By now, it’s very likely you’ve heard about fast fashion. And you’re likely here to learn how to face off, with grace and dignity, this archnemesis. 

The fast fashion industry rolls out inexpensive clothing as quickly as possible to stay in touch with the latest trends. But, in doing so, it neglects its impact on the environment and the people making our clothes. The likes of H&M and Forever 21 might as well make their mottos, “Keeping it trendy, and keeping it cheap enough to throw away and buy more.”

The aim of sustainable fashion is to fight this throwaway culture. It might be convenient to get a new article of clothing for every occasion or to stay on top of the hippest trends in fashion, but the fact is, contributing to fast fashion causes major environmental issues and human rights violations. 

Young woman sitting on a hardwood floor gazing at her unorganized closet.

Let’s start with the negative impacts on the planet. Because items are being produced on such a massive scale, a huge amount of energy, water, and chemicals are needed to create them. And when those resources are not managed properly and their effects, like greenhouse gas emissions, not mitigated, the use of these resources leads to a crazy amount of pollution. It’s even led to fashion being in the top five most polluting industries in the world.

Throwaway culture in fashion also contributes to the major problem of textile waste each year. According to the annual Copenhagen Fashion Summit report, fashion is responsible for 92 million tons of solid waste per year globally, which accounts for 4% of the 2.12 billion tons of waste we dump globally each year. That is more than toxic e-waste and twice as much as what supermarkets toss in food waste.

Not only is the rapid turn out of clothing wreaking havoc on the planet, but cheap clothes are costing the livelihoods and the lives of those who make them. Fast fashion is known for its inhumane treatment of garment workers. Most garment workers are women with little outlet for other forms of employment. With very little pay and unjust hours, there is no room to grow or earn a living wage, one that could accommodate a family’s basic needs and education. 

If you’re like us, you’ll want to do everything in your power to change how the fashion industry works. There are so many ways to contribute to the sustainable fashion movement, but one of the best ways to combat the throwaway culture is by considering a capsule wardrobe. 

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, and can be mixed and matched with seasonal pieces. Some people think of a capsule wardrobe as being dull or basic, but having a capsule wardrobe doesn’t mean compromising your style. If it’s a piece you know you’ll wear repeatedly (aim for at least 30 times), this wardrobe definitely won’t be synonymous with boring. There are a number of brands out there offering pieces to complete a capsule wardrobe. Some even specialize in certain looks. For example, Vetta is determined to find you a chic, ethical wardrobe for your professional office, while Joon & Co. offers ways to build your wardrobe based on your lifestyle. 

Just because these services are around doesn’t mean you can’t build something on your own as well. We’re here to help you consider a few things before starting a capsule wardrobe. 

To begin, ask yourself these questions when going through your current closet and when shopping:

* Have I worn it in the last year?

* Does it fit my day-to-day lifestyle?

* Does it go with my other clothing?

* Does it spark joy?

When shopping for new pieces, be sure to seek out sustainable businesses that offer ethical and eco-conscious options. The great thing about these companies and the capsule wardrobe is that they value quality over quantity. A few simple and sturdy pieces will last and stand the test of trendy time.

If you do take the leap toward a capsule wardrobe, we’d love to hear about your journey. Comment below or on our social pages!