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An article by Emily Jane Merin

One of the most pressing issues that we face globally today is the degradation of our environment. The fast fashion industry is identified by environmental analysts as one of the top contributors of the greenhouse gases that cause the overheating of the planet. In The True Cost, a documentary by Andrew Morgan, the industry is shown to not only mass produce thousands of pounds of garments that lead to landfills and the ocean in a short period of time, but also as a ground of cheap labor and poor working conditions for its employees.

With the alarming deterioration of our planet comes a call for the different sectors of our society to develop in more sustainable ways. For the fashion industry, this means ethical or more sustainable fashion practices. This entails a demand for changes in the status quo of the production and consumption of clothing items, footwear, makeup, accessories, and textiles. Sustainable fashion requires a collective action among different actors: manufacturers, consumers, designers, and even the media. The weight of the responsibility is especially heavier on big brands and companies whose mass production of garments lead to huge amounts of waste, and it’s important to note that we need to persuade these brands to shift to philosophies and practices that benefit both the planet and its people.

Nonetheless, we also have a responsibility as consumers that is just as significant. Gradually, we can apply a more sustainable fashion in our daily practices and in our individual choices. The movement is still in its infancy stage, especially in the Philippines. But fret not because it’s not quite late. We can start now before we reach the breaking point of the Earth that is beyond repair.

Here are some of the things that you can do:

  1. Find brands that practice and support sustainable fashion. A lot of online and on ground shops that curate and sell thrifted, preloved, or locally made fashion items are on the rise now and they also make sure their employees are fairly paid and thrive in good working conditions. Most of them are online which saves you the hassle of having to get dressed and walk to the mall. These shops deserve your support more compared to those that bring you overpriced, low quality items and highly oppress their workers (no shade intended, wink).
  2. Organize your closet! Earlier this year, people have been going crazy on ‘KonMari’-ing their homes. KonMari labels itself as ‘a lifestyle brand inspiring people to choose joy and complete their tidying adventures.’ This method was introduced to more people through a Netflix series called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. When you begin actually looking at everything in your closet you would realize that probably more than half of those things are barely, if not never, used. Emptying out your wardrobe might be a challenge though, as we tend to get too attached to some things and refuse to let them go. Which can be avoided by asking someone else to help you give your wardrobe a huge makeover.
  3. Resell, Buy, Donate! The ultimate goal is to stop brands and big companies from producing more clothes, textiles, and shoes. Meanwhile, we, as consumers should see to it that those clothing items that have already been produced in the years prior are included in the cycle so that they don’t end up in landfills. Donate the items that you don’t use anymore to charities and drives, resell if you need to earn, and buy thrifted or preloved items from stores, friends, or online shops. There are many ways that could be done by a lot of people to save the Earth, and it only takes a few to destroy it.
  4. Teach yourself and others! Since the idea of sustainable fashion is relatively new to the country, It’s important to be equipped with knowledge on it before we could practice it ourselves and promote it to other people. Being educated is vital to this movement because the discourse is still heating up like the entire planet, with all the misconceptions and different perspectives on what truly is sustainable and how it can be achieved. We aim to be united and head towards this goal collectively, so educating others and ourselves should be first and foremost.
  5. Help organizations take this movement to the next level. There are bigger steps of action that we must do that involve the bigger players of the game: the manufacturers and producers. Several organizations in the Philippines start petitions to forward the call to big brands and companies to stop practices that directly or indirectly harm the environment and its inhabitants. Other than changing the look of your wardrobe, you have the capability to change the outlook of these companies by joining those petitions, becoming a volunteer, or donating funds to organizations such as Greenpeace PH, Haribon Foundation, Save Philippine Seas, and other NGOs that fight for the protection of the environment.

You could easily remember these 5 steps by reading the acronym. That’s right! Forth Co. is actually a one-stop online platform that allows you to do all five steps through their website. They just had its soft launch this week so be sure to check it out and spread the word! Make the transition to conscious consumption now, before it’s too late.

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