Five Ways to Make Your Style More Sustainable

Celebrate Seattle's EcoFashion Week with these green, fashion forward tips
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Give your wardrobe a green-over.

Where fashion is concerned, green never really goes out of style. Filling your closet with an eco-friendly style helps the environment, and your wallet. Plus, you’ll look and feel good.

In recognition of Seattle's EcoFashion Week (that started yesterday and runs through the 4th), here are the top five ways that fashion-conscious consumers can bring more sustainability into their wardrobe.

1. Get your clothes to work for you. You don’t need to wait until spring to deep clean your closet. But instead of tossing those so-last-season garments, donate them to charity or a thrift store (Macklemore would approve). Also, consider what in your wardrobe simply needs a quick touch-up, a hem here or a button there, and weigh it against the cost and time of replacing it. A simple 10 minute home repair could save you hours in traffic (not to mention the headache).

Fashion exchanges like Crossroads or Buffalo Exchange are a great way to barter what you already have to find something new and unique. 

Don't ditch your beloved boots just because the sole is wearing out. Follow Nordstrom's example: the upscale retailer sends their shoe repair jobs to Emerald City Sole Repair, one of the most reliable and quality resolers in town. 

Utilize your Pinterest savvy and look into upcycling your clothes into other useful purposes: handbag anyone? Who knows, you might even develop a new talent—and a relationship with your sewing machine.

2. Educate yourself. Americans are becoming more and more interested in where our food comes from. Shouldn’t we feel the same curiosity about our wardrobe? The truth is that before your clothes hit retail shelves, most garments undergo extensive manufacturing, packaging and transportation operations—not to mention chemical and industrial detergent washes—that often damage the environment. Play Nancy Drew and investigate the brands you like. How are those clothes made? Where are they made? And who made them? Read those garment tags and be curious. Follow in the footsteps of the Fashion Revolution and be willing to ask manufacturers: #whomademyclothes? Weild your consumer habits with pride and care, knowing your purchasing habits help to determine the decisions and policies of the fashion industry. 

3. Shop eco-friendly retailers and brands. Identify and support stores that are transparent about their manufacturing, and where production is traceable. Lucky for you, Seattle is chock-full of retailers, including second-hand and thrift stores, that make minimizing their carbon footprint a priority. What's more, buying local is one of the easiest ways to green your closet. Here are a handful of our environmentally-conscious (and fashion-forward) neighbors in the city:

Totokaelo

NUBE

Sling & Stones

Market Street Shoes

SPUN

Nube9

El Sage Designs

Lucky Vintage

Red Light Vintage

Green Eileen

Greensource

Pretty Parlor

Prairie Underground

Proper Worthwest

Revival Ink

Go Green Pro tip: When buying, give yourself a mandatory waiting period (to avoid impulse purchases) and reject the “fast fashion” model by instead adding staple pieces to your wardrobe that have longevity. You'll not only be consuming less; you'll also be making room in your wallet, and closet, to afford higher quality, longer lasting pieces that tend to be more expensive.

4. Support green causes. This week is the perfect time for consumers to become more conscious of a sustainable wardrobe. Starting today (through the 4th), Seattle celebrates EcoFashion Week, a multi-day event that boasts a host of activities, such as panel discussions and lectures, company spotlights, and a fashion show focused on local Seattle talent. Support EcoFashion Week and help raise awareness about growing sustainability initiatives in the fashion industry.

5. Take care of your clothes. Overwhelmed by the green movement and don’t know where to start? Try with small changes. Taking care of your clothes seems self-explanatory, duh. But taking simple precautions, like actually following the washing instructions for your garments and storing them properly—read: not in a pile on your floor—help your garments last longer. Being smart about caring for your wardrobe is a simple and easy way to live with more sustainable style—and you can start that right now.

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