Sustainable Ideas for fashion, clothing vintage refurbished, recycled, reconstructed apparel.
Why buy used clothing?
I guess the best way to answer this question would to first answer the question, why buy new clothing? Well we buy new clothing, or accessories for a few different reasons. The average consumer may need new clothes because their other clothing is old or soiled. This is a good reason, but not necessarily the only reason why we are drawn to purchase new stuff. In most cases, at least here in the United States, we a drawn to purchase new items of clothing because we feel the need to have new stuff. Even when our old stuff, well just isn’t that old.
It all starts out at a young age. Young girls want to look like the pop stars on TV, young boys want to look like the athletes. They are not picking out clothes for functionality or warmth, but instead only for a look. For this reason the average consumer is drawn to purchase new clothing not for a need, but for a look. If it is a look that you are going after, why not purchased the clothing used.
There is a good chance, no matter how original you think that your style is, that somebody else was chasing that look before you. When they went after the look it may have been the “New Thing” so they paid top dollar for some designer duds that were just a knock-off of a collection created 20 years prior. You, the much wiser hipster, already knew that with all of your independent fashion knowledge, so why would you be suckered into paying top dollar? Why not pay half the price, or a tenth of the price and get the same article vintage or slightly used at a wholesale rate?
Today is April 22 and we get to celebrate another Earth Day. For those of you that do not know, Earth Day is a day that was set aside to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s natural environment. Earth day was founded by a United States Senator as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. The first Earth day was celebrated in the United States in 1970 but by 1990 Earth Day was being celebrated in over 141 Nations World Wide. Numerous communities today celebrate what they call ‘Earth Week,’ an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues.
At Dust Factory every day is earth day for us. We are thankful for our opportunity to be hands on in the recycling and re-purposing process of textiles and other common goods. It is estimated that over one million tons of textiles are thrown away every year in the United States alone. Because of this each month we attempt to save over 75k lbs of clothing from entering our landfills. This is only a small amount in comparison, but we understand that everything starts small. We are only able to do this through the help and support of those that we work with.
We have spent the past 15 years developing a green business as well as educating and supporting others who are interested in doing the same. It does not matter if you are professional mother or a student, each person can make a difference in their community or neighborhood.
The Following are five simple ways that you can make a difference this Earth Day with your clothing alone.
1. Hand-me-downs This may be easier for the younger readers, but you can give your unused clothes to your younger brother or sister. Moms call this Hand-Me-Downs. It is a very simple concept but very effective if used properly. If you don’t have a younger brother or sister, give your old clothes to a smaller neighbor or cousin. See…very simple.
2. Resale Shop If you are the thrifty shopper or if you think that your are a trendy diva that doesn’t really know that many people possibly due to living in a new location or having a sour attitude, then why not take your old clothing to the resale shop. Beware, there is a good chance that there might be a chubster(1) behind the counter at the resale shop waiting to dish you out a piece of humble pie. This could bring some back down to the reality possibly realizing that their washed up style might not be so unique after all. However, it is worth the chance to make some money on your old finds, and it shouldn’t stop you from moving on.
3. Donate Your Clothes After picking up whats left of your ego, and your entire collection of last seasons rags from the by counter at the resale shop, the chubster behind the counter will tell you that if you want you can donate your clothing to their clothing bin, and they will see that it gets to a charity. Of coarse you will want nothing to do with them,but they do bring up a good point, you could donate your clothing… maybe just not to them. If you don’t care either way leave your clothing at the resale donation bin, or if you want, there are plenty of other local charities that you can drop your old clothes at. Many of them will even pick them up from your front porch if you take the 1 minute out of your day to call them. They will see that your clothing is getting re-used. Just google local charities in your area.
4. Local Clothing Swap If your hurting for cash , and you still cant get over the fact that the re-sale shop didn’t want a single item out of your collection, you could try a clothing swap. Most cities have volunteers that organize clothing swaps. You can find them by Google..ing “Local Clothing Swap” or checking your local Craigs List listings. A clothing swap is a gathering where a bunch of like-minded people bring their old clothing and trade out their old garments for others. If no one in your area is hosting a clothing swap then why not put together one for yourself. It can be done with neighbors and friends, or a through a church or local charity.
5. Repurpose Your Clothing Ok I may have lied, I said that I had five simple ways to recycle fashion and this last one may or may not be that simple. This will depend on how creative you are, and how good you are with a sewing machine. If you don’t know how to sew, it is worth learning , if you do know how to sew then this will be simple. Any dress can be turned into a top or skirt. Any t-shirt can be turned into a bathing suit or t-shirt for a kid. Any pants can be turned into shorts. It is a simple concept, but so often over looked. Sometimes you don’t even have to know how to sew, you just need to be able to use a pair of scissors.
Now make it happen. Next time you go through your closet and clear out two pieces or five bag fulls of clothing think about these five options that you now have before putting them into the trash.
Over the years Dust Factory developed a style that is synonymous with vintage wear and tear. The creative style captures the elegance and authenticity from the original wear on an item. The “used look” to the trained eye is a classic look, separating the item from its counterparts.
Some things just look better with Age
When it comes to particular fabrics or materials, some items just look better with age. Take denim and leather for example, years of wear and tear give these items an authentic look and comfortable fit. Contemporary designers are always trying to find new ways to make their denim jeans or jackets look like they are worn in. They add different washes, wholes, tears and stretch marks in an attempt to make to items look “vintage”.
Here’s the irony: fashion is short-lived while fabric and pollution are not.
After all of the inspiration, design, and excitement pass, the clothes remain. Heavy Flannel, Acid-washed denim, Break dancing pants. They’re out there still, in closets, thrift stores, and land fills. Eco-savvy fashion choices mean not only reducing post-consumer refuse, but also pre-consumer waste and pollution.
After its origins on the farm, forest, or oil field, each jacket spent some time morphing into its present form. What chemicals were used to grow it? Were the dyes safe? As more designers and manufacturers create with eco-concerns in mind, it’s easier to find satisfying answers. Through smart wardrobe management and consumer choices, you can cut down on closet clutter, support clean industry, and look fabulous.
The FAQs below provided by TreeHUgger will help you navigate all of the terminology and find the best ways to Make a Difference Starting With Your Wardrobe.
1.Shop with a plan
When you bring an article of clothing into your life, its kind of like adopting a dog or cat. That cute little number has to have a place in your wardrobe, and you’re agreeing to provide for and give it the longest possible life with you. Abandoning the impulse buy may sound boring, but how exciting is a closet full of stuff that doesn’t work? In the long run, knowing what you’re looking for before you shop will save time and eliminate clutter. You’ll get more use out of a piece that looks and feels great: What colors work for you? What fits work the best? How will the piece get along with everything else in the closet? If the answer to “Will I still want to wear this rhinestone-studded bustier in two years?” or “Can I eventually find a way to use it in a craft project?” is no, skip it
2. Love your duds
Whatever you’ve chosen, take good care of it. When you get home, change out of work gear and into your famous dressing gown or leisure suit. Don’t cook or check the tire pressure in clothes you want to wear in public. Learn how to sew a button back on, or how to coax a nimble friend into doing it for you. Get the name of a local tailor or seamstress for major repairs or alterations.
3. Don’t go dry
Though the industry has improved much since 1992, there is still a high likelihood that your trusty corner cleaner uses perc (tetrachloroethylene), a known carcinogen. See if there is a local green cleaner employing “wet cleaning” or liquid CO2 techniques. Many articles whose tags ask for the dry clean treatment can actually be hand washed, especially silk, wool and linen.
4. Buy vintage or used
People unload clothes for all types of reasons, and you know that adage about trash and treasure. From Oscar-worthy vintage dresses to Freecycled denim, you can likely find the piece you’re looking for second hand. You’ll be giving a cast-off garment a second life, and possibly supporting charitable work in the process. See Dust Factory for more.
5. Wash well
Washing wreaks the most havoc of all. It requires lots of water and energy, so only do it when you absolutely need to and have a full laundry load. Turn articles inside out and use the lowest temp possible. If you know you glowed all over a piece, make a thin salt paste and soak the affected fabric for a half hour before washing. Choose phosphate-free and biodegradable detergents and line dry as much as possible. Treat stains quickly with nontoxic removers. If you’re buying a new washing machine, look for one with an Energy Star label.
Though cotton is marketed as clean, fresh, and natural, conventional varieties are anything but. It takes a third of a pound of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to produce the cotton for one T-shirt! That means lots of direct, unhealthy exposure for farmers and nearby wildlife, and heaps of unnecessary pollution. Luckily, organic cotton is becoming easier and easier to find. As mega-stores get into the game, however, it’s important to stay vigilant about what organic means, so you know you’re really getting clean clothes. Also know that though the cotton may have been organic to start with, your T may be full of processing chemicals and metal-laden dyes. See below for more info on labeling and certification.
7. Find a re-construction
A re-construction garment used to be another or many other articles. Designers all over the globe have taken on this transformative challenge in recent years, with very wearable results. This means a one-of-a-kind look for you, a new life for old fabric, and a livelihood for maverick re-users. See Particle Clothing for More.
8.Approach new fabrics with skeptical enthusiasm
No doubt you’ve heard the hype around bamboo, soy, or even corn fabric. The idea of finding alternatives to petrochemical-based and conventionally grown options makes us all perk up and we see why many eco-conscious designers are excited about them. Bamboo, for instance, sounds great: it’s a fast-growing plant, not reliant on chemicals, and beautifully drapes the human form. Trouble is, bamboo plantations can displace native forests, and the harvesting and fiber processing are often polluting and unregulated. As with soy, corn, and Tencel (which comes from trees), the processing from plant to fabric is energy and resource intensive. For now, approach these as alternatives to poly, nylon, acrylic or conventional silk and await more info. As always, shop with a plan: don’t fill multiple shopping bags just because the labels say “eco.” Read more about fabric choices below.
9.Choose clothes that work for you
It’s hard to feel beautiful in your raw silk dress when it’s likely that children’s scalded hands were part of the production chain. Conventional clothing might not say it, but clothing made under fair-wage and labor practices will usually advertise it. SweatShop Watch and Behind The Label are good sources of info. See more resources below.
10.Don’t throw it all away
Finally, a stain, a tear, or changing fashion threaten to separate you from your favorite dress shirt. Don’t just abandon your old friend to the waste-stream! If the condition is perfectly good, you can always donate or Freecycle it (see below for donation resources).
1. Speak up
Tell your favorite boutique or department store that you want clean fabric or re-used options.
2.Get it re-made
Once you have a tailor or seamstress, take in last year’s clothes for an overhaul. That stained sweater could become a cardigan, and that too-tight dress, a skirt.
Get together with pals for fizzy drinks and a clothing swap. If it’s new to you, it’s new for your friends as well.
Join the Organic Consumers Association’s Clothes for a Change Campaign.
5.Make donating a snap
Planet Aid places bins in convenient places to make donating old wearables easy. Is it easy for people to donate in your community?
THE FACTS ABOUT RECYCLED CLOTHING
1. The average American throws away about 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per year.
2. 10% of all agricultural chemicals and 25% of insecticides in the U.S. are used to grow cotton.
3. It takes almost 1/3 of a pound of chemicals (pesticides and fertilizers) to grow enough cotton for just ONE T-shirt
4. Seven of the fifteen pesticides used on cotton are considered “possible”, “likely”, “probable”, or “known” human carcinogens (acephate, dichloropropene, diuron, fluometuron, pendimethalin, tribufos, and trifluralin) according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.
5. Some studies have shown that organic farmed soils have a better ability to absorb and retain carbon, which would be beneficial in the fight to reduce global warming.
6. Organically grown crops also use less fossil fuel than conventional crops, another benefit in the fight to reduce global warming.
7. Pesticides are suspected to be responsible the severe drop in honeybees, the increase in frogs with extra legs and eyes, and annual death of 67 million birds.
8. The U.S. textile “recycling industry” (which actually re-purposes rather than recycles), with some 2,000 companies, removes annually from the solid waste stream 2.5 billion pounds of post consumer textile product waste.
1.What makes clothing organic?
Organic clothing comes from all-natural materials (no synthetics like polyester or rayon) and there are no pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides, radiation, or genetically modified organisms used when growing the cotton/hemp/linen, or whatever plant we’re talking about.
Organic certification is complicated. According to the Organic Trade Association, organic cotton is grown in 12 countries, with Turkey and the United States leading the pack. There are a number of certifying bodies around the globe including: Demeter (Europe), KRAV (Sweden), Naturland (Germany), SKAL (Netherlands), The Soil Association (England), The Japan Organic Cotton Association, The International Natural Textiles Association (Germany), the USDA, and more. The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) strives to create international standards, and certifies the certification schemes of individual nations.
The Institute for Market Ecology provides on-location certification on behalf of many of the organizations listed above, and according to the Organic Cotton Blog, is certifying Walmart’s and Sam’s Club cotton.
The Organic Trade Association has developed certification for fiber processing. What does this mean? Clothes certified organic will arrive having been processed, dyed, transported, etc. in the most non-toxic manner possible.
What are the various meanings of “sustainable” and “organic” clothing? Check out this informative examination from the Organic Clothing Blog. The Fiber and Fabrics section in general is a great place to learn about hemp, wool, bamboo… And the associated Lotus Organics Clothing, Fiber and Fashion glossary contains most of the fiber definitions you would ever need.
So now you know.
For over 15 years we now have educated the public on the unethical practices of the fashion industry. We do this so that the public has the ability to become more conscious consumers. The fashion industry counts on its followers to throw out over 68 pounds of used clothing a year. Not ‘donate’ 68 pounds of clothing, but throw it away, into the trash so that it can end up in our land fills.
In a recent article featured in the Hufffington Post, Shannon Whitehead exposes 5 truths that the fashion industry would rather you not know. So we thought that it was definitely worth sharing.
ARTICLE ORIGINALLY POSTED AT: Hufffington Post
The fashion industry gets a lot of flack these days. The excess, the overtly sexual advertising, the humanitarian issues, the waste, the lawsuits, the list goes on.
The industry giants have dedicated millions of dollars to massive PR campaigns, going so far as to launch “conscious collections” and donate proceeds to worthy causes. Yet despite these efforts, the truth remains — fashion is one of the dirtiest industries in the world. Here’s what they don’t want you to know:
1.) The fashion industry is designed to make you feel “out of trend” after one week.
Once upon a time, there were two fashion seasons: Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. Fast forward to 2014 and the fashion industry is churning out 52 “micro-seasons” per year. With new trends coming out every week, the goal of fast fashion is for consumers to buy as many garments as possible, as quickly as possible.
According to Elizabeth Cline in her book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, fast-fashion merchandise is typically priced much lower than the competition, operating on a business model of low quality / high volume.
Cline points to the Spanish retailer Zara for pioneering the fast-fashion concept with new deliveries to its stores coming in twice per week. At the time of writing, she says H&M and Forever21 both get daily shipments of new styles, while Topshop introduces 400 styles a week on its website.