Let’s Shop Like We Care

This is me in the greenroom at the Fashion Innovation conference during NYC Fashion Week. I was on a panel about sustainable fashion.

In my day job, I focus on fashion and innovation.  When we think about innovation, it often leads to the question of how to make fashion more sustainable.  My concept of SHOPPING YOUR CLOSET not only speaks to my philosophy on spending, but it also meets my desire to support a better environment.  Globally, 80 percent of discarded textiles end up in landfills or are burned.  An alarming 20 percent of textiles are recycled or reused.  Yes, I said 20 percent.  Help the planet!!!  In an effort to promote the benefits of conscious fashion, these are my top five ways to be a sustainable fashion consumer.

  1. Avoid over shopping.  When I shop, I often ask myself these questions – does this look better than what I already have in my closet, and how many times will I wear it?  Very early in my career, I was a true shopaholic.  Since I went out every weekend, I shopped for a new outfit every weekend.  Over the years, I have come to appreciate the benefits of building a timeless wardrobe that is adaptable to the many social and professional demands of my life.
  2. Spread the love.  Since NYC is cold a fair amount of time, I often try to support those unable to dress adequately for the weather.  Thus, I have a rule.  If I buy a coat, I must give a coat.  This helps me to avoid wasteful buying while also ensuring that I am thinking about others.
Vintage shopping in Brooklyn at Harold and Maude Vintage (592 Lafayette Ave, Bed Stuy),
  1. Shop other peoples’ closets.  If you love designer looks, take the time to find a great vintage store that is known for its high-end scores.  Just like when you buy a car, the value of the item depreciates the moment it leaves the store.  I also make sure that my girls, who are also fashionistas, think of me when they purge their closet. 
  2. Buy trans-seasonal pieces.  I found this ingenious tip in a Harper’s Bazaar article.  Look for materials and styles that can be worn across seasons.  This will increase the number of wears, and you will also be improving the versatility of what’s in your closet.  Some trans-seasonal pieces are lightweight dresses that can be worn alone in the warmer months and paired with a sweater or jacket when it is chilly.  Blazers that can double for an overcoat in the spring are great for a jacket that can be worn with a coat in the winter.  This trick also works well if your travel schedule takes you to locations with varying temperatures. 
  3. Repair before you replace.  My sisters call me cheap, but I like to think of myself as thrifty.  My two favorite peeps are my tailor and my shoe guy.  Since I shop a ton of vintage, my tailor does an amazing job of getting me to have a custom look from thrift finds.  The photo at the beginning of the article is a $10 dress that I found in a thrift store ben.  For a mere $40 dollars, I had the dress re-cut, hemmed, and cleaned.  I got so many compliments on the outfit that I was truly amazed.  I do a similar strategy with shoes.  At the start of each season, I re-heel my heels, and I reinforce the soles of my boots.  For less than $20 a pair, I am able to get another season out of my precious shoes and boots. 

Do yourself and the environment a favor, be a conscious fashion consumer. 

My $10 vintage find from the Foyer Vintage located at 80 Bond St. (Downtown Brooklyn)