This year’s theme, “Invest in our Planet,” is focused on engaging every citizen and organization to do their part to improve and maintain our environment for generations to come. Dress for Success Vancouver and Turnabout Community are doing just that by supporting women in the community and by contributing to the circular economy through consigned and donated fashion.
In a circular economy for fashion, the re-use of clothing increases the use and lifespan of a clothing item, thus saving items from ending up as waste and extracting more value from all the resources such as water, pesticides, transportation, and labour that go into creating each item of clothing that we wear.
Turnabout Community is the first luxury reseller to add a not-for profit store to its business model which allows people to generously donate clothing they are no longer using. The profits received from selling these items go directly to Dress for Success Vancouver to continue to support and empower women in the lower mainland community by providing them with professional attire, career services, and skills development programs.
As Style Champion and advocate for sustainable fashion, Patricia Seward believes sustainable fashion is not a trend, it is a moral imperative! Patricia has styled close to 100 clients, hosted two webinars and spearheaded a very successful clothing drive for Dress for Success Vancouver. In honour of Earth Day, Patricia and Dress for Success Vancouver Client Ambassador Alecia went to Turnabout Community to style professional and fresh looks for spring that fits with Alecia’s personality.
Patricia and Alecia worked together at Turnabout Community to understand Alecia’s favourite colours, smart casual attire needs, garment type preferences, and size to create three fun looks! Patricia talked Alecia through new ways of styling the pieces and showed her how she could incorporate the pieces into her current wardrobe and push the limits of her style. Alecia was very happy with her looks and told us how confident she felt wearing the outfits. She was excited to show up at work feeling and looking her best. Fashion can be fun and sustainable. View the full photo gallery of styles here.
Here are some of the top tips that Patricia shared with Alecia to help her think think more creatively about what to wear and how to stay sustainable:
1. Focus on higher-quality, long-lasting pieces
Have you ever bought an item and it started falling apart a few washes later and you had to replace it? One tip to follow is to check the seams of the clothing, the type of zippers, the thickness of the material, and the stitch length of the item you are looking to acquire. The seams should be finished and straight and the material should be of a thicker material, which you can check by holding the garment to the light. With a shorter stitch length and the inclusion of a lining and a metal zipper, the better the quality and the longer the garment should last.
2. Create a capsule wardrobe thereby generating endless looks.
Have you ever found yourself with clothes that just don’t work together and that you end up not wearing? The minimalist approach of a capsule wardrobe could be the answer for you. It is a selection of essential and classic comfortable pieces that can be mixed and matched for various occasions. For example, 10 pieces of clothing can make up to 20 different outfits. By acquiring fewer pieces and wearing them more often, you are contributing less to textile waste.
3. Make sure every new item you buy you will be worn 30 times!
It is very important to be conscious of each and every item you buy. If you’re not 100 per cent sure you will get use out of the item and wear it at least 30 times with different looks, put it back on the shelf. Fun patterns and colours can be exciting but they are not always feasible and usually are lower quality than staple patterns and colours. If you have items in your closet gathering dust, the best thing you can do is donate it to someone like clients at Dress for Success Vancouver who will make use of them!
4. Stick to a budget through thrifting or clothing swaps
A great way to be sustainable while sticking to a budget is thrifting or clothing swaps. You can thrift in person at stores like Turnabout Community or charity shops or online at websites like Poshmark. Another great option without spending a dime is finding a local clothing swap in your area where you are able to exchange some of your pieces for other ones. There are many clothing swaps advertised online and in community papers!
5. Choose garments made out of renewable or recycled materials
If you are looking to buy brand-new garments, those made out of renewable or recycled materials are a great option as they are extracting value from our natural resources. Materials made out of bamboo, hemp, and linen require less water and pesticides to be grown. With lots of cotton and wool available, recycled cotton and wool are also great options.
Using these tips to make more sustainable fashion choices will help you make budget conscious investments in the planet.