Geek Chic Sustainable Fashion

It's no secret that my style posts have been sorely lacking over the last few months. The reason? There are many, but one of the biggest reasons why I haven't been posting style blogs lately is the shift in how I buy clothes. I've discovered this thing called "sustainable fashion" and it's really thrown my views about clothing off the beaten path. This is a pretty new concept to me and I wanted to share my thoughts on sustainable fashion, why I'm choosing to buy ethically-sourced clothing, and where to find these goods!


What is sustainable fashion?

In a nut shell, sustainable fashion is an approach that sources, manufactures, and designs clothing that maximizes the benefits to the fashion industry and society, while also minimizing the impacts on the environment. Eco-fashion is another term for this concept. Clothing made from bio-degradable materials is a huge part as well as the treatment (pay, quality of work environment, etc) of the workers creating this clothing. There are so many other ways to define sustainability, but the basic concept is to make/buy clothes that don't leave a footprint on the earth forever and don't harm the people making them. 

The biggest eye opener for me was a documentary called The True Cost. I originally found it on Netflix, but you can buy it online if you don't have Netflix. The documentary was shocking, to say the least, as it exposed the reality behind the "fast fashion" industry. What is fast fashion? Think of places like Forever 21, the Gap and other well-known retailers that push new fashion into their storefronts each week. The film follows the journey of how clothing is made, where it is created, and how poorly the workers making these clothes are treated. It also discusses the fact that the average American wastes 82 pounds of textiles each year and only 10% of these clothing items are donated to thrift shops. Where do the rest go? Well they end up in landfills across the world where these clothes will sit forever as they aren't made from biodegradable materials. That's absolutely insane to me! When I go shopping, I only think about the short-term effect that piece of clothing has on my life, not the effect it has on the environment and other people around the world.



After seeing this documentary, I really wanted to reshape the way I shop. In the past, I've been guilty of buying new clothing pieces from places like Target just for the sake of using it in a style post and then never wearing it again. I always end up donating or reselling these pieces, but it's really just a waste of time plus I'm supporting non-ethical suppliers. Now, I buy most of my basics and every day wear from sustainable companies that not only make quality clothes, but they make clothes that are eco-friendly.

I'll be straight up with you- ethical fashion is typically more expensive than fast fashion. However, you can find inexpensive sustainable clothes if you know the right tricks! I wrote a post previously about how to shop on a budget and some of the same rules apply to ethically sourced clothing. I recently bought two Everlane sweaters on Poshmark for $30 total. That's cheaper than what most sweaters cost at places like Target! In addition to those tips, I wanted to mention that I've found some amazing deals on ethical brands at Buffalo Exchange, a popular chain of thrift stores around the USA. To be honest, I'll probably never pay full price for these items because I can't justify spending $100 for a simple long sleeve sweater, but I can justify a $10 price tag if I find it used at Buffalo Exchange.

What are my favorite sustainable fashion brands?

Here are just a few! Everlane is probably my top favorite for sweaters, blouses, and jeans. One of my favorite things about Everlane is that when you select a product on their site, it will show you exactly how much it costs to make that product and how much they're charging for it, with a full breakdown of where the costs come from. Tradlands has some beautiful henleys that can be worn in various ways. Matter Prints has gorgeous statement pieces with fun prints. Liz Alig has a variety of basics and statement pieces that can be styled year round. While this is a small selection, there are hundreds more sustainable brands out there.

Geek chic (mostly) ethically sourced outfit. Button-down & sweater: Everlane / Jeans: Everlane / Boots: Trask / Handbag: Harveys / Earrings: Target / Necklace: Vintage

What about geek fashion brands?

So far it's been pretty difficult to find geek fashion brands that are making great headway with sustainable and ethical fashion. The few that I've found are Harveys, Po-Zu, Jordandené, Hero Within, and Elhoffer Design. Harveys creates sustainable handbags and accessories from recycled seat belts. I have one of their Star Wars bag and they have a huge collection of Disney handbags. Po-Zu is the company that originally made Rey's boots for The Force Awakens and they now have an entire line of licensed Star Wars footwear. Jordandené offers eco-friendly geek chic apparel and accessories Hero Within offers tons of amazing Marvel and DC Comics fashion for men and women while offering fair wages and safe environments for the people who make their clothes. Elhoffer Design creates a variety of sweaters, cardigans, dresses and more that are inspired by our favorite pop culture icons. As for the rest of my closet, there is a lot of non-ethically sourced geek clothing still hanging up. I'll continue to hang onto these items and wear them until they're threadbare, but my goal is to really slow down how much unsustainable geek clothing that I used to buy and start supporting the businesses I listed above who are committed to making a difference. If you know of any other sustainable geek fashion brands that I missed, please let me know!

I think the "less is more" motto has really had it's grip on me after watching The True Cost as I realize that I don't need a new pair of earrings or brand new pair of cute shoes to feature on every style post. My goal is to continue styling the geek fashion I already own, but pair it with ethically-sourced basics and accessories to freshen up an older geeky piece. Plus, most of these sustainable brands typically create timeless looking pieces, not trendy ones that will look out of date in just a matter of months.

Rather than tossing out all of your unsustainable fashion that's currently hanging in your closet, learn to make the most of it, wear it often, donate it when you're done, and start making choices today to buy ethically sourced clothes. Buy clothes that are made to last for years, not just a matter of months. This isn't a lifestyle you can achieve overnight, but if you focus on making choices to support ethical companies, it can be truly beneficial for everyone. If we support brands that do good, they will continue to be successful and maybe one day, they'll be the big dogs running the fashion industry, not the fast fashion companies!

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