My laaaazy guide on sustainable fashion

It’s time to start planning our fall wardrobe! It’s still pretty warm in Hong Kong, but let's start planning ahead what we need, instead of waiting around when cold weather hits and we buy whatever that is there on sale in fast fashion stores.

Our closet deserves a distillation of our thoughts, and it should never be a garbage bin of useless things we buy on impulse.
 

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I stumbled upon @_thewayoftea_’s beautiful IG page and I can't help but to message her! She shared with me a miniproject she had done and from there I find inspiration from the 7 levels of sustainable fashion that she cited.

Giving it some thoughts, I realise there are no ‘prescribed’ ways of being sustainable, because each one of us is different. But I do reckon each level = different levels of difficulty in the Hong Kong context.
 

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HIGH QUALITY & TIMELESS PIECES.⌚️

Of course I don’t have $5000 to splurge on a random top that I might / or might not wear in a week for best quality. To me, quality means a balance between fabric, aesthetics and lifestyle. There's no point buying the finest quality knit that you don't wear often😓. Check out these 2 videos that I REALLY like on how to identify quality pieces when shopping online!

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TAILOR-MADE.👐


I've always thought that we probably don't love our wardrobe as much as we want to, because they don't fit us to begin with. Sewonstudio is a social enterprise that I got to know when attending a fashion-related conference. I've seen pictures where a product goes from design on paper to an actual product in a week! The products looks quite legit if you ask me - it's a silk bomber jacket with dragon patterns all over - not an easy project to make from scratch! If you have a design you love, why not think of the fabric and cut you want & see how you can turn it into an actual piece?

 

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ETHICAL & FAIR.🌵

A quick search on Google or even IG accounts like @ethicalfashion and @ethicalfashionaustralia will give quite an elaborate showcase. Transparency is a growing trend and there are quite some brands doing it - E.g. Everlane tells you how their costs break down to materials, hardware, labour, duties, transport, etc. But as consumers it's difficult to know if the labour costs make sense in developing countries, though it's a big step already in terms of consumer transparency!

 Everlane

(BTW if you like silk and worry about the ethical aspect of it, try ahimsa 'peace' silk!)

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GREEN & CLEAN.🌿

Now this is very difficult to achieve. Making something from scratch inevitably cause environmental impacts - the life cycle of clothing is super complicated, it is VERY difficult to ensure every single bit of the production process is green.

Say Everlane - in their latest jeans marketing campaign, they shared the environmental footprint that they have: 98% water💧 is recycled, renewable energy, and waste being upcycled to produce bricks. But is that all? What happened when making the fabric? It says 98% cotton, are those organic cotton? Where were the cotton planted? Is it from India, where thousands of cotton farmers commit suicide? What happens to the bricks when rain falls? Does it leach toxic chemicals? It's important to dig deeper☝🏼 when evaluating whether a product is green/clean because every single step matters. For more on jeans making - see here & here.

 Reformation

Another example: Reformation states the CO2, water, and waste savings per item, but are these the only measures? What about pollutions? As consumers, there are no 100% visibility on whether their threads, dyes, etc. are clean and it’s difficult to verify the information. A brand that I personally love is Zady, which has a dedicated comprehensive section that talks about various fabrics and production.

 

 

You see, buying new products while being sustainable is no easy task. Of course the other ways is to buy second hand products / repair, redesign & upcycle worn out clothes / rent, loan, swap. :)

When you decide to buy new clothes, think where the item will fit on this hierarchy and decide… let me know! ♥️

 
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Slow FashionKammie Lau