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Our Closets, Our Selves: How What We Wear Impacts the World

There’s never been a better time to make sure your clothes align with your values.

Photo by Piotr Szulawski via Unsplash

The events of the past few months made me question what is actually, truly necessary? When home cooking is the norm, going out restricted and shopping urges carefully scrutinized, the age-old adage “less is more” is starting to ring true.

Over the past few months, while humanity collectively held its breath, the Earth seized the chance to exhale. Skies above major cities are bluer than ever, and air pollution levels are at a record low. We’ve done something remarkable without meaning to—we kick-started positive change. You might be wondering how to keep up the momentum. Cleaning out your closet may be just the thing.

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You Are What You Eat. Are You Not Also What You Wear?

Like it or not, our wardrobes signal our beliefs and intentions to the world. There’s never been a better time to make sure your clothes align with your values. The individual choices we make now will shape the future of the fashion industry, which, prior to the pandemic, was one of the biggest polluters on the planet. Luckily, sustainably chic options are plentiful. More and more independent designers, some already highlighted by Worth, are making ethical production a priority and are not shy about transparency in their process. Supporting their efforts by buying their pieces sends a powerful message to the industry that has had to face a major reckoning.

It’s important to note that in order to be considered sustainable, a brand must adhere to three out of four pillars as defined by the United Nations Alliance for Sustainable Fashion—human, environmental, social and economic. This may mean sourcing materials from conflict-free zones, working with 100% vegan fabrics, having a low carbon footprint by manufacturing locally or eliminating waste by eschewing plastic hangers and bags in packaging.

These are the things to consider when shopping for your next pair of lounge pants: Where were they made? What’s the fabric? Is it sustainable? Does the brand work with factories that operate in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations for work environments?

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If research feels overwhelming or you would rather be certain you are making an environmentally sound decision, some luxury retailers are now offering sustainable edits that guarantee good choices. Check out Net-a-Porter’s Net Sustain and MatchesFashions Responsible Edit. Our wholesale showroom—DECK Collective—represents carefully vetted, sustainably-minded brands you can find on Net-a-Porter and other select stockists listed on our site.

In his book The Reducetarian Solution, author Brian Katerman demonstrates how reducing meat and dairy consumption by just 10% can have an enormously positive impact on our health, wellbeing and the planet. Imagine how much we can further the cause if we applied the same reducetarian principles to our wardrobes? Leaving fast fashion in the pre-pandemic world and making more conscious choices when shopping for clothes and accessories is an enormously impactful step forward. Having less has never meant more.

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