I’ve recently received multiple requests to discuss sustainable fashion for plus-size and curvy women in my blog. If you have been following me for quite some time, then you know very well that I use my platform to educate and spread positivity among my followers. So in response to these requests, let us dive into the world of sustainable fashion, as I share my insight on why we should be an advocate for it.
How do we define sustainable fashion?
In essence, sustainable fashion follows a high-quality, carefully planned process in order to create equally fine products. It means to take the socio-economic and environmental aspects into account to make sure all stages of production are safe and of utmost standard. Sustainable fashion promotes clothes that are manufactured in ways that do not harm the environment, and designs that are meant to stand the test of time.
Over the decades, we have come to understand that sustainable fashion also highlights the ethical issues within the fashion industry. Many fast fashion companies have deliberately rejected laws that require them to honor their workers’ social welfare. In many low-income countries, even children are lured into working for textile companies under a false promise that they will be fairly compensated. This is quite prevalent among poverty-stricken regions. In reality, however, workers do not get the pay and dignity they deserve. With that said, being sustainable and ethical are associated with each other. This principle makes sure that both the manual labor and materials are utilized with respect. That no worker was deprived of his rights; and no animals or natural resources were harmed during the process.
On opting for the most sustainable materials
Embracing sustainability in fashion means to consider materials that are long-lasting and eco-friendly. There are several innovative fabrics that currently establish their names in the market. Tencel and Pinatex for instance are regrown, environmentally friendly fabrics that are considered to be futuristic and innovative. They are cruelty-free and significantly reduce waste that could harm the environment.
Cashmere, too, is a highly sustainable type of fabric that I personally love during winter! It is natural, thus, leaving no issues when it comes to decomposition. It is soft, lightweight and stretchable but doesn’t get loose. What’s most amazing about natural fabrics is that, with proper care, they are designed to last long. Opting for sustainable materials means we’ll be able to keep them handy for years – something that fast fashion-produced items couldn’t provide.
Why plus-size women should advocate sustainable fashion
Needless to say, fast fashion breaks the very concept of sustainable fashion. While the latter is designed to create pieces that we can keep and use for a really long time, fast fashion brands do not take quality into consideration so they can sell quickly, and usually at very cheap prices.
We can’t expect clothes made from cheap materials to sustain our body’s needs. What I personally observed is that the seams are designed to be defective and to break easily. The fabrics used also shrink in every wash. Society somehow acquired this thinking that we should keep up with every trend, so when your clothes get damaged, your option is to keep buying new ones. This vicious cycle allows fast fashion brands to profit and prosper.
But really, don’t you get tired of buying clothes that do not cater to your exact size, and lose their quality after several uses? A lot of clothing brands create designs that are not suitable for everyone in terms of size, shapes and colors, in efforts to drive continuous consumption.
The real harm of fast fashion
It is no secret that fast fashion leaves horrible environmental impacts that, if continuously tolerated, may permanently damage nature. Improper waste disposal, for one, depletes our planet’s resources. Not to mention textile companies use an unimaginable amount of energy and water for every piece of cloth.
Perhaps one of the most tragic events that is related to textile production is the case of the Citarum River in Indonesia. It was categorized among the most polluted rivers in the world, along with Ganges and Yamura Rivers. Human activities in the textile factories that surround the said river were major contributors in its seemingly irreparable pollution. Fast fashion consumes and drains the planet’s natural resources, and only the concept of sustainability can prevent that from happening. We can be fashionable while embracing an eco-friendly lifestyle at the same time. We can be stylish while trying to minimize the environmental impacts of clothing productions.
Yes, sustainable fashion is really awesome.
Shop here my favourite sustainable plus-size picks by my partnershops:
How can we live up to sustainability?
Buy high-quality pieces:
To put simply, buying 2 dresses that fit you perfectly and are designed to last for years despite frequent use is definitely more practical than buying 5 dresses that get worn out after several uses. Quality saves you money. It also spares you from the stress of having to update your wardrobe every now and then because some items just won’t work anymore. Choose pieces that would allow you to look and feel good without compromising the quality.
Create a Capsule Wardrobe:
This concept allows us to keep only the essential pieces; the timeless items that we really love and intend on wearing instead of leaving them untouched for years. A capsule wardrobe also includes shoes and jewelry or accessories. I personally recommend this to my clients whose lifestyle is always on-the-go. This ensures two important things: They won’t have to keep buying new pieces, and they won’t have to spend a bunch of time dressing up in the morning.
Be updated about sustainable fashion brands that cater to plus-sized women:
Support brands that are working earnestly to make a difference. I love those brands that do not only combat environmental issues but also make sure that every woman feels included. Yep, regardless of the size or shape. There aren’t a myriad of brands that cater to bigger women, let alone those that push for sustainability. I am glad to have come across wonderful brands such as Hours New York and Girlfriend Collective. They are some of my top picks because they have something awesome in common. They pride themselves on ethically produced and locally manufactured clothings! They also offer a wide variety of choices – from jumpsuits, to dresses, intimates, face masks and activewear!
Of course, it is not easy but our initiative to create positive changes will go a long way. Sustainable fashion teaches us to be very intentional of our choices. As a Stylist and Image Consultant, I want my clients to understand that you can look and feel glamorous for all the right reasons.
If you’re curious and would like to know more about incorporating sustainability in your daily look and overall lifestyle, I can be of help. Shoot me a message at Instagram page @aboutmichaela for more info and regular fashion updates — Let’s talk!