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It’s a jungle out there – in the world of sustainable, eco, ethical, slow, vegan, upcycled, recycled fashion! Many of us can’t even keep up with what all these new buzzwords and terms mean. The reality is that they are the biggest trends in fashion and it’s time we start to educate ourselves for that sake of the planet, the people and the FASHION!

Sustainable fashion is a movement I am very proud to support. When I won the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival Style Award in 2016 I had my first chance to share my style philosophy of ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something GREEN’. Put simply, when I dress I make sure I am using existing wardrobe items, new ethically made garments, I borrow or hire when I need special occasion dresses and accessories and I ensure my fashion is as eco-friendly as possible.

Many years ago I met a lady who really made an impact on my fashion consumption – Jane Milburn of Textile Beat. She told me that Australia is the second-largest consumer of new textiles in the world, each person buys an average of 27 kg of new textiles and throws away 23 kg each year. From that moment I have changed the way I do fashion and surrounded myself with like-minded locals and labels.

Let loose the lingo … what does it all mean?

SUSTAINABLE FASHION – is the overall movement. Sustainable fashion encourages change within the entire industry and is about ensuring best practice in production, manufacturing, transportation, sales, storage, use, wear, care and recycling of fashion. Sustainable fashion fosters improvement in the care of people and the planet in the fashion industry.

ECO FASHION – refers to garments and products that are not harmful to the environment. Eco friendly labels aim to have minimal impact on our air, water and earth.

ETHICAL FASHION – is all about the people behind the making of fashion. Ethical fashion labels ensure the makers are not exploited, that they have safe working conditions, fair wages and access to improve their community, social and economic situation. One local label that does ethical fashion extraordinarily well is The Travelling Kimono. They are currently crowdfunding to build a facility for their family of makers on Vietnam that will provide employment, childcare, education and friendship. You can support this ethical fashion label here. Sunday Dreaming is another ethical label that gives back to communities and provides great empowerment to people.

SLOW FASHION – is the thought process behind sustainable fashion. The ‘fast food’ industry was disrupted by the Slow Food Movement and the same is slowly happening with the fashion industry. Slow fashion is about considering the who, what, where, how! Who made your clothes? What are the made from? What impact does that have on the environment? How can I personally help the planet and its peeps when I’m buying or wearing fashion? I love Mikimi Resort Shop as they offer a store full of slow fashion and the staff can tell you the stories behind the labels they stock.

VEGAN FASHION – is the production of fashion using non-animal products. One local label offering a stylish vegan handbag option is Eco Luxe Australia. Cork fabric is not only vegan and a PETA approved alternative to leather but its one of the most eco- friendly textiles in the world. Read this.

HANDMADE FASHION – self explanatory! A human-being cuts, sews and embellishes to create this fashion. Read about the handcrafted philosophy behind local labels Town2Town and Sabali here.

UPCYCLED FASHION – something old becomes something new! Creatives get busy recycling items to make old things into beautiful new fashion pieces.

RECYCLED FASHION – this refers to the use of materials that are broken down through recycling to create new eco-friendly textiles to make new clothes. Matilda Cove and Sunhaze Australia are a classic examples as they use recycled fishing nets and consumer products to create a super soft eco-friendly fabric for their swimsuits. Recycled fashion can also refer to the re-use of special occasion garments through fashion rental companies like Helenes Wardrobe For Hire and Runway Closet.

VINTAGE FASHION – the exploration of personal style shopping pre-loved fashion from another era. Not to be confused with RETRO FASHION which is ‘new fashion’ inspired by vintage fashion (this can also be sustainable fashion if the garments are made using eco-friendly materials and ethical practices) Are you still with me?

I love this sustainable fashion chart by Green Strategy where you can read lots more about this topic – it’s an awesome resource.

SO, now we have the buzzwords and the shopping guide sorted – lets get seriously sustainable! Here’s a list of things you can do this week to be a better eco fashionista;

  1. Wear something old, something new, something borrowed and something green everyday!

  2. To stay focused post a photo on your social media and use the hashtag #sustainablefashion

  3. Tag me @worldofwacker so I can share your sustainable style in my next blog.

  4. Buy a ticket to the Sunshine Coasts most exciting sustainable fashion show set to debut on Sat March 21, 2020 – Runway Fashion Australia.

  5. Buy something from a local sustainable fashion label – it makes their day (and smart shopping makes you happy!)

Carlie x

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