Sunday, April 26, 2009

How to be sustainable AND fashionable!

In celebration of last week's Earth Day, I've decided to blog about Eco-Fashion! Currently, the most prominent topics in sustainability seem to be issues surrounding plastic consumption: water bottles, trash, grocery bags etc. However, during the compact challenge have you ever given your clothing consumption a thought?

Now many people donate their used/unwanted clothing to charities such as "Goodwill" and "The Salvation Army" which is a great way to be sustainable through reuse. Although, most people are unaware that most items donated which are stained, slightly damaged, or simply unsellable are thrown away. To reduce overstocking their thrift stores, many items are still going into our landfills.

Because fashion is fluid and continuously changes, our landfills continue to be filled with textile waste. According to, Americans produce 2.5 billion pounds of post consumer textile waste, annually. This is 10 pounds of waste per person. (For more statistics on this issue click here.)

Naturally, all of us are guilty of clothing consumption but it is important to resist consumerism and be responsible for what we do with our textile wastes. Instead of giving away unwanted clothing try reusing/redesigning them into new items for your own use. "Threadheads" are a group on youtube who make DIY videos that can inspire you to reuse your unwanted textiles and keep you from shopping during the compact challenge!

This specific video is an Earth Day special featuring a clothing recycling organization, Wearable Collections. The video also offers a DIY on how to make a picnic blanket out of old shirts! (perfect for studying on the grass on campus during warm days!)

Unfortunately, I missed this year's "Trashion Show" on campus, because it was last Thursday during our guest lecture at 12pm. In general the show is put together every April by the Student Fashion Association and the ASUCD Environmental Policy and Planning Commission. It features creative fashion of recycled/reused materials. So support the design students, and come check it out or participate in the years to come!

I participated during the first annual Trashion Show (in 2007). Here are some pictures that may inspire you all to consider sustainable fashion during the compact challenge and as consumers in the future! Enjoy!

Garments during judging. (Left to Right) A Dress of reused fabric scraps, caution tape, and neck ties!

A closer look at the fabric scraps & caution tape dress.

The rouged dress on the left is of old puff coats and fabric, while the white gown is made of rags and t-shirt scraps.

Hopefully this will inspire you all to reuse and reinvent before buying new clothing and donating your old clothes to charity. Not only will this help you save some cash, but it will also keep your waste out of land fills!

As Kawamura in Fashion-ology states "Production influences consumption, and consumption influences production," (Kawamura 2006). Based on this concept, I believe if we as consumers change our habits and make better decisions on what we buy and how we dispose of our materials, maybe manufacturers will follow suit.

Thanks for reading everyone and good luck! =)

- Elaine de Lara
Blog #1 - Threadbanger Video -

Kawamura, Yuniya. Fashion-ology. New York:Berg, 2006.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Some of the coolest jewelry I've seen in a while is from here ( great designs and they use renewable resources from the rainforest!