When talking sustainable fashion (or just sustainability in general), so much comes back to that little word - WORN.
As in; if we have less things, we wear them out.
As in; if we love the things we have, we wear them out.
As in; if we buy pre-worn things, we give them new life and save them from the landfill.
As in; if we make the things we wear, we will likely have less, and things we love, and creative fulfillment, and we will wear the things we make. And so on, and so on.
WORN seems to be, for me, the center of the whole issue, and the reason why 80% of mine and my children's wardrobe is second hand and the remaining 20% handmade. I buy almost nothing new, and that is due to my disgust with how much waste there is when it comes to clothing especially. Folks make themselves feel better about their consumption and waste by donating it, but the fact is that so much of what gets donated ends up in a landfill or being recycled, including countless garments that have never even been worn.
The whole thing, quite frankly, disgusts me.
The sheer amount of waste, pollution, and complete carelessness of the well being of other humans is a tremendous price to pay for a cheaply made t-shirt that won't last a season. If you're like me, it feels overwhelming. I take one look at these kinds of statistics, feel helpless and shut down. But I speak with my actions, and with my money. And if there is one thing I could drill home to you, it is that MONEY TALKS. Without a market for cheaply made t-shirts, there wouldn't be millions of cheaply made t-shirts in the landfill.
The answer, for me, comes back to WORN. Have less things, and WEAR them to tatters. (Mending is super hip now anyways.) Have things you LOVE and WEAR them for years. Make special things that will be WORN for generations to come. If you're not a maker, or your making can't keep pace with your family's needs, source the things you WEAR secondhand. And when they're worn to what seems like pieces, find a way to make new life for them. After all, it's how some of the most beautiful objects have been born.