This post feeds into the cliché, “practice what you preach.” While I went in knowing certain terms and their definitions, I didn’t fully grasp sustainable fashion and its purpose until I attended The RealReal’s workshop this past week. Three quarters of my outfit was fast-fashion with the exception and necessity of my Burberry London vintage long sleeve crop jacket. Mind you it was near the mid 70s indoors and out. In actuality, most of if not all of my pre-loved gems fall into the outerwear, footwear, and accessory categories. So you can gather I knew what sustainability was but practiced it half-assed.
What I enjoyed and absorbed from this workshop was the impact, purpose, and reason (s) for sustainable fashion today. It wasn’t as if I didn’t value conscious and eco-friendly things, I just have this obsession with buying the newest version(s). The way I see it is that fashion in itself is recycled inspiration. All of the trends we see and have yet to see have had a past life (or several). The designs, fabrication and embellishments may appear brand new, but the silhouette, print, or style is tied to a decade before. So the next time you shop fast fashion, recognize that its an adaptation (a beautiful one but still, a repeat). But yet it still feels brand spanking new once it hits the web, shelves, or gram.
So What Is Sustainability and It’s Relevance?
Sustainability is the avoidance of shopping fast fashion at its core or at a decreased level. It focuses on harvesting resources rather than depleting them. It is repurposed materials and in relevance to The RealReal, second-hand luxury items.
What’s Its Role In Fashion?
Its role in fashion is a topic of conversation. While it plays a role in educating consumers about designers’ past work it also influences you them to perhaps want vintage over the newest designs of this year and season. Sustainable fashion is comprised of recycled silhouettes and pre-owned goods. What’s the goal? To give these materials and personal treasures a second life. Keeping things in rotation. Though it originated, surprise surprise in the 60s, its actual rise was between the years of 2000-2006 thanks to Women’s Wear Daily. It is widely popular today with good reason.
Why Should I Care?
There are listed reasons and key issues with fast fashion. Let’s start with the obvious of surplus and its harm to our environment. The stats read like this:
- 21 billion tons per year of textiles sent to landfills.
- 20% of the fashion industry’s contribution to industrial water waste alone.
- 80% of the suppliers are women.
Think of the purchases you have made this year, the clothing manufactured daily and the actual wearings of your clothing.
Fast fashion, much as I love certain brands isn’t the highest quality. It’s not a myth or secret, it’s the truth. Certain items wash and wear only a certain amount of times before you need a replacement. Think of the dollar amount and the goods wasted. That’s money tossed away and more pollution to our ecosystem.
How Can I Help?
So not to preach like I will only shop sustainable fashion the rest of my days, I certainly have shifted my shopping approach and buying habits into thinking more sensibly. I’m more aware of the longevity of my clothing and determining its overall value; physically and emotionally. I’ve added on greatly to my wish listing of luxury pieces that I would trade in for my current belts or bags. I’ve made numerous purchases with The RealReal already but recently shifted my focus into apparel this time. Did it help shopping at the Wooster store? You betcha. It sparked my curiosity to surf and sift through the website: to check daily for new arrivals, my obsessions and their demand, and snatch up the white dress style I’ve been on the hunt for. Yes, a broderie number.
So how you can help is quite simple. You reconsider fashion giants’ pleated culottes and instead have a look at The RealReal’s selection of Issey Miyake. Or maybe lend your heart out to a Very Good pair of Cerulean Prada Canvas Square- Toe Pumps. Or perhaps start saving your pretty pennies for the quilted Chanel flap bag of your dreams. I myself, have my eye on a canvas Gucci Vintage Vanity Case.
Did I ramble? My point is shopping The RealReal gives these beautiful goods a second life and you a new personal value. When you assess and measure what your values are allowing or disallowing you to do, you are taking on The RealReal’s mission. You’d be surprised at just how easily you can be inspired to shop consciously and save yourself money along the way. Maybe score yourself a never, used, new with tags, tailored piece.
Oh and you can also consign. And keep the cycle in check.
Pictured: Staud Tunnel Blazer Coastal Blue Check,
$254 $195 + 20% OFF CODE REAL | SEA Sleeveless Mini Dress, $55 + 20% OFF, therealreal.com
Hold Up What Exactly Changed Your Mind?
The more you talk about something, the more real it becomes. The RealReal’s interactive workshop in itself was enough to start the shift. Influencers from our program that I met and new friends made, shopped consignment more frequently than I did, clothing included. Yes, influencers can be influenced too. The fact that I was decked in fast fashion clothing—realizing after the fact. Awareness is key and I fully processed what was learned and discussed—inspiring me to delve deeper into why and what I shop for oh so often.