The fashion industry is among the most wasteful in the world. Sustainability is a growing concern, as many fashion brands are aiming to make their production and manufacturing processes more environmentally friendly and less wasteful.
While high fashion brands and big companies are opting to make the switch, knowing how to implement sustainable practices when shopping locally can be difficult- especially when it comes to fashion.
In Scottsdale, there are tons of second hand clothing boutiques and thrift stores to explore for unique and eco-friendly clothing. If you are trying to create a more sustainable wardrobe, bringing older garments back to life is definitely a place to start.
Aside from shifting through the racks of a thrift store or sharing clothing with friends, learning to shop mindfully is the key to a true sustainable lifestyle. Rhonda LaBatt, owner of sustainable clothing business Redemption Market in Scottsdale, said the concept of fast fashion is what is killing the industry, and investing in quality clothing that is well made is the best thing a consumer can do when buying new fashion.
“Buying low quality trendy items that will be out of fashion within just a few months ends up hurting the environment in the long run, as well as leaving the consumer unsatisfied with her purchases,” LaBatt said.
While buying high quality fashion can seem unnecessary and expensive, it actually saves money in the end because it lasts. LaBatt said it is also important to realize the true cost of buying cheap fashion, which sometimes includes worker exseploitation and unethical working conditions.
“I think sustainable businesses will always thrive where customers are willing to pay a little more to know their purchase is making a difference and was ethically made,” LaBatt said. “Low cost items often come at a high cost in the quality of life of another person.”
Locally speaking, The Arizona Sustainable Apparel Association works to highlight and connect sustainable fashion businesses in Arizona. On its website is a list of local designers and businesses that are eco-friendly, and they often host events and clothing swaps to encourage reducing waste in the fashion industry.
LaBatt said one of her favorite hidden gems listed on the ASAA website is Revarvi, which features local and organic goods such as clothing, accessories, home design and more.
Scottsdale is continuing to build a large community of sustainable vendors, as spaces like the Mercantile and The Phoenix Farmers Market give businesses a platform to sell homemade and eco-friendly items. LaBatt said she can see the community continuing to connect in the future and make way for real change.
“We have definitely seen this grow, even over just the last five years.” Labatt said. “Anywhere you have a community of people who care about where their purchases come from, have a desire to protect the environment, and really value the products they buy, you will see the growth of eco-friendly shopping and living.”