What makes fashion responsible?

What makes fashion responsible?

Today I am wore:
...a bold red skirt I bought at a garage sale
...an ivory knit GAP top I scored at a clothing exchange in grad school
...a gold chevron necklace fromMata Traders 
...a grey cropped sweater I bought at Target six years ago
...neutral heels I found at an estate sale (and incidentally wore at my wedding...)
...a fair trade Ugandan clutch fromPurse & Clutch 

Sustainable Fashion

So what of my outfit could be classified as "responsible fashion" and why does it matter? 
 
To me, responsible fashion takes into consideration the "pre-life" of the garment as well as the "post-life." And yes, I did just make up those terms. Allow me to explain - "pre-life" goes as far back as where and how the plants needed to make the garments were grown all the way up to how the fabric was woven, how the garments were put together, and who they went through to get to you. The "post-life" entails how long the garment lasted (I guess you could consider both the fashion trend as well as the actual garment) and how it is disposed of. 
 
This begs the question of how we could possible know all of this information for our clothing purchases (much less all of our purchases.) 
 
One safe way to make sure you're not contributing to the slavery of the world (that I'm soberly reading about in the book Disposable People by Kevin Bates) is by shopping at second hand stores. Like they've always said: reduce, reuse, recycle. 
 
So let's start now, shall we? 
*Let's re-work clothes to make them fit our ever changing fashion aesthetic. Change out buttons here, addelbow padsthere...
*Let's shop at thrift stores, garage sales, and Vintage Shops. One advantage tovintage shopsis that they're usually already curated. 
*Let's be smart about the clothes we do purchase. Perhaps we can followtrends with accessoriesand work to build a sustainable wardrobe that can transition from year to year seamlessly. I don't buy anything that's not machine wash because I know myself well enough to know that I will accidentally machine wash it! 
*And let's take the extra steps to donate or sell our old clothing to reduce the amount of clothes that go in landfills every year. 
 
What do you think? Is this do-able? What will you do to be more responsible with your fashion? 
January 31, 2013 by Jen Lewis
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