What Kind of Eco-Fashionista are You?

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Art Credit: Ben Giesbrecht

If you think the sustainable-fashion movement sounds nice but are not sure how or where to become a more eco-conscious consumer, you are not alone. It can be overwhelming to think about changing the way you shop and consume everyday materials, especially when you still want to be fashionable!

That's the beauty of eco-fashion; you don't have to sacrifice style for sustainability. There are plenty of resources and brands out there to help you get started and re-think your closet.  Now, the question is, what kind of eco-fashionista are you?

THE CREATIVE: When your wardrobe is overflowing, do you find yourself yelling in frustration, "I have nothing to wear!" Why not rally your girlfriends for a clothing swap party? It's a great way to rid some of your closet overflow. Fun DIY projects could also usher in new style statements. Cut an old jean jacket into a vest, succumb to your inner Picasso and paint on an old t-shirt, or recreate an old dress into a two-piece ensemble. Who knows? That old scarf abandoned in your closet could make for a great top on your next vacation!

THE INVESTOR: Think quality over quantity and price per wear. Believe me (I used to be the ultimate impulse buyer) it takes time to change your shopping habits. First, research quality textiles that will last you longer than your average 2-3 year life cycle (wool, premium cotton, sustainable textiles, and so on). If you find yourself in the fitting room negotiating what to buy, ask yourself, will I wear this more than 10 times? Will I be able to wear this next season? Why am I buying this?  No matter how fast fashion is, a staple piece that makes you feel your best self is absolutely timeless.

THE EXPLORER: If you're the wanderlust type, thrifting is for you! Browse through past eras for fashion that inspires you. Search for an item or brand on Ebay, Etsy, or a designer's website to compare costs. I've found everything from a pair of strappy 1970s Christian Dior heels in mint condition for $40 at Hell's Kitchen Flea Market to a fully beaded 1980's jacket at Goodwill. For the online shoppers, try Reformation and Mod Cloth  Finding a neighborhood tailor is also handy in re-purposing some of your fantastic finds into custom-made pieces just for you.

THE ACTIVIST: If you're concerned about the role fashion plays in the environment or animals, consider checking out Ecouterre's website that updates you on the current landscape of all things eco and ethical. Companies such as STATE,  Kaight and Loomstate sell organic cotton. In addition, Levi's has jeans made with recycled water and made from recycled bottles. Sass Brown's Refashioned: Cutting-edge Clothing From Upcycled Materialsis a resourceful book encompassing designers who are turning unusual objects into high fashion wear. Patagonia recently announced Fair Trade-certified apparel that ensures fair wages and workplace safety. If you're an animal lover, check out Bhava and Beyond Skin for vegan and vegetarian friendly shoes!