frustrating journey as there are a lot of information out there that is a matter of opinion and, no surprise, a lot of conflicting opinions.

I know that while sustainable fashion/slow fashion is starting to get some traction with the masses, there is still a long way to go. Even just through my own experience of what I share on social media is case in point. I get much more engagement when talking about motherhood, style, and body positivity ( and yay for that!). However, when I post about ethical fashion, I equate it to a few slow claps at the back of a dark room. People want to join in, but aren’t quite sure if they can since they aren’t on the same slow fashion journey, or might feel unsure, or even hypocritical.

I take responsibility for this too. Maybe it’s confusing to see me sharing about a local ethical maker in one post to then see me posting about a mainstream shop promoting an item made out of polyester. I mean who’s side am I on? One of the biggest lessons I have learned so far, is that this journey is not about perfectionism, it’s about doing better. Yes, I mainly share items that are either already in my closet, from a local, ethical maker, or thrifted. I also share a few mainstream fashion purchases I have made from brands that offer size diversity. I still find that at a size 12/14 it can be hard to thrift and ethically shop for everything in my wardrobe. Brands are doing better and offering better but there are still things missing. Then there is the matter of cost and availability. Thrifting pants is a real struggle at my size. I did luck out with some men’s Levis this past Spring and another pair just a couple weeks ago, but other than that, it’s dismal. I do have some local, ethical pants in my wardrobe, and did just get one new pair of black pants for Fall/Winter, as I didn’t currently own any black pants for the cooler temps. This was my splurge item for the season. I also haven’t been purchasing from any foreign brands. This is for three reasons…. (1) I like to support our local economy and keep my money in Canada. (2) I really don’t want to spend even more money and duties, etc. It feels like such a waste for me. (3) I’m trying to reduce my carbon footprint. It feels strange to order a sustainable garment from the other side of the world and have it shipped here. I’m not saying I will never explore options outside of Canada, but this is where I am at for now.

I recently read some stats regarding our shopping practices. According to the Sustainable Fashion Forum, “apparel consumption is expected to rise by 63% from 62 million tons to 102 million tons in 2030. It’s estimated that Americans alone consume nearly 20 billion garments a year, the equivalent to 62 garments each.” After reading this, I, naturally, had to go and do a count to see just how many new items I introduced into my wardrobe this year so far. Here’s my breakdown…. mainstream retail items: 7, small Canadian ethical brands: 23 , secondhand items: 18. My grand total is 48! I have added in 48 new or new-to-me items into my closet from January 1 to August 15th. It feels like a big number still, but I’m so happy with my ratio. I would also like to note that these items include the items I have been gifted for my blog, along with items I have purchased. I have included sleepwear, shoes, accessories, and swimwear to make my grand total of 48. The stats that were shared were based on people purchasing new items only, and mainly from mainstream and fast fashion brands. I would love to know my number from previous years, because I have felt a slow down in my consumption, but, I have still acquired new articles of clothing.

I know there will still be some more items added to my wardrobe as the upcoming Fall season is my favourite of all the seasons. I am already assessing my current wardrobe and making a small, mindful list of items that feel like holes in my closet. So far, I’ve come up with black pants(which I purchase already from Free Label), a lightweight cardigan (just thrifted a beautiful mustard coloured one), a wool coat (only if I can thrift it), and perhaps a turtleneck. I could also use a new pair of everyday Fall/Winter shoes. I’m not sure what yet, but I’m looking. Mindfully, slowly, and thoughtfully, looking.

linen top: gifted from small batch, Canadian Etsy Shop Amelia Rose / jeans: thrifted / hat: bought 6+ years ago in Hawaii / shoes: gifted from Elizabeth O. Vintage / elephant necklace: vintage (was my great-grandmothers)

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