While doing a robot-routine check on all the usual [fashion] suspects online, I felt a slight panic. A sad demeanor came over me as I watched more and more lines, designers, and trends being developed. While some may question why I had this negative reaction from so much *beautiful* *dream-inspired* creation at work, I couldn’t help but feel the abuse of trendiness and ego. To create a line that genuinely helps solve a problem or is innovative in that it engages sustainability within the industry is one thing, it’s something far different when one creates a line based on just having a fashion label.

Thrifted & Modern's Velvet Tulip Dress

The key to being sustainable is to lighten up on the ‘consumption’ and utilize things that are already in existence. Shopping in excess is an addiction.. one that many woman are trained to want to do. The high of taking home three brand-labeled bags worth of new clothing followed by the low of buyers remorse when the credit cards statements come screaming in your face. And believe me, I was there! I used to buy more and more clothing to fill a void that I had within myself (insecurities, ego.. the desire to be “beautiful”) and it didn’t stop until I realized that all this buying was creating the void! Since then, I’ve mended my ways and found so much more happiness in only purchasing if it is absolutely needed, and buying local, second-hand, or ethically sourced items.

The funnest part of taking a hold of your consumption is how much creativity it ignites! Really- I’m not trying to sell you on this ;) I look into my closet everyday as an adventure in itself- it’s like that nostalgic feeling you get when you open up a box of crayons. I can dress this pair of skinny pants with some tennis shoes and a tee on Sunday and then on Monday, I can wear them on-the-town cropped up with heels and an oversized knit sweater.  You are the canvas! Also, I keep my closet well-organized so that I can see what I’m working with. To not waste is a great relief to the psyche and when you feel confident in using the clothes you already have in your closet you don’t feel that pesky urge to shop all the time… and therefore save yourself from debt and stress.

Thrifted & Modern Tie Dye Lace Crop Top and Handmade Vest

Ok, so there are those instances when you either grow out of something you own or you know you will absolutely not wear a certain piece of clothing anymore. In times like these, an alternative to buying something brand new (that includes the carbon footprint of its production- not to mention the politics of where it was produced or by whom) skip all the drama and instead ‘swap’ or trade! Places like Buffalo Exchange or Crossroads Trading are second-hand stores that are located all over the US of A. They allow you to trade, or get money, for your used clothing. Since they buy from all types of people, there’s always a wide selection of clothing that’s fun to browse through. You can create new outfits that are conveniently priced. You can also find second-hand at your local Goodwill or consignment shop as well as online. Or from family members or friends!

Buffalo Exchange - San Francisco, The Mission store

Recently in the UK, Channel 4 released an iphone and ipad app, in addition to their website, called “Closet Swap“. Essentially, Closet Swap is a platform that connects to your facebook and helps you sell or swap your unwanted used clothing. Online or on the app you can post photos of the clothes you’d like to trade and browse through others unwanted goods.

Channel 4's "Closet Swap" site

Another European site– that actually just became available in the U.S.– is Friendly Fashion. You may remember us mentioning it in REFIX Magazine Issue 2. Friendly Fashion acts on a local level – connecting the user with others within their own city, enabling you to browse for clothing and then meet-up for clothing ‘swap dates’ with the seller.

You can also find some cool second-hand, recycled fashion at vintage boutiques! And if you live in the boonies you can still enjoy this eco-friendly shopping experience as there are several awesome vintage boutiques online! One of my favs is Thrifted & Modern because of their amazing selection of one-of-a-kind affordable vintage. You know buying vintage that showing up at a party you wont end up seeing another girl in the same threads!

All in all it’s about balance and bringing a little more awareness into your consumption habits. Don’t be intimidated.. you’ll find it’s so much easier than you think. Plus, with all the money you’ve saved from not going to the mall for your clothes, you could invest in your own ethical fashion label or take a trip to Paris, yeah? So, get on it!– and save the world one outfit at a time.