Kitschy holiday sweaters are cool. But consciously-crafted sweaters that can serve you all season long? We think those are even better. Yah, we are biased, but hear us out. Only 1% of the materials flowing through the consumer economy remain in use six months after sale. (1) That is a lot of waste going into our landfills. And why? Because they either fall apart or fall out of trend. With the fashion industry being the second biggest pollutant in the world, it is time for a change.
Currently, fast fashion brands have fifty-two seasons in a year. That is a "season" a week! No one actually needs to rotate their closet with such frequency, but this business model works. In fact, it works super successfully. The co-founder of Zara, Amancio Ortega, is the fourth richest man in the world. (2) As a culture, we expect to own a lot of clothes, and do to so cheaply. You buy a t-shirt for pennies, wear it a few times, it falls apart and you toss it. No big deal, right? It was only fifteen dollars. At such a low price point, there is no pressure to be intentional when shopping and ask some important questions. Do I need this? Will I really wear this? Is this something that can serve my lifestyle and do so for a while? How is this made? Yes, it is just fifteen bucks, but what is its "true cost?" It is easy to impulsively purchase something inexpensive, regardless of craftsmanship and function. This is especially true during the holiday gift-giving frenzy. Emily DeLong, designer of the sustainable womenswear line Margu, lays it out perfectly, "[Think of] all of the white elephant gags and secret santa gifts that are meaningless and immediately thrown away, not to mention all of the packaging." There is so much waste during this time of year, and it is up to us to change the norm. Our environment demands it. There is nothing wrong with giving gifts, but do so thoughtfully and intentionally this holiday season. As Vivienne Westwood said best, “buy less, choose well, make it last.”
And guess what? Gifts do not need to be physical objects either! Gift experiences to someone you love. Gift a home-cooked meal and quality time. And if you do want to gift a physical object, consider where you choose to put your dollar. Buy things you know someone can get value from for a long time. I repeat, “buy less, choose well, make it last.” Support makers, local businesses and brands that align with your ethics. Think of all of the happy dances you could be responsible if you shopped small this holiday season! Not sure where to look? The Rising Tide Holiday Gift Guide is a great place to start. It is full of amazing makers and creative entrepreneurs, who are doing great things with their work and businesses. And if you want to get your knit on, well you know where to find RESPONSIVE TEXTILES. Just note: you have until Dec 4th to put in your order for clothing without those silly rush fees, so do not wait! x