How to be Sustainably Fashionable this Fall!

Jae Won Song

Jae Won Song

Staff Writer

It’s officially fall. When one thinks of fall, we think of all the festivities that this wonderful season has to offer. Tree leaves start to turn that beautiful crimson brown color, Starbucks reintroduces their pumpkin spice lattes, and Trader Joe’s launches their pumpkin spice products. However, there are many spooky things that occur besides Halloween, but the biggest scare of this season is if you are unsustainably fashionable. Here are some of my best tips and tricks to stay sustainable while also looking like a fashion enthusiast. 

First off, let me introduce you to the topic of sustainability. Thunderbird emphasizes the topic of sustainability, which can be seen in our vision of “A world with sustainable and equitable prosperity.” But one may ask, “What is sustainability?” This is a very fair question, as it is still a fairly novel idea. Sustainability can be defined as the ability to allow ourselves as humans to practice ecological, humane, and economical health and vitality. We have to understand that the resources that we use are finite, and additionally, we need to come to terms with the fact that we as mammals are very wasteful when it comes to resources such as food and water, or inhumane when it comes to the treatment of the environment, other animals, and even ourselves. Sustainability will continue to be a topic of discussion in the future and will continue to shape the economical and ecological worlds. 

When it comes to fashion, it is important to consider sustainability. Whether you think of an item as cute or chic, you have to consider the opportunity costs of owning the piece, not only through the amount of money spent, but also how it was created, which includes the amount of resources used to create it, and how it was procured, whether it be through factories with unfair work conditions or cheap labor. So let’s all be mindful before we seriously consider purchasing an item. 

Here are my top tips for dressing sustainably this fall:

  1. Buy second hand. Whether it be through thrift shops such as Goodwill, pre-owned, or via online platforms such as Ebay, Depop, or Grailed, wearing clothes that are pre-owned elevates the feeling that one has to consider whether the item is sustainably made or procured through ethical means. It also means one less new item that could have been potentially bought, which assists sustainability.
  2. Try to refrain from purchasing items from fast fashion companies such as Zara, Forever 21, H&M, and Shein. These brands tend to source their products through unsustainable means and always switch up their items due to the fast-paced, trendy nature of fast fashion. Because of this, they are very wasteful with their stock, and their products end up being “disposable” fashion. If you are considering buying from these companies, be sure to buy pieces that you will actually wear as much as possible. 
  3. Consider purchasing from brands that pride themselves on sustainability. Brands such as Eco-stylist showcase different sustainable brands, and although they come at a higher price point, having a sustainable brand means that they are not cutting corners or overproducing compared to their fashion counterparts. There are always sustainable substitutes, but when it comes to essentials such as plain colored t-shirts or denim jeans, it may be smarter to purchase from a sustainable source due to not only better quality, but also longer durability of materials used. 

Sustainability continues to increase in popularity by the year. Nearly a decade ago, individuals did not consider sustainability to be as important of a subject as it is today. With fall’s arrival, let’s remember to put our best foot forward with amazing style, while also remaining sustainable!

That’s me rocking a sweater vest, which I bought in a set of 12 for the unbeatable price of $100. Additionally, the button up shirt that I am wearing I received for $10 second hand on Ebay. The pants that I am wearing are Dickies from the Salvation Army, which cost $10. It’s not too difficult to dress nicely while also staying sustainable! Once you start, it’s hard to stop!
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