11 Ways you Will Change the Fashion Industry
It's Fashion Revolution week and we're calling on everyone reading this to help us in changing this tired industry. While the task may seem daunting, between your voice and your wallet, you actually have an incredible amount of power.
Below are 11 ways you can exercise that power for good.
1. Buy less
Fast fashion exploded onto the world over the past 2 decades, bringing with it dirt cheap clothing and a disposable nature. Here are 3 startling facts:
- We buy 400% more clothing on a per capita basis than we did just 20 years ago.
- 82 lbs of clothing is thrown in the garbage by every adult in the USA each year
- 30% of clothing in people's wardrobes went unworn last year
Want to make an immediate impact on the fashion world? Buy less.
2. Buy better
Don't buy because you can; rather, buy because you honestly can't live without it. You'll get way more use out of one quality-built item that you love than 3 cheaply made items. Vivienne Westwood, a Goddess in this space, sums it up beautifully:
3. Ask why
Have you ever seen a garment that you like and bought it simply because the price was too good to be true?
In the fashion industry (like in life), if something appears too good to be true, it is too good to be true. Somewhere a corner is being cut to make the price artificially low. This could be unsafe labour, child labour, underpaid labour, environmental pollution/poisoning, cheap materials that will never go away, or more. Many products benefit from all of the above.
Companies worth supporting will always show you what's behind the curtain. Fair/safe labour certifications are expensive for a company. Environmental protection certifications are expensive for a company. Ethical practices at every turn are expensive for a company. Any company doing these is going to proudly advertise as much. Support these companies - like yours truly, as evidenced here - and you support an entire ecosystem of good in the world.
4. Support small sustainable designers
Fast fashion may seem responsive to global trends but nothing will ever beat a personal relationship with a small brand. When you're there from the beginning supporting a designer's work, you have the voice to actually change their company. Want a new style, a type of fabric incorporated or more focus on ethical behaviour? Let the brand know via email or social media and watch them strike up the dialogue.
Our brand's best products are responses to customer demand. We are always listening.
Help shape the next global fashion brands while you have unparalleled access.
5. Support artisans
An artisan is defined as a worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand. In other words, the opposite to fast, mass-produced fashion that's run more like an assembly line.
Artisans are those that put the care, skill, and love into your favourite products. They are the embodiment of quality and an artisan-made good has the additional benefit of coming with a great story.
For example, did you know that our Plastic-Free Flats Hair Ties, Organic Headbands, and Sustainable Scrunchies are all made by hand in a social-good facility owned and operated by nuns. Their Fairtrade certified facility uses profits to fund community causes, including a cancer treatment centre for those without access to care. By working with artisans to handcraft our hair ties, we've created hair ties that are 3x stronger than the competition based on lab testing.
We know first hand that every time you buy one of these goods you're making a very real difference in the lives of very real people.
6. Buy used
It's estimated that only about 10% of the clothing donated to thrift shops ever gets sold so, unfortunately, it alone is not the answer to fast fashion. It is, however, going to save you money, act as a small but meaningful "you're losing my business" to the industry and give mother nature a helping hand in the process.
7. Love your tailor
Once upon a time there was a thriving industry of tailors, one on every block to help you bring your garments back to new when they'd tear or wear down. While they may not be on every corner these days, they still do exist. Instead of throwing away that favorite piece, take it to your local tailor and give it a new life. If you're fortunate enough to have the skills, bring out the sewing machine and do it yourself.
Not sure where to find a good tailor, ask your friends. We have been given incredible recommendations of at-home tailors who are life-changers, especially as parents. We keep a running bag of "in-need-of-repairs" clothing and take it to our tailor once every few months. The clothes come back good as new - sometimes even better!
8. Give yourself a Fashion Mantra
Mantra is a repetition tool used in meditation to aid in concentration. It's also a tool for manifesting what you want in your life. We're big fans of the power of mantra and use it regularly in our meditation tutorials and in life.
Give yourself a "fashion mantra" that you can remind yourself of every time you go shopping. Something like Marie Kondo's "does this bring my joy?", or Vivienne Westwood's "buy less, choose well, make it last", or "I will only buy used or sustainable this year". Repeat this mantra as a reminder next time you see that piece you like but know you don't really need.
9. Talk to your friends and family
Get some friends or loved ones together, pop some popcorn, then watch The True Cost on Netflix. This documentary will inform you of the perils of fast fashion, while empowering you with the tool kit to spread awareness further. Tell your friends and family to watch the movie too.
Don't have time for a 2 hour movie, here's our own - much shortened - version:
10. Put your favorite brand on the spot
We'd like to think your favorite brand is KOOSHOO and please know, if you write to us with questions, we'll get back to you with honest answers. But of course, should you have some other favorite brands in the world, I'd like to believe they too would get right back to you.
During Fashion Revolution week, turn your garment inside out and take a selfie with yourself in it. Post it on social media, tagging the brand behind the garment, and ask #whomademyclothes?
If a social media revolution doesn't resonate with you, go old school. Type an email (or write a letter) to your favorite brand(s) to ask for more clarity about the way they treat their workers and the environment. Some sample questions:
- What are the safety standards in the factory?
- Are the workers paid a living wage?
- What do you do to protect the environment?
- What does your company do to minimize harm to the environment?
This is also a great opportunity to ask for what you DO want to see. If your favorite brand is lacking on the "doing good" spectrum, push them to do better. If they're worth your time, they'll listen.
11. Choose empowerment over guilt
We've spent the past decade-plus talking to people about the importance of ethical and sustainable fashion. You know what's the easiest way to end an otherwise enlightening conversation? Guilt.
In a tumultuous world of pressures and anxieties, the last thing we need is more guilt. So you bought clothing from a company constantly associated with child labor (cough, Gap!). That's OK. We all have in our lifetimes - and may continue to.
None of this is intended to make you feel bad about your purchasing decisions. The point is the exact opposite. You should feel empowered - literally broken down to "you are in power". This is the absolute truth. As we prove here in this blog post, one person can absolutely make a difference.
See the 10 points above for examples of your power but most important, remember the beauty of fashion is that it's all about personal choices. You might believe that what you wear says something about who you are but we'd argue "how it was made" says even more. Own that and this industry will change for the better in a hurry. We guarantee it.
If this post has helped you in any way, please share it through your social media and/or by email. Together we really can make a difference.