Sustainable Fashion for the Shopaholic

Despite a love for fashion as an art, fashion as an industry causes me great sadness. Between the human and animal rights violations that occur in factories all over the world, to the extreme toll it takes on the environment, to the sacrifice of quality for profit, our industry is extremely flawed. The more that I learn about the fast fashion industry, the more I want to start shopping smarter and break the cycle. Here are some tips to make smarter choices the next time you find yourself wandering the mall!

1—Spend more, buy less. As someone on a college student’s budget, fast fashion is tempting; it allows you to get more for less and to keep up with rapidly changing  trends, and still leaves you with money to fulfill your basic needs, like food and rent! Quality clothing is usually more expensive because it is designed and produced with care; when you buy quality, you’re making an investment. Instead of buying heaps of cheap, poorly  made clothes, save your hard earned paycheck for affordable quality. Spend your money on a few key pieces that you know you will get years of wear out of. Buy classic pieces, and keep your outfit updated with jewelry and accessories.

2—Fashion versus style. A good distinction I like to make is between fashion and style. Fashion is the external, while style is internal. Fashion is the clothes that the industry puts into stores; it is a perfect, unattainable standard we compare ourselves to. Style is about having a sense of self and expressing who you are as a person. Fashion is what is constantly changing. Understanding the difference between fashion and style, and learning about your particular type of style can help you choose what trends to follow, and filter what items are truly worth your money.

3—Get thrifty. Fashion is one of the most polluting industries in our society. Most of our clothing ends up in a landfill, even if we donate it. A great way to shop that doesn’t feed into the dangerous cycle of the fashion industry is to check out thrift stores. Thrift stores the perfect places to find unique and individual pieces, and are great if you’re on the hunt for incredible deals. Renting or swapping clothes are also great ways to get new clothes for next to nothing.

4—Stop and stare. Before you buy, ask yourself a couple of questions: Would I wear this in three or four more years from now? Or, would I have worn it three or four years ago? How many items can this piece be paired with? Do I like the actual product or just the packaging? Would I buy this if I found it somewhere else, or am I just attracted to the way it is packaged and merchandised? Do I really need it?

How do you incorporate sustainability into your everyday life? Let us know in the comments below!

Three Career Tips From a College Freshman

Having just finished my freshman year, I have spent the past few weeks reflecting on what I have learned over the course of this year, and thought that I would share some of the important lessons I have learned with all of you! I hope that this career advice can help you no matter where you are in life, whether you’re a college freshman or a college senior!

1. Don’t be afraid to participate— College is a door to a myriad of new opportunities. Freshman often fall second to the upperclassmen, which is understandable as the upperclassmen are preparing for graduation and their career. However, don’t use this as an excuse to be passive about your future! Don’t be lazy when it comes to your career, because if you can’t show your professors or employers how badly you want to be there, there will always be someone else who can to take your place. Immerse yourself in your career path; go see that guest speaker and take some notes, finish that extra scholarship, take that extra trip to go see a new exhibit. I know adding extra tasks to an already full course load can seem pointless and irritating, but trust me, going the extra mile can only help you on the road to success.

2. It is never too early to start thinking of the future— One of the most important lessons that I have learned is the significance of networking. Some of the best ways to network are at internships, career fairs and at special events or seminars. I know it seems pointless to head to a career fair after only being in school for a few months, but I say why wait! It is never too early to start networking and putting yourself out there. I can’t tell you how many internship fairs I went to this year where I was the only underclassman in the room; it was uncomfortable, but worth it in the long run. At every booth I approached, someone commented on how wonderful it was that I was getting involved so early on. Starting so early helps you build a large network and helps you practice valuable skills such as interviewing and resume building. Plus, it gives you an excuse to buy that cute business casual blouse you’ve been eyeing!

3. Be open to new possibilities— Before I came to school, I was a hundred percent certain that fashion design was the career for me; now I’m not so sure. The fashion industry is extremely large and multifaceted, so there are numerous possibilities and careers to explore. I also learned that I have interests that lie in other fields. College is your time to explore and discover, so don’t box yourself in! Be open to new opportunities, and if you discover that you might want to follow a new path, embrace it!

Do you have any valuable career advice you want to share? Let us know in the comments below!