The fashion industry is all about the glitz and the glamour: fur coats, sparkly dresses, high heels, etc. While some brands are moving towards more environmentally friendly practices, most fashion houses (and consumers) don’t place conservation as one of their top priorities. In fact, the clothing and textile industry is actually the second largest polluter in the world. As someone who is extremely passionate about this field, it makes me upset that something I am so invested in could be causing harm to so many people and places.
I, just like many other college girls, like to refresh my wardrobe all the time. I am constantly getting sick of what I see in my closet and am always on the prowl for new pieces. Not only is this habit expensive, but it is also wasteful. Think about all the perfectly good items of clothing that you get rid of. By throwing these pieces away, you are basically sending them straight to a landfill, continuing the wasteful cycle that the fashion industry already produces. So, next time you are cleaning out your closet, think about the power you have to not only help out the environment a little bit, but also to provide another person with a great piece to add to their wardrobe!
There are so many easy alternatives to throwing away clothing. Last year, I met with Liza Sherman at Tulane Hillel and told her I was interested in creating some sort of student program related to fashion. Liza and I came up with the idea of starting a clothing swap for Tulane students. We opened up the event to about 15-20 individuals who brought any items of clothing they were ready to get rid of. We went through every item of clothing and participants got a chance to go shopping for FREE! By participating in this event, I realized that there is always a place (other than the trash) for a piece of clothing. An item that you are really sick of could become a staple in another person’s wardrobe. The clothing swap has now become a monthly event at Hillel. I always look forward to these swaps because not only do I come home with amazing, unique pieces, but I also get to see my old clothes take a new life in another person’s closet!
This is something you can easily organize within your friends too. Bring everyone together on a Saturday morning and go through each other’s clothes. Instead of going into a department store and wasting $50 on a sweater that every girl at Tulane probably has, trade out an item in your wardrobe for something of your friends, and rock it in your own way!
If you are looking to make a little bit of money (what college student isn’t!), there are also ways to recycle your clothes while pocketing some cash. Make use of the internet. Sell your clothes in any Facebook groups you are a part of. Create an Instagram account where you post pictures of clothes for sale. Start selling on Poshmark. I promise you, people will always be excited about buying your old clothes. Another great option is to bring your items to a consignment store. These shops will give you a cut of the profit they make on your clothing. Swap Boutique is a local store, perfect to bring your higher end items. Buffalo Exchange is awesome for older items that you want to get rid of. Personally, consignment stores are my favorite places to shop. You can find pieces that no one else has from amazing brands at an amazing price. Also, you know when you are shopping at these kinds of stores that you are helping the environment just a tiny bit.
So, this weekend, instead of heading to the new Zara in Lakeside Mall, go shopping in your friend’s wardrobes or all of NOLA’s eclectic vintage shops. You have the power to make a small difference in our world just through your shopping habits, so shop wisely! And click here to receive information about Tulane Hillel’s future clothing swaps.
COVER PHOTO: Remake