Ever buy trendy, cheap shoes and toss them in a bin after you realize they aren’t suitable to actually walk in? What about your dated but gently worn footwear? Do you let them sit in your closet until you decide to get rid of them? When it comes to sustainability, these are valid consumer behavioral questions.
It’s not hard to see that there’s a growing concern for global environmental sustainability, and fashion is in the center of it all. While consumers have grown increasingly aware of the environmental effects of irresponsible manufacturing, we have also developed an unwavering appetite for fast fashion. We now know that fast fashion accounts for a large percentage of the total global pollution. In fact, fast fashion is the 2nd largest polluter of the planet.
The real dilemma comes when we as consumers have to balance our love for the environment, fashion, and money (in our pockets) in an a very uncertain economic period. Let’s review the facts, shall we. The cost of health care in the United States is abominable. Interest rates are expected to rise within the 2018 year. Generation X and Millennials are having a hard time sustaining and building intergenerational wealth. Jobs are definitely not plentiful as they once were. At the moment, the U.S. government doesn’t seem to be as stable, peep the current messy political climate and high turnover within the incumbent administration. And, Oh Yeah, the U.S. middle class can’t seem to stay ahead. All of which affects the global economy. So, how can we afford lots of high quality, sustainable clothing or footwear at sky-high prices?
WOAH! That’s a lot. I feel like that venting session lifted a burden off my chest. So, what are we supposed to do? It’s simple. We must take a different approach to how we manage our budgets and our closets.
#1. Thrifted Soles Make the $ DIFFERENCE
You got to know your area. Thrift shops do exist with high quality, ethical goods and premium labels. Take a few weekends to scope ‘em out for high quality clothes, footwear, and accessories on items that will last while saving you major bucks in comparison to purchasing items at full retail value.
#2. Shoe/ Clothing Rentals Are Residual Income
Rented shoes might seem like a very foreign, strange concept. Alternatively, you can find a consignment shop to sell with, but it’s only a one-time sell. But if you love premium, trendy shoes on a budget, why not make some money off your boxed shoes? Of course, you don’t want to be photographed in the same designer shoes over and over, so companies are creating rental subscription and regular rental options for those of us looking to have the best of both worlds. For instance, companies like Style Lend are enabling fashion lovers in NYC to be able to earn residual income and support less fashion wasted through their luxe fashion retail.
*See my full list of footwear rental companies here.
#3. When You’re Done, Donate!
I make a habit of doing this personally. I’ve found less fortunate Queen Feet ladies in my community that I seek out when I’m ready to empty my closet. It’s a win, win, win honestly. I get to make more space for brand new purchases, someone else is blessed with gently worn footwear, and the environment is saved from one less article of pollution.
Be sure to consider prom and graduation seasons in your communities. Growing up, my high school and local university had sought out teens and college women to host prom and job fair giveaways. These events helped to style these young ladies from head-to-toe in gently worn or new threads for HUGE moments in their lives.
What are some other ways that we can all be more environmentally friendly with our closets? I’d love to hear from you.