Rethink the Way You Buy Jeans

Let’s talk about America’s favorite piece of clothing: jeans. I’m jean obsessed. Growing up my brothers used to mock me because of my different colored jeans. They even had a song for when I wore my pink pair… “Logan pink pants Porter” still rings in my ears to this day. Nonetheless, my love for the classic pair of jeans has never faded.

It didn’t occur to me how jeans were actually made until I watched the Trust Cost. I figured cotton and a little bit of stretch make the ideal jean. I knew so little about how much jeans and the cotton production ruin the environment surrounding the factories and cotton farms. I never knew that although cotton is only planted on 2.4% of agriculture land, it accounts for nearly 11% of pesticide sales in the world. I never even though of the beloved plastic elasticity in my jeans being the exact reason why it is so hard to recycle jeans. The more I researched the more I started to feel guilty about the cheap pair of $12 jeans I found at Marshalls. Who made those jeans and what conditions were they made in? I started asking myself more and more questions and found myself researching until the wee hours of the night. That’s when it occurred to me that needed to make a vow to stop buying cheap, fast fashion jeans and either thrift of invest in ethical jeans that will last. So when I was looking for a new pair of white jeans, I found Everlane.

Everlane White Pants

Jeans | Boots | Sweater (Sold out… Similar) | Jacket (Similiar) | Belt (Same on eBay)

Everlane is a slow fashion company that focuses on basics with a touch of creativity. The reason I found this basic store so incredibly comforting is that they show the factories that make their clothes on the website and then break down the cost of the item directly  (see their jean factory here). I know, wild. So let me take you through the process of making these jeans and explain to you why these ones, in particular, are the white jeans you need for spring.

“Belly” washing machines that are used in standard denim manufacture plants waste up to 1,500 liters of water per pair of jeans (about 132 Gatorade coolers).

Depending on where you live water may not seem that important because it always seems like it is raining or snowing (ex: these snowy pictures). But 35% of the world’s population doesn’t have proper access to clean water. Instead of wasting all of that water, Everlane’s factory, Saitex, uses a closed water system and super-efficient jet washing machines. The result? Only .4 liters of water is lost due to evaporation. By being conscious of the water consumption, Everlane is making a difference in jean production and the community around the factories.

Often times factories in developing countries dump polluted water back into the waterway, which directly affects the surrounding communities. 

Saitex recycles 98% of all used water and when it comes out the other side, it’s so clean you can actually drink it. You don’t have to worry about Everlane’s factories polluting the surrounding areas. Instead, you can have a clear conscious buying a pair of wicked cute jeans.

IMG_0112.jpgIMG_0126Most denim factories use an insane amount of energy for their factories because they have to constantly dry the jeans. 

Saitex airdries 85% of their jeans and the rest of the jeans are dried with energy coming from solar panels. This has allowed their factory to reduce energy usage by 5.3 million kilowatts of power and reduce CO2 emissions by almost 80%. Kudos for clean energy!

All denim creates a toxic byproduct called sludge.

No matter how clean a denim factory is, jeans will still create a byproduct called sludge. This byproduct is nearly impossible to get rid of until Saitex found out that when you mix sludge with concrete the toxic material can no longer leech into the environment. The factory uses this method to make concrete bricks to build affordable homes. So far, Saitex has built ten homes with these bricks. So not only are they creating jeans but they’re actually creating homes from a byproduct!

Everlane White PantsIMG_0137My top four picks for your white jean wardrobe:white jeans.jpg

Everlane ($68) | Able ($128) | Amour Vert ($178) | DL1961 ($188)

So if you’re ready to buy another pair of white jeans for this spring and summer why not buy a pair that is better for the environment. When you’re buying a pair of jeans that are better quality make sure to check what the jeans are actually made of. Look for the ratio of cotton to spandex and make sure that you’re not just buying a cheap pair of jeggings that will only last a few washes. A good pair of jeans will be made out of either 100% cotton or 99% cotton with 1% spandex. Staples, like jeans, that you wear again and again deserve to be invested in.

What do you think about Everlane? Did you know how jeans were produced? Let me know in the comments down below. (Also, I’m very curious if you think it’s wrong to wear white before Memorial Day… I clearly have no shame).

As always,

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5 Ways to Stop Buying Fast Fashion Today

Vent. Okay, so originally this post was going to be about my weekend and how wonderful it was visiting Terrain with Juliette from Julietteful (which by the way was all kinds of wonderful). But before I sat down to write this blog post I watched The True Cost on Netflix and I couldn’t focus because I was so unbelievably frustrated and overwhelmed. For those who don’t know, The True Cost is a documentary that explains negative impact fast fashion has on the social, economic, political, and environmental structures of developing countries. That was a mouthful. In short: fast fashion is ruining everything around us. But what really resonated with me were the following statistics:

  1. The fashion industry is the world’s second-largestpolluter. (Oil is the first).
  2. The world now consumes a staggering 80 billionpieces of clothing. (And we throw clothes away just as quickly as we consume them).
  3. One-in-six people work in the global fashion industry. (The majority of them are women and are being paid less than $3 a day).
  4. Only 10% of the clothes people donate to charity or thrift stores get sold (When the clothes are not sold, they are shipped to various developing countries where they are bought by the box and kill the local textile industry).

After watching this film, I feel so overwhelmed. I have been so blind to what was happening right underneath my nose. More than half the products I own I don’t even know where they came from. I don’t even know how my clothes came to American or the processes in which they were cut, dyed, or sewn. I love shopping and the “rush” of finding a good deal but I’m quickly realizing how wrong that is. Do I really want a cheaply made garment that will unravel after a few washes? Do I really want a garment that people have made with their own blood, sweat, and tears? I think it’s time I drastically rethink the way I consume, which is why I plan on implementing these steps into my daily life.

Recycled Fashion - Thrift ShoppingIMG_9387Sell your clothes on eBay. 

I know it feels great giving your clothes to charity and thrift stores but the harsh reality is that only 10% of those clothes are actually being sold and the majority of those profits aren’t going back to charity. Some second-hand stores even have a 30-day cycle so that if they aren’t sold in the 30 days they are removed and either thrown away or shipped in a box to a developing country. Once the box arrives at the developing country, buyers pick random boxes without knowing what exactly is inside. Those clothes then flood the textile industry in that country and diminish work opportunities.

By selling clothes on eBay you not only make a profit, but you can potentially donate that money to a charity that you choose. You then can know how much of your proceeds are actually going to the charity. Or you can simply just keep the money and use it to purchase clothes that are sustainable. I’ve been selling clothes on eBay for about a year now and have made a decent amount of money. It is a great way to have a little extra cash and I often use that money to buy sustainable alternatives. Let’s face it, I own a good amount of fast fashion clothes but I’m not going to just throw them all away because that would just be adding to the problem. Instead, I can think of different ways to reuse these items and get the longest life out of them.

Shop on eBay or go thrift shopping. 

Now, I know this idea might deter a few people but hear me out. This adorable dress was actually found thrifting. Since the cut of the dress is way too rebellious for my taste, I just threw on a simple turtleneck and called it a day. When I go thrift shopping, I really need to be in the right mood or else I won’t find anything. You really need to be open-minded to different ways you can style something. If you are, you’ll find endless things.

This is a great way to find vintage clothes and clothes for DIY projects. Plus, you’re helping cut down the impact of clothes that would be going to landfills and adding to our pollution problem.

IMG_9496Research the products and companies you’re buying from. 

This is something I’m still trying to get used to. As an American and a blogger, I love consuming countless things I really don’t need. This is why I’m trying to refocus what I’ve been putting my money towards and seeing if it is really worth it. For example, instead of spending $50-70 bucks on a pair of cheap boots that I knew my awkward, pigeon-toed feet would ruin, I decided to buy a pair of high-quality boots from Thursday Boot Co. I did just as much research on these boots as I would on a camera. I looked up what type of leather they use, where they manufacture the boots, and what other consumers say about the boots. Since we live in such a technology-driven world, there is really no excuse to not researching a company before you buy from them. Plus, this really helps cut down on my impulse shopaholic habits.

Quality over quantity. 

Just like my boots, you really want to make sure the products you’re buying are worth it. Are your boots going to last walking around three airports at top speed? Will that white shirt still look white after the 20th wash? Will that seam stay pull or unravel after the third wear? These are all questions I am starting to ask myself as I shop. I admit, I still shop and Marshalls and Nordstrom Rack. The only difference is that when I buy products from there I really want to make sure they’re really good quality. I no longer buy a $5 cotton shirt that is thinner than a piece of paper because I know that I might only get a few uses out of it. Plus, if the shirt is $5 think of how much the person making that shirt is getting paid. I’m hoping that as I start this journey I can start developing a sense of what is good quality and what isn’t. IMG_9401Lastly, just be aware.

Since fast fashion is so ingrained in our lives, it is so hard to quit cold turkey. I totally get that and I’m right there with you. But now that I’ve opened Pandora’s box for you, you’re going to start hearing a little nagging voice in the back of your head every time you want to buy a cheaply made shirt. Sorry! But, hopefully, your bank account will thank you.

If you want to know more about fast and slow fashion I highly recommend watching The True Cost on Netflix, listening or reading the book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Fast Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline,  listening to the podcast Conscious Chatter by Kestrel Jenkins, and downloading the app Good on You. The following blogs are also great resources for finding more information on companies: Ecocult, Sustainably Chic, The Good Trade, and Ethical Unicorn.

IMG_9382Recycled Fashion - Thrift Shopping

Now I know conscious shopping isn’t for everyone, but I hope this makes you just a little bit more aware of where you’re getting your clothes. What do you think about fast fashion/slow fashion? Have you seen The True Cost? Let me know in the comments down below.

As always,

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