Welcome to the second installment of our “Sustainable and Ethical Fashion 101” series. Over the course of several weeks we will dig into the details of sustainable and ethical fashion and how we can make it a part of our daily lives. If you missed Part 1 of the series, you can check it out using the link above or by clicking here.
Today, I want to spend some time talking about the guilt that can sometimes come with learning more about sustainable and ethical fashion. I know I felt SUPER guilty as I learned more about the damage fashion causes to the environment. I felt guilty because of the role that my own shopping habits played into it. I felt guilty for not knowing. I felt guilty for not doing things to change sooner. And, I felt guilty, because sometimes our needs (like a child who outgrows clothing quickly in the middle of a pandemic) still necessitated not shopping in the most sustainable fashion. I also know that others have felt those same feelings of guilt.
So, before we can move on to how to incorporate sustainability and ethics into our lifestyle, we have to deal with these feelings. I’m certainly not an expert or therapist, but I do have a few tricks that helped me get over feeling guilty about participating in fast fashion. I’m sharing these tips with you in hopes that you’ll be able to put them to good use as you start your journey into sustainable and ethical fashion.
- Forgive Yourself
Most of us are really, really hard on ourselves. Like, REALLY hard on ourselves. The first thing you have to do is forgive yourself. We are human; we’re going to make mistakes and mess up. It’s OK. It’s a part of life. But we can’t continue to beat ourselves up over simple mistakes. Especially if we didn’t know we are making them. Which brings me to the next tip . . .
- You Can’t Do Better Until You Know Better
Most consumers have NO IDEA where or how their clothes are made. Truly. If that’s you (like it was me and so many others) that is OK. You can’t do better until you know better. And reading this blog series is the start of you knowing better which will, in turn, help you do better.
- Take Baby Steps
This isn’t going to be the type of journey that happens overnight. It’s going to take days, months, and even years to commit to and maintain a sustainable and ethical fashion journey. And, even then, it’s going to be hard to be 100% sustainable and ethical in your fashion. For example, the sheer act of washing our clothes has an environmental impact (again, that’s OK). So, I suggest approaching this journey in baby steps. Try to make 10-20% of your wardrobe sustainable and ethical over time. Pick which areas of sustainable and ethical fashion matter to you and then work to incorporate them into your life. Pick one thing you’ll do differently — like swap or consign clothing you no longer wear or take shoes for repairs before tossing them and getting a new pair — and focus on that one thing. Tiny changes can add up to big results over time.
- Embrace the First Day
There is a scripture I love, Isaiah 43:18, which says “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past.” I love it because it reminds me not to dwell on something that happened yesterday or the day before (and I’m an anxious person, so I do this A LOT). I’m encouraging you to take the same approach to your journey in sustainable and ethical fashion. Today is day one. Whatever happened before doesn’t matter. Embrace today as your first day on this journey and on this path. Let go of everything else and just think about what happens from this day forward.
Now that we’ve moved past our feelings of guilt, we can get to work! Next week we’re talking all about ways that you can incorporate sustainable and ethical fashion into your life. If you want a little bit of a head start, check out a post I wrote earlier this year about incorporating sustainability into your wardrobe. We’ll cover these tips and so much more next week.