My Slow & Sustainable Fashion Journey

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I’ve been wanting to share this with you guys for quite some time now. It’s really become a daily practice that I’m adjusting too slowly, but my goal is to be as intentional about it as Her Guiltless Garbs culture markets and teaches others to be. I’m still navigating my way through since deciding to adopt this more sustainable journey, so I still consider myself quite a newbie in the cause. I’ve dropped little seeds here and there on social media and in other blog posts, but today I’m uncovering it all and giving you the details on my journey to a more sustainable style. There are many terms and many ways that people approach this movement. There is minimalism, fair trade, ethical fashion, slow fashion, green or sustainable fashion, etc. but today I’m focusing on the practices that I will be adopting and utilizing towards a better wardrobe for myself.

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What is Fast Fashion?

Fast fashion is a business module that we are all familiar with. In this module, garments are produced at an extremely rapid rate to meet the insatiable need of the consumer, the “need it now” generation and to mimic the designer collections that hit the runway. This is essentially why it’s called fast fashion. In the production of fast fashion, quality control isn’t a major factor and lower quality fabrics are used to keep retail costs low. These garments are not made to last which is why their goal is to convince you that you always need something new. This results in collections in double digits from one brand being produced in just one year. For example, retailers like Boohoo can get products from design to retailer in as little as two weeks. (Retail dive) For one of the most favorited fast fashion brands, Zara, their production is a little slower, but now has sped up their production to keep up with the “ultra-fast fashion” module, by producing more than 20 collections with their design to retail in five weeks. (Retail dive)

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What is Slow Fashion?

Slow fashion is designed with quality and longevity in mind. It’s entangled with a social, ethical or environmentally friendly cause while simultaneously enabling you the opportunity to enjoy wearing beautifully designed and well-constructed garments. The production of these garments is made at a slower rate with no more than four collections made each year. Major factors like quality, fair wages, lower carbon footprints, factory conditions and essentially the goal to accrue zero waste for our environment is always a part of the production process. 

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What is Sustainable Fashion?

Understanding sustainable fashion is to understand that there is no 100% way of achieving it. Electricity and water are still used when we wash our clothes, so if you’re using a washing machine, it’s still not completely sustainable. When you think of sustainable fashion or a sustainable fashion brand, think about something that strengthens or supports. Sustainable fashion is basically a brand or clothing that supports practices that support or strengthen our environment and are against harsh and hazardous working conditions for factory workers. They only partner with factories that enforce fair wages, better working conditions and are working to produce materials that are less harmful to our environment. They are also more transparent about their pricing, how and where their garments are made and what they’re made out of. Mostly natural fibers are used to make these garments or another eco-friendly option of man-made fibers, like polyester, being used to create garments from things like recycled plastic bottles.

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My Decision to Adopt this LifeSTYLE

I believe my intrigue started when the idea of minimalism, 10×10’s and capsule wardrobes came in to play. One thing that I do is study my craft A LOT. I’m always looking for new ways and ideas that I can incorporate into my business module to enhance my client’s wardrobe and experience, as well as my personal wardrobe. I knew that for me, minimalism wasn’t ideal because I thoroughly enjoy shopping and because I’m a creative by nature, I get bored easily, but I wanted to figure out a way to make a similar process work for me. I started to notice a pattern with myself and my wardrobe and a major piece was the continuous purges that were happening all too frequently. I mean bags and bags of clothes I was mostly giving away and some selling just to buy new clothes. I initially started with figuring out an antidote for this which was intentional shopping: shopping with a purpose, a plan and with a set of questions and rules. It later spiraled into my now slow and sustainable fashion journey.

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I started to really take interest into understanding how fabrics performed, their properties and how this played a major part in my client’s wardrobe when consulting, my personal wardrobe and lastly how it correlated with intentional shopping. I wanted to not only create the best wardrobe for myself but also for my clients, so understanding fabrics was an important factor in my overall personal and business journey. After a while, I started to limit my purchases of man-made fibers and I started to focus on purchasing clothing with more natural fibers. Unknowing that this was already the beginning of sustainable and slow fashion, I had created better shopping habits, controlled and created less waste for the environment by my new shopping habits and heavily considered quality control of the garments that I was purchasing. It wasn’t until I watched a video about someone discussing clothing waste that made me consider diving a bit deeper into the movement.

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I wanted to stand against what was expected for a blogger, a personal stylist or for someone who loves fashion to make a grand statement not only with my clothing but with my social and economic beliefs. We only have 1 planet, billions of inhabitants and only so many resources and space. What’s crazy is that I’ve never ever been into being green, lol. I never really recycled or participated in save the planet type movements, so it’s exciting to be encouraging a lifestyle that promotes a change. I consider myself to be different than most personal stylists and bloggers in many ways, but it one obvious way by not shopping at all of the same places that they all shop at all the time. I really strive to not adopt a trend driven page for views, likes and followers and to really stay true to what I truly love, believe in and to be authentic as possible. I think that in itself is a movement. A movement that I’m proud of and really have no desire of changing.

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My New Shopping Habits Revealed

The majority of my purchases will be made with sustainable and slow fashion brands. Immediately after deciding if an item is aesthetically pleasing, I go look at the fiber content. Even if I like it, 9 times out of ten I won’t end up buying it if the fabric isn’t favorable. I look for 100% natural fibers or pieces that have a high or almost equal to natural fiber percentage. Natural fibers are biodegradable, are better quality, are naturally breathable and are more comfortable to wear. To start, I’m allowing myself 12 fast fashion purchases a year, which equates to 1 per month. I’m doing this to easily ween myself off of fast fashion and this is the best way for me to adapt at the present time. If I don’t purchase a fast fashion piece one month, which will probably happen a lot, I won’t double up and buy two the next. I’ll just miss out that month. With this, before purchasing any fast fashion pieces, I still ask myself a set of questions: Do I really, truly, ABSOLUTELY love it? Is this piece low maintenance? Does it contain natural fibers and if so, what is the percentage? Can it pair well with multiple pieces in my wardrobe, allowing me to be creative? Is this a color that suits my skin tone? Is it a classic or trendy piece?

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I am also doing more thrift and vintage shopping. In this case, if I happen to love a piece made of polyester, I would consider it as an ok buy for me because I’m not contributing to the newly made polyester pieces, but instead saving a polyester piece from ending up in the landfill for 30-40 years. Viscose Rayon, which is really a fabric I try to avoid altogether because of its unfavorable properties, will only be purchased in garments made from The Tiny Closet at this time. I trust the owner’s opinion and values and have had many conversations with her regarding her pieces. The fabric is considered as a semi-synthetic to some because it’s made from wood pulp, a naturally occurring cellulose-based raw material, but requires certain chemicals in its production. (Google) One of the most exciting things that I’ve decided to do is to partner with local seamstresses in making custom pieces for me. This is something that I’m really looking forward to doing and will allow me to truly ensure that I get exactly what I want from design, materials to the perfect size. 

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Grace I’ve Given and Giving Myself on this Journey

I understand that building a really great wardrobe takes time. As time is taken to design and construct well-made garments, I need to allow myself time to get what I really want. I don’t have to have everything immediately and I won’t always have it if my budget doesn’t allow it. I still have key things that every wardrobe should have on my shopping list that I need to fill in wardrobe gaps and I’m ok with that. My goal is no longer to just accumulate stuff to try and keep up because honestly, it’s just a tireless cycle that I will never receive true benefits from. I’m off the hamster wheel, lol. I want a wardrobe that I truly love and I know we hear this a lot, because it’s such a trend to say, but it only really manifests when you start making conscious decisions, when you truly make an effort to committing to learning what it is you really love and will wear, accepting your body and lifestyle and dressing your absolute best for it. I also understand that there is no perfect solution. There still are negatives to all the clothing that we wear.

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I won’t shame myself or allow others to shame me for my decisions or mistakes that I probably will make a long the way because I’m human. Living a life of shopping fast fashion and deciding to completely switch your shopping habits is a daily practice. It’s like expecting a smoker to stop cold turkey.  I’m also ok with knowing that some of my favorite brands that I shop with, like American Eagle, are not sustainable brands. I pretty much have an obsession with their jeans because they’re really great quality and reasonably priced. All of my jeans from this brand I’ve owned for years and I continue to wear them. For me, this is a great purchase because of my history with their denim, so I won’t allow myself to feel bad for purchasing something that I have been proven to keep and wear.

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What this means for my Business

Now that I myself have presented a change, the question is, will I start to present this change within my business? I heard a Personal Stylist say that she wouldn’t work with anyone that desired to build a wardrobe from fast fashion brands. In a way, I stand with her, but I can’t completely commit to that statement for my business. Here’s why: I stated above that I still will be participating in occasional fast fashion shopping so I can’t completely omit to help others who wish to do so. I also understand that everyone’s budget is at different levels. Because of these levels, it may not allow them to completely build a sustainable wardrobe.

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I will always suggest the better options and try to meet them halfway with what they can afford, but I can’t completely dismiss them because they can’t afford to build an entirely sustainable wardrobe out the gate. For those that desire to join the journey, I’ll be more than excited to help them with what I’ve learned and how I’m building mine. For those who don’t wish to and have no desire to, I can only do my part and encourage them by enforcing the benefits of slow fashion. Now, you may argue that by me building wardrobes of fast fashion brands for my clients is still going against what I am striving towards, but the difference is with guidance and the help of a Personal Stylist, I can aid them in picking the best pieces. This means that what I will be suggesting for them to purchase will be pieces that they intend to wear for some time instead of encouraging frivolous shopping. This will at least cut down on the amount of waste because they will be holding on to their items much longer than usual. I will also include other alternatives that will assist in helping them care and maintain their wardrobes. 

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My Wardrobe as it Stands

For the spring and summer, I created a capsule wardrobe of pieces that I’ve been wearing religiously. I’ve done my last purge for this season and I’ve paired down my wardrobe quite dramatically. I only own pieces that really serve purpose and pleasure for my personal style. When fall and winter arrive, I will do my last purge for a while, reassess my wardrobe and build another seasonal capsule. I haven’t gotten rid of all of my fast fashion purchases and I don’t plan on it just because I’ve decided to travel this journey. If I’m wearing it and love it, in my wardrobe is where it belongs. I’ve created a list of items that I need for the season, and it’s pretty long, lol. I know that I won’t purchase everything before the season is completed, so I focused on the things that I can get now. With this switch in shopping behaviors, I’m still researching and discovering brands that reflect my personal style and are in my price range. I’ll keep you updated as time goes on.

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Thank you so much for joining me back on the site today. I hope that this post has been insightful and has helped you to reassess your wardrobe in whatever way you feel is best suitable for you. If you desire more personalized help in building a sustainable wardrobe, visit my Wardrobe Services and pick your package. Don’t forget to Subscribe if you haven’t to receive instant fashion news straight to your inbox and to chat with me daily, follow me on my social media channels below. Until next time, Grab your Garb!

Style Tip of the day

Your fashion journey is yours. Don’t allow anyone to influence or persuade you to do what feels unnatural or uncomfortable to you. Figure out what works best for you and stick to that.

Her Guiltless Garb

Top: Vintage / Jumpsuit: The Tiny Closet (currently out of stock but she tends to bring things back seasonally) / Earrings: Runway Boutique / Hat: Target

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