Sustain in Style
I became more conscious of my carbon footprint after living in British Columbia for a few years.
I was always somewhat conscious about being eco-friendly, but moving to B.C. really elevated it. It's arguably the most beautiful province in Canada — I love it so much. It's not just B.C.'s obvious physical beauty; like the mountains, greenery, and incredible lakes. It's the lifestyle and the climate that really made me fall in love. It's a place you can enjoy the outdoors all year round and it was conducive with my need to feel a connection to the earth, even throughout the cold winter months.
In the years I lived there, I saw that beauty go up in flames. As a news reporter, I was able to get a closer look at why the wildfires kept erupting and how many were actually burning. Tens of thousands in hectares of forestry up in flames for weeks. I'll never forget the summer of 2021. I was living in Kamloops, a place that was surrounded by wildfires and had experienced a few of its own. For almost an entire month, the sky was filled with thick smoke. It was so dense you couldn't even see the mountains. It was pretty tough to live through. It felt apocalyptic.
Every expert I interviewed made it clear that climate change caused by pollution was the driving force. It made me take a closer look at how much pollution one human can produce. I started to really feel shameful about a lot of the daily choices I was making and the amount of garbage I was producing (seriously, when you start to pay attention, you'll surprise yourself, too).
I knew I had to up my sustainability game. It's still a work in progress, but I knew the first thing I could easily make changes in was in my clothing choices. The fashion industry's pollution statistics were staggering, and as a girl who has always loved cute clothes, I knew I was part of the problem. Here are some statistics that motivated me to make more sustainable clothing choices:
80 billion garments are produced each year
Only 20% to 30% of the clothes of most women’s wardrobes are being worn
20% of the world's water pollution comes from textile treatments and dyes
The fashion industry uses 1.5 trillion litres of water each year
750 million people in the world do not have access to clean drinking water
The fashion industry is the third largest polluter in the world
There's so many more layers to this that I could get into, like the emissions from postal services delivering packages, or that a lot of these clothes are manufactured in Asia, in a lot of factories that run on coal and gas. But for me, the problem started with consumption. Like anyone else, I fell into those targeted Instagram ads that knew how to prey on my need to consume. Fashion marketing is set up to make you feel like you're missing out — as if you aren't up to date on the latest styles everyone's posting on Instagram. Below are some ways you can sustain in style:
Beyond the Runway is a clothing rental service with upscale outfits that are for rent through a subscription. As someone who works in television, this is an incredible service. It allows me to freshen up my outfits every month at a low cost. The thing I love most about Beyond the Runway is that I don't have to keep my closet full of clothes that I'll only wear a few times and I can take pride in the fact that I'm not being wasteful. I love the idea of renting my clothes. As a journalist, you move around a lot and the less you have to pack up and take with you, the better. This is even great if you have a bunch of events to go to in a summer but don't want to buy all of these new dresses that will just eventually cfollect dust in your closet. Part of my lack of interest in owning a lot of clothes is the fact that I move around so much for work — so I really recommend this to other news anchors, reporters, and journalists. When you move across a country, you realize you have a lot of stuff to lug around that you don't need or want. Clothing rentals eliminate all of that extra stuff you have to move!
Upscale consignment shops have become some of my favourite places to get outfits. Again, not only do I feel better about the fact that I am somewhat reducing my carbon footprint by buying an item that was previously loved. I often find brand new items with the tags still on it. We've all been there, right ladies? We buy something and keep it in our closet for months and never wear it. I found a gorgeous blue blazer that was originally $150 (based on it's original tag, still attached) and got it for $50.
I've had a seamstress since I was little and I truly recommend every girl I know. Everything gets tailored to my body type which I think is important for women because clothes are not meant to fit one body type. Having a seamstress turned out to be beneficial for sustainable living as well because I now redesign my clothes. If I have a bridesmaids dress, I alter it into a different dress once the wedding is over so that I'm not wearing it once and then never again. For years, I've had this fuzzy turtleneck but I noticed I was never wearing it. I still love the material though so I had my seamstress redesign the neckline and I used the extra material to make a matching scrunchie. Instead of getting rid of those clothes, consider flipping them into a newer, more modern style.
Clothing share with friends
Part of my job is wearing fresh styles as much as I can and I just can't justify buying all of these outfits. When the pandemic hit, a lot of my girlfriends and cousins had some of their gorgeous outfits just sitting in their closets, so we started clothing sharing! My cousin shipped me a box full of brand new clothes she's never worn. They were all beautiful Ted Baker items. I was so grateful and was happy to spend the money on shipping and handling knowing it was a more sustainable option.