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  • Kristen Gilbride

2 Years of Sustainable Fashion

It has officially been 2 years since I’ve bought clothes from a non-ethical company. And wow it’s been such a ride. I feel like shopping is like having an addiction. When I originally stopped shopping in a traditional way, I was kind of bummed. I went into a mall close to my home with my sister, and I remember walking around realizing that I couldn’t buy anything. But I mainly remember it being the first time I critically thought about the fashion industry as a whole. And asking the basic questions “who made this?” “how did this batch of clothes affect the environment?”.


After the initial moment of realizing something you loved to do isn’t good, you get creative. I started using what I had. Thinking back now, it’s kind of a crazy concept to not use what you have. My closet was STOCKED with clothes that hadn’t seen the light of day in a very long time. It was then I became a fan of layering. Who knew a blah sweater could look chic when a lace turtle neck was layered under it?? I didn’t.


In some weird way I started to feel freer. I read the New York Times article My Year of No Shopping and felt that the author’s experiences had aligned with mine. When I stopped shopping I found how much time I spent on shopping; wandering around malls throughout my teen years with an unconfounded loyalty to Hollister and Abercrombie, looking at Forever21’s absurd amount of clothing pages on their website before I even knew that a clothing company should only have two seasons per year. When I was in 7th grade I had an outfit calendar where I would plan out my outfits so I didn’t repeat the same one to school. I could have been doing LITERALLY anything else.


After a few months of using what I had and getting more and more into shopping at estate sales, I was gifted a beautiful NIA 3D printed choker! And I was so incredibly excited about it. It was the first new thing I had gotten and I was so excited about it! From then on I started to really cherish the new items I got. I recently talked to a friend who has also tried her best at shopping more sustainably and she mentioned how she too felt like she started to value her new clothes much more. And I feel the same.


These last two years have made me realize what it’s like to have more time, save more money, shop at places that have values, and so much more. I’ll never go back to the days where I’d buy a shirt that had a hole in it after the first wash and justify the purchase with, “It was only $6.”