by Neve Kelley

Follow these tips to make your wardrobe more environmentally friendly.

As an extension of my August 2021 Giving Voice article, I’m here to share the ways I try to balance a love of fashion with ecological responsibility. It can seem overwhelming at first, but I assure you, there are easy and fun ways to show off your style in an environmentally friendly way. In my last article, I highlighted a few companies that have stepped up in their commitment to our planet. Now, I’m here with a game plan to help you become a part of the fashion revolution that is happening in our generation.

One of the best ways to stay eco-friendly (while looking just as fashionable) is to shop secondhand. I have shopped at thrift stores for many years now, and in addition to being better for the planet, it is genuinely fun! While sifting through the pieces that others have donated, you may find expensive brands, a discarded shirt that you almost bought from a fast fashion brand, or maybe even a piece from a sustainable brand—the options are limitless. The best part is each piece can be as cheap as $1! There are multiple shops in the Peoria area worth checking out—Goodwill, The Church Mouse, or garage sales. There are also consignment shops, like Plato’s Closet, which are somewhat pricier than thrift shops, but still have great secondhand pieces. You can even shop secondhand at home, using apps like Poshmark, Depop, or threadUP to find unique pieces. In addition to being eco-friendly, thrift stores have the best selection—a little bit of everything—and almost anything you find will be unique to you. Click here to read more about the reasons to shop secondhand.

Creating your own clothing is another way to make your closet more sustainable. Learning how to sew can certainly be a daunting task, but there are multiple websites and YouTube tutorials that make it as easy as possible for beginners. Something I would recommend is to start small. Perhaps look at some old clothes you no longer wear and see if you could transform something old into something new! If you have an old piece with great fabric, but it’s no longer your style, see if you could use that fabric to make something new. “Thrift flipping,” where you refashion something you find at the thrift store, has also become popular. It is a way to apply sewing skills, while not actually having to create something from scratch. Either approach, making something completely new or reworking an old piece, can be an exciting challenge! Here are some helpful sewing resources:

Thrift Flip by JENerationDIY

Sewing for Beginners: Everything You Need to Learn to Sew

Thrift Flip – DIYing Men’s Thrifted Clothing (No Sew) by Imdrewscott

How To Start Sewing Your Clothes: Beginner’s Guide by Jusuf

In short, having a sustainable closet is not a goal beyond reach. By thrift shopping or sewing your own clothing, you can help save the planet and look great while doing it. If you are inspired to become more sustainable, these are simple lifestyle changes to make—now it’s time to find what method works best for you!

About Neve Kelley

Neve Kelley a senior in the International Baccalaureate Program at Richwoods High School. In addition to being in an academically rigorous program, she is also heavily involved in community and school theatre productions. She takes private voice lessons and has been involved with choir and madrigals at Richwoods. Kelley is the co-editor in chief of her school paper, sits on the executive board of student council, and is in various school clubs. She also spends much of her time working as a barista at Leaves ‘n Beans in Peoria Heights. 

Art by Aryanne Westfall

Ary Westfall is a junior Interactive Media major and Theatre Arts minor attending Bradley University. She is the social media manager for DAT, creates webcomics in her free time, and enjoys all forms of sequential art. Ary hopes to break into the comic world or find work in pre-production art for television. 

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