Lets Talk About the Planet, Baby
Today on the blog we are talking about eco-conscious lifestyles. At ForEverly Yours we offer a trendy and eco-friendly option to shopping for your baby. Did you know every year consumers throw away 70 - 80 pounds of various clothing articles per person? Or that roughly 15% of the fabric intended for clothing becomes remnants and ends up in landfills? We think this is a big deal.
As a maker and retailer I think about my impact on the environment on a daily basis. I want the clothing I make to last as long as possible and to be passed down to other members of the family or donated to someone in need. I have been doing a lot of reading and research on "fast fashion" and what it means to be part of a large cycle of consumerism. The thought of my garbage becoming another country's problem or the amount of water it takes to water a cotton tree that will only produce enough cotton for a few T-shirts keeps me up at night. How can it be that the fabric used in fast fashion products requires more water than is produced in the areas of which it is grown? Who pays the price of not having clean drinking water because I need another new item of clothing? Who are the people making my clothing? Are they making a livable wage? Do they get to see their families? How many hours a day are they required to work? All of these questions have answers that I have ignored for longer than I care to admit.
The clothing made in the "fast fashion" design are meant to fall apart. Have you ever arrived home after an exciting day of bargain hunting to find one of your items had a flaw or fell apart after only a few uses? I have and I have since learned that was meant to happen. Box stores that pump out clothing on such high volumes are actually designing their garments to break down or fail after short term use. This forces the consumerism cycle to rotate at a much higher pace meaning bigger dollars for the corporations, with the environment holding the bill once the cycle inevitably stops.
After months of feeling helpless and uncertain about this global issue I started thinking about how I could make a difference. I wondered, for a long time, whether my company was part of the problem or part of the solution. I dabbled with drop shipping to try and earn extra money in the beginning stages of operations. I thought this was a genius way of earning extra income while doing very little work. After a few shipments from an external source I saw how lousy the quality of the items were and how many flawed pieces were included. Having played with drop shipping a few times I decided this was not how I wanted my brand to be represented. This was really the moment that got the ball rolling for me.
Our online store is a direct reflection of our "slow fashion" approach. I make every piece by hand. Here is how the process works; Once you choose a piece you love and place your order, I receive it and get to work. I make your order as it is placed. This means I don't have a large inventory that may or may not ever be purchased thus keeping last years styles out of the landfill. Once I make your piece I save the larger remnants of fabric and put them aside. I place them into like bundles and sell them at the shows I attend for $5 to other craters who can use them. I also use organic materials as much as I can in my clothing. It is far more expensive to use, but I like that it isn't made with harmful pesticides or toxic dies. You can find a description of the fabrics I use on each of the garments posted on our website.
I am at the beginning of my sustainability journey. I am still very much tempted by $5 tank tops and $30 sneakers, but I am trying to find little solutions in my life that lessen my impact on the environment. Here are the small changes I have been making that you might already be doing or might consider in the future.
Out Grow Out Play Sales
In Saskatoon we are lucky enough to have this semiannual sale. If you have any children's clothing or toys you need to purchase or get rid of this sale is for you. Clothing is sold on consignment by other families who have outgrown the items they are selling. I have been to every sale since having kids and have walked away with some amazing deals. Some of the clothing I bought still had tags on it. If you live in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Saskatchewan or British Columbia there may be one in your area. If you are from a province where this is not yet available and you are interested in starting your own business, this could be the opportunity you were looking for. Click here for their link.
Giving clothing a second life is one of the best ways to lessen our impact on the environment. Finding consignment stores that are dedicated to trendier pieces is a great way to find a particular look or style. We are so fortunate in Saskatoon to have Once Upon A Child for children's clothing and Plato's Closet for the grown ups. I once found an Arc'Teryx jacket, tags on, for $7 CDN. Ya, START THE CAR!
Shopping within 100km of where you live is a great way to stimulate the local economy and support the little guy. Some of our favorite shops include Posh and Cozy, Elizabeth Lyn Jewelry, Ash and Thorn, Den Designs, Little Loop Shop and Petite Fen Handmade
Need a closet revamp or have a child who is going through a growth spurt? Host a clothing exchange. You can follow an online guide or make up your own rules. Whatever you choose, make it fun and of course... wine!
Caring for your Garments
The best way to help the environment is to ensure your clothing doesn't end up in the landfill in the first place. Reading and following the washing instructions is key when caring for your garments. Wearing a bib is also helpful for people like me who can almost guarantee that everything that is supposed to touch my lips will end up on my white shirts. This last piece of advice is meant as a joke, but not really. Tide pens have been a good friend of mine.
Learning a new skill like sewing will greatly decrease the need for fast fashion because once you get the hang of it you will be up all night thinking of the next piece you want to make. Or maybe you have a shirt that has a stain you just can't get out. My first suggestion is to try leaving it outside on a sunny day and let the sun bleach the stain. If that fails make a fun applique you can sew on top of the stain.
At ForEverly Yours we recognize that you have a lot of options when it comes to children's clothing. Thank you so much for choosing us as one of the venues you frequent and thank you for tuning in to the blog. I hope you found some value in the discussion and would love to hear from you. I would love to know how you are taking steps to care for our planet and what you find helpful. Such great things happen when we all work together. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to learn more about sustainability here is a great link to a video I learned a lot form. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GorqroigqM
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Owner and Founder of ForEverly Yours
Product photography curtesy of:
Timo Rissanen, “From 15% to 0: Investigating the creation of fashion without the creation of fabric waste,” 2005