Simple Tips for Going Green With Your Closet
From buying local food to biking, it’s clear that the green practices are not a passing fad but are here to stay. As much as we’re able to suss out locally produced foods, farm to table restaurants, and troll our farmer’s markets for pesticide-free produce, greening our closets can seem to be a daunting task. However, no step is too small as you begin to integrate these practices into your routine and with these simple tips for going green with your fashion, you’ll have a healthier closet in no time.
Clean Green. A simple way to start out is how you clean the clothes you already have. Seek out green laundry products; a practice long used by new mothers, preferring to not expose susceptible infants to the chemicals and carcinogens founds in most laundry detergents. While it can be hard and overwhelming to determine if labels touting the terms “green,” “organic” and “natural” are actually what they claim, the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency awards a “Design for the Environment” seal to let us know that a company is meeting requirements that are good for the business and environment, using the safest practices they can. Not much of a laundry person? Ask your local organic cleaners about their practices.
Recycle your wardrobe. Many in the fashion community will gasp, but there is no need for a new wardrobe each season. Go through your closet and revive those pieces that you’ve had for some time with new accessories or embellishments! Another great idea is to have clothing swaps and recycle among friends and family. It’s a great way to acquire new pieces when you do need a revamp.
Find a good tailor and never leave their side. Speaking of reviving old pieces, a great way to green your closet is having a great tailor.A long-time fashion insider necessity, a trusted tailor your trusted tailor is not someone who just hems your pant legs, but this artisan can transform old pieces once they know your body, proportions and understand your vision!
Get Conservative. Try shopping conservatively to void a wardrobe that is bursting at the seams. How many “it” bags have we gone through? Pick pieces that are classic and have longevity instead of the trendier items. If it looks like it could have been worn ten years ago, you can wear it today and can’t imagine what you would do without it in your closet in three years, that’s a great way of ensuring that your closet stands the test of time.
Shop “sustainable” brands.
“There’s a wide range of sustainability,” says eco-friendly pop-up Maison du Mode co-founder Hassan Pierre, “and different aspects that can make an item ‘ethical’ or ‘sustainable.’” At Maison du Mode, brands are evaluated based upon a few different criteria.
Materials: Maison du Mode evaluates whether the materials are organic, sustainable, or artisanally made. Production: Look for companies that are transparent about their production process. What is their carbon footprint? What is the effect manufacturing has on their environment as well as the locals who make the goods? Giving Back: Are there any charitable causes that go along with your purchase? Does any portion of the proceeds go to benefit an organization or community in need of aid?
If these standards are good enough for a pop-up renowned in the fashion community, why not use them as your guide?
Buy vintage. You know the saying, “one man’s trash, is another man’s treasure” so why not look for your next treasure at a vintage store. Some of your favorite brands, like Way It Should Be even use materials sourced from vintage fabric reels from designers like Valentino and Chanel!
Go local. Some of the most classic fashion staples are just that, classics that have been around for decades or even centuries and originated from practical use in certain regions. Whether their fisherman’s knit sweaters from Ireland or breton striped shirts from Brittany instead of snapping up the fast-fashion knockoff, why not go straight to the source! Luckily, with sites like zady.com bringing local producers to a wider market, you won’t have to fly around the world to build your wardrobe. Initiate a “call to action” of sorts here in the USA amongst “American” designers. “We look at made in the USA because it’s such an afterthought,” says Hassan Pierre. “We have so many designers working and living here but not producing here so there needs to be a switch to a more localized production force in the USA.”
Look to eco-friendly fashionista. With the prevalence of pop-culture, the symbiotic relationship between fashion and celebrity is no secret. Luckily, fashion’s new crop of It girls offer eco-friendly inspiration. Fast becoming a fitness guru, DJ, entrepreneur and co-found of the Beautified app, Hannah Bronfman’s motto is “your body is a temple.” She is as conscious about what she wears as she is about what she puts into her body. “I definitely try to support designers who are working hard on sustainability and ethical footprints. Its definitely time to move the stigma that eco fashion isn’t luxury or unattainable.” Bronfman looks to high fashion, wearable brands like Maiyet, Suno and Organic by John Patrick for wardrobe staples.
Lastly, check out the launch of the new Zady collection, which will include a range of knits just in time for the holidays. Calling for an end to fast fashion, Zady is committed to being sustainable and transparent in manufacturing.
A born and raised New Yorker, Nneya Richards is a fashion maven with a broad experience in fashion public relations, VIP and editorial. She currently runs Double N Rich Creative Consulting.