It’s no secret that fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world. According to the United Nations, the industry is the second largest consumer of water and produces up to 10 percent of global carbon emissions. While a growing number of designers and brands such as Stella McCartney, Reformation and Frank And Oak are making commitments to incorporate more sustainable practices and materials, there are also better choices that the consumer—you—can make for environment. To celebrate Earth Day, we’ve compiled three easy ways to make your wardrobe chic and earth-friendly.
1. BUY SECOND-HAND AND DONATE YOUR CLOTHES
We all have pieces in the depths of our closets that were worn once (and never again) or are brand new, with the tags still on. Donate or consign those impulse purchases to free-up space and keep the focus on the clothes you actually like wearing. Toronto-based consignment service Effortless makes this process even easier—they’ll come get your clothes and sell them for you. “Get in the habit of seeing if there’s anyone who’s interested, and if not, try to find services or second-hand shops who’ll be happy to get them,” advises founder Justine Stinvil. If you don’t have time to go to a store in-person, eBay Canada shopping expert Camille Kowalewski recommends browsing online consignment stores like TheRealReal and ThredUp, and marketplaces like eBay so you can quickly search for pieces based on size, colour, price and more.
2. TRY OUT A RENTAL SERVICE
For your next big occasion, borrow a dreamy designer gown at a fraction of the cost. Companies like Toronto-based The Fitzroy offer a red carpet-worthy selection for four to eight day rentals that won’t break the bank—and they ship across Canada. For everyday wear, the recently launched Dresst lets you to rent three pieces every month, ensuring that your wardrobe always feels fresh. Renting clothes allows you to save money and clothing from going into the landfill—it’s the ultimate win-win.
3. OPT FOR SUSTAINABLE BRANDS
With the range of brands and labels available, you can incorporate sustainability into every aspect of your wardrobe. The Vancouver- and Bali-based Iza Jewelery crafts cosmo-inspired pieces from recycled metals including gold and sterling silver. For the jean-obsessed, Toronto-based Iris Denim opts for biodegradable wash agents (which give jeans their colour) and organic cotton. Kayu’s playful bags are made from biodegradable natural straw, sustainable sourced shell and recycled wood. Sneaker brand Allbirds is going completely carbon neutral starting with a fund that goes towards emissions reduction projects. If you own it, there’s probably a sustainable version of it.
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's bi-weekly newsletter