Style vs. Sustainability: Can we do fashion better?

 

By: Kashish Masood

Hi everyone! The last couple of months was an exciting period for us, and hopefully for you as well, as it was packed with events about sustainable fashion. There was a clothing swap organized by our own Leiden University Green Office (LUGO) right here in Leiden. Other cities also had active events going on such as the clothing swap organized by Qure in Rotterdam.
With so much buzz around the topic of sustainable fashion, I thought that would be nice to dive a bit deeper into the topic and explore what taking such actions actually means for us and the environment. Don’t worry though, I’ll do my utmost best to keep this article from turning into a snooze fest. So, without further ado; let’s see what sustainable fashion has to offer us!

     

Birthday time!

Starting right off the bat, let’s put the focus for a second on an important recurring event; birthdays. For many of us this means lots of yummy cake, drinks, wrapped presents, and laughter with friends. But, after this period is over, what happens to all the gifts we got that we are actually not using? A lot of them end up in the dumpster never to see the light of day again or keep on lying around your house, unused. For example that jumper from your lovely granny that just does not fit you… So how can we be more eco-friendly and sustainable this season? This might not even require huge changes but some little differences in our shopping habits. If you don’t have a lot of money to spare on sustainable gifts, why not have fun crafting DIY gifts for all your loved ones? A personalized gift is sure to leave a memorable impression on your loved ones without you breaking the bank and being sustainable at the same time. I’d call that a win-win situation for sure!

Style vs. sustainability?

Now some of you fashion lovers out there might be wondering whether there are high quality fashion pieces available on the sustainable side. Well, with an ever increasing interest in sustainable fashion, ethical fashion brands are on the rise as they know are realizing a potential market for their products. Some examples of these brands include Rent the Runway and Veja. Rent the Runway’s motto is literally “Endless styles. Infinite possibilities.” This brand rents off outfits that have been seen on the runway and in this way stimulates the sharing economy. This means your clothes do not end up in the back of your closet but are rotated in a closed loop system. The Netherlands has its own starting version of this called the LENA fashion library. Another brand making a name for itself Veja, which focuses on producing sustainable sneakers that actually look good as well.

Can we do fashion better?

So going back to the starting question now, can we do fashion better? Using fashion libraries is certainly a start and buying from ethical brands will result in an overturn of negative environmental effects that the fast fashion industry causes. But the truth is, it’s a gradual process. These ethical fashion brands need an ever growing market to keep up with high production costs otherwise a high price tag is the only result we’ll get. We need a big effect. Through mine, yours and everyone else’s small contributions. So let’s get started!

 

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