Here’s what you can do to help.
Global warming is a crisis, and unfortunately, fashion contributes majorly to the problem. It’s not just fast fashion, with its pieces that fall apart after a few washings; it’s luxury clothing too, with high-end companies destroying clothes to maintain their brand exclusivity.
As the CEO of fashion brand Leota, I feel a personal responsibility to do my part to reduce our impact on the Earth. And I want you to join us.
First, let me explain how Leota lives its core value of social responsibility, as it relates to sustainability. I founded the company to make comfortable, versatile vibrant fashion for women who do it all; I felt called to be an entrepreneur because I wanted to change the game.
Very quickly, I realized sustainability had to be a major part of that game-changing. Even as a card-carrying liberal feminist vegetarian, I was shocked to discover just how much waste there is in the industry, from clothes that fall apart quickly to merchandise destroyed at the end of a season.
Last year Burberry disclosed they had incinerated $38 million worth of product over the last 12 months. Shocked? Don’t be. Loads of other brands, from high-end to affordable, do the same thing:
Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Nike, Urban Outfiitters, and many, many more.
Brands would rather destroy perfectly usable goods than put it on sale or use it to clothe a person. Unfortunately there’s also a business incentive to do so, in that that 99% of duties can be recovered if the item is destroyed (this is what the IRS calls drawback
But at Leota, we firmly believe that doing the right thing is innovative in a chronically wasteful industry.
That’s why we make clothes that last, using our own machine-washable stretch-knit fabrics. It’s also why we donate every bit of unsold merchandise to women in need. Last year Leota donated
2,000 dresses to women re-entering the workforce after incarceration, women escaping domestic violence in shelters, and homeless mothers. We also donated to the only charity exclusively assisting people living with HIV/ AIDS.
Earth Day is a reminder that our choices matter for our environment, and you can help in a few easy but big ways. I’m not asking you to stop buying things. Consumption is a reality. But to reduce our impact on the Earth, we can start with our purchasing decisions:
1. Put your money where your heart is
What matters to you? The environment? Labor concerns? Equal pay? Community reinvestment? Great! Buy items from brands that share your values. Don’t reward bad behavior by shopping with companies that don’t care.
2. Hold your brands accountable
My customers at Leota love telling me what to do—and I welcome it. I read every single piece of customer feedback. I encourage you to reach out to companies to tell them what you love and what they can do better, especially when it comes to sustainability.
3. Buy Things That Last
Fast fashion -- meaning low-priced, high-volume products -- fall apart after a few wears and end up in the trash. People end up buying more cheap stuff, which can cost more over time plus is horrible for the planet. Consumers now buy 80 billion pieces of clothing worldwide each year, a 400% increase from just two decades ago. This significant uptick in garment manufacturing has put an enormous burden on the environment, in terms of both pollution and waste. (For example: We're proud to say Leota garments are worn an average of 300 times -- or more!)
4. Recognize that Earth-friendly goods might cost more
The fact is, well made items cost more. It means the workers involved in their creation were paid a living wage and enjoyed fair, safe working conditions. It means the manufacturing process was likely better for the environment. And it means the quality is better. So you get an item that looks fantastic, lasts long, and is good for the Earth and its people. And what’s more stylish than that?
Style for Women Who Give AF