We could spend an entire year attempting to scratch the surface of the environmental, economic and sociological impacts of the fashion industry, so we should get started today. In a 2007 feature on fashion and the environment, author Luz Claudio argued that
Consumer awareness about the fate of clothing through it’s life cycle may be the best hope for sustainability in the fashion industry.
Waste Couture: Environmental Impact of the Clothing Industry brought awareness to a rather quiet topic. Take a few minutes to read it and be aware. Now, what do we do about it? There is a ton of information out there about this topic, and I would rather use my time to celebrate and share the amazing people who are already trying to make a difference. There is a lot of movement in the push toward sustainable textiles, fair and humane work practices and an overall “greening” of the fashion industry. Clothing swaps and textile recycling opportunities are popping up all over. Another place we can start is by getting back to our roots…
Call it thrift, vintage, antique, resale, recycled, used, gently used or consignment…here is one way you can take charge of your clothes buying habits and support local businesses – these shops are out there, just waiting for your patronage. So what is the issue? Do you buy used clothing? Do your friends? Unfortunately reuse shops are often solely associated with economic status. If I can afford to buy something new, why shouldn’t I? I have many friends who get furniture, rugs, toys, etc on craigslist or ebay, and I have many who do not. What is the difference? Finances.
When I was in college I began to thrift. We made weekly pilgrimages to the local Salvation Army, and on most days I could be found in an old grandpa Izod cardigan sweater and a pair of old cords. My room was outfitted with chairs, tables and lamps found on those trips. Over the years as I became more financially stable, I began to shop for vintage items, with a heftier price tag in boutique like settings with a more selective stock. As I got older, had less time, and a little more money, I slowed on the vintage shopping. This always saddened me, but the truth is it does take a little more thought and a little more patience. And then I had kids, and they grow…
So with a new baby at home, I put my money where my mouth is yesterday and took my second trip to a local kids resale shop in Silverlake, Los Angeles. Grow Kid Grow is a super friendly, hip little shop, chock full of gently used and new children’s (infant through 10 years old) clothing, books and toys. Missy, Jonathan and Mark recognized the need for such a store and are ready to help you sort and find exactly what you’re looking for. Grow Kid Grow is also a gathering place for local artists, writing workshops, mommy open mic nights and kid friendly performances. I left with a bag full of like-new baby clothes for about $50. But this is not just about money. It’s about a choice, a choice to simplify my practices and to remember that fashion is not disposable.
GJE loves Grow Kid Grow. Go check them out, you won’t be sorry! It is a time where “everything old is new again”. I hope this is the beginning of an on-going discussion about the many different issues associated with fashion. Stay tuned for more!