Fashion’s Sustainability Problem and 3 Tips to be Part of the Solution

Fashion’s Sustainability Problem and 3 Tips to be Part of the Solution

I LOVE fashion! Not enough to make it the subject of my life’s work and the end all be all for my hopes and dreams. But I do love it. So it’s always pained me that fashion has a huge sustainability problem. It’s like food, inherently there is a lot of waste and short-sightedness that comes with loving fashion or being devoted to always wearing the latest and greatest.

I should add that my experience with Rent the Runway was complimentary and the bag I discuss by FURLA was a gift from the brand. All opinions are my own.

There’s good news though! We can be part of the solution to fashion’s sustainability problem by making different choices. Here are 3 things that I’ve recently discovered that I think can help fix fashion’s sustainability problem:

Rent the Runway Unlimited

Instead of buying new clothes that will only go to waste eventually, how about trying 6 months or a year of no buying? Instead, rent from Rent the Runway Unlimited. Doing this will supply you with a constant stream of new clothes that will make you the envy of every fashionista you meet but will contribute to a near zero-waste lifestyle.

You probably already know Rent the Runway so they should need no explanation but here’s some of the statistics that caused them to bump it up a notch and invent “RTRU”:

  • the average woman has 10 years worth of clothes packed in her closet but only wears 20% of it on a regular basis
  • to keep up with trends, the average woman buys 64 new pieces a year
  • clothing upkeep is expensive and dry cleaning alone can be over $100/month (yup, that’s me in NYC and I hate it!!)
  • the average American tosses 82 pounds of one-and-done looks a year, most of which ends up in LANDFILLS!

RTRU, as I have taken to calling it, gives you access to hundreds of thousands of styles for work, weekends and everything in between. They take care of the cleaning and clothes maintenance so whatever you receive is in perfect condition and newly cleaned. RTR delivers whatever you pick in an eco-friendly garment bag that’s also it’s own shipping “container”. When you’re done, just enclose your rented pieces in the manner they came, secure the bag with its included “lock” and drop it at any UPS store with the included label.

In short – Rent, Reduce, Reuse.

Honestly, I’d like to commit to one entire year of no new purchases and only a Rent the Runway Unlimited Membership. While I am not quite ready to do that, yet, I think it would be one of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made as someone who likes fashion but can’t stand waste.

What do you think? If you’re ready to commit, use code FIRSTRTR to try your first month of RTR Unlimited for only $99 (normally it’s $159/month).Fashion’s Sustainability Problem and 3 Tips to be Part of the Solution Fashion’s Sustainability Problem and 3 Tips to be Part of the Solution Fashion’s Sustainability Problem and 3 Tips to be Part of the Solution Fashion’s Sustainability Problem and 3 Tips to be Part of the Solution Fashion’s Sustainability Problem and 3 Tips to be Part of the Solution

FURLA Metropolis Bag with MyPlayFurla Flaps

I used to have a bag full of clutches and small purses for all those times I’d go out at night in NYC or at resorts when I travel or for any time I needed a small, dressy bag. It was more times than you might think. Then again, if you’re into fashion, you know it’s a lot more than most people would think. A small evening bag is nearly a necessity. But buying a lot of them is just wasteful when in the end you will stick to the 2 or 3 favorites that you have and simply use those over and over again, letting the rest sit, unused.

Enter: The Furla Metropolis Bag which is one bag that can be customized so that you only replace the flap of the bag but still achieve different looks depending on the occasion. It can be a clutch or a cross-body with an elegant gold strap.

I have two flaps right now from their 90th anniversary collection. I thought I would want more however, they have so far matched any need I have had and in using this one bag with just two interchangeable flaps, I’ve managed to donate and recycle more than a dozen bags I never use. It makes me feel good to live with less and I can’t wait for the next time I pass a lovely evening clutch but am able to pass by it without purchasing. There’s no true downside to living with less.

Fashion’s Sustainability Problem and 3 Tips to be Part of the SolutionFashion’s Sustainability Problem and 3 Tips to be Part of the Solution

if you’re in NYC, or visiting the city, shop at Fabscrap

from a piece in the NYTimes which is how I first discovered Fabscrap: “…you’ll find designer silk faille, delicate corded lace appliqués, fire-red duchess satin, midnight wash denim, and whole hides of leather in tobacco, charcoal or cobalt — for as little as $5 a pound. Fabscrap, founded in 2015, is a nonprofit that recycles discarded fabric from designers […]. It’s part of a movement to make the fashion industry more sustainable. Cotton, wool and spandex are separated, and smaller scraps are sent out to be made into fire blankets, insulation and car-door lining. The good pieces are meticulously organized by color and neatly folded in Fabscrap’s retail space. Last year Fabscrap collected 68,000 pounds of fabric — enough to fill 13,600 shopping bags or create an equal number of head-to-toe looks. [the founder] Ms. Schreiber, 29, […] founded the nonprofit after noticing that New York’s clothing recycling program didn’t accept fabric. “The city collects reusable clothes and takes it to Goodwill,” she said. “It didn’t really fit their model.” She started driving a U-Haul van around Midtown picking up 50-pound bags of fabric from designers. Ms. Schreiber’s goal is to one day collect scraps from clothing producers, which generate a lot more waste than designers. “That’s where you have the potential to make a real impact,” she said.”

So, instead of buying new clothes, why not shop here for the latest fabrics, then hire a local seamstress to have bespoke pieces made for you that echo the looks of current trends? This way, you’re hiring a local artisan AND you’re helping to reclaim waste, turning it into something you will use.

I know these 3 ways barely scratch the surface of how we can begin to help fix Fashion’s Sustainability Problem.
What would you add? What are you currently doing to be a more responsible consumer of fashion?

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