What You Can Do
"What you do makes a difference, you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make." - Jane Goodall
Most of us have bought a $45 dress from Zara that we wore once and then left in the closet, untouched, until our next big closet clean out. Fast Fashion is an easy trap to get stuck in, as trendy pieces are available at affordable prices. When we shop it's easy to ignore the conditions of production, the impact synthetics and cottons have on the environment, and how quickly we're probably going to get sick of what we buy. We want to encourage everyone to shop more selectively and to follow the mantra that "Loved Clothes Last". When you can, shop vintage or thrifted items or shop from stores that focus on sustainability such as Zady, Levi's, Reformation, and more.
Consult our detailed care instructions here to give your clothes their longest lives with as little impact on the environment as possible.
Repair, Reuse or Recycle
Think your favorite garment is ruined because it has a few holes?
- We turn to the zine Fix Your Clothes: The Sustainable Magic of Mending, Patching + Darning (which can be purchased here) for all of our mending questions!
- Fall in love with the Japanese art of Sashiko, a method of patching and embroidery that can turn a ratty pair of jeans into art.
- Turn severely ripped and tattered garments into cleaning rags or a quilt.
Just did a big closet clean out and you're not sure what to do with all those clothes?
- Sell them on platforms such as Poshmark or eBay.
- Donate them to your favorite non-profit, ours is Housing Works.
- Take them to one of several retailers that offer discounts if you bring in clothes to recycle.
- Host a Sip & Swap, or follow us on Instagram and attend one of ours!
Have old sheets, underwear, or textiles that can't be reused?
- Never throw out textiles! They end up in landfills and most take centuries to decompose.
- Instead, research your city's textile recycling program. In San Francisco your textiles can be picked up curbside, or if you live in an apartment building in New York City you can arrange for a textile recycling bin to be placed in your building.
- Find a drop off location with a private textile recycling location.
Knowledge is power
Never stop learning! It's in our hands to reverse the effects of climate change. While compiling our research, we were constantly surprised by how truly outrageous the problem of climate change has become. Here are some of the best sources for information:
- Climate Change: What Everyone Needs To Know
- This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate
- Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming
- Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Fast Fashion
- Living on Earth
- Costing the Earth
- The Adaptors
- Think Sustainability
- The Minimalists
- Infinite Earth Radio
This of course is just a small sample of the resources available. If you have a favorite book, movie, or podcast about the subject let us know here! We also ask you to please consult the other pages of our Sustainability section, Fashion Industry and What We're Doing for even more information.
Speak up and take action!
We hope that sustainability is as important to you as it is for us! Here are some steps we can take:
- With the current administration there are a lot of issues to contact your representatives about. Tremendous cuts have been made to the EPA, many previous environmental protection laws have been repealed, and America has pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord. It’s urgent that we reach out to our representatives about making major changes to our environmental policy.
- Inform your friends and family. A large portion of the world is unaware of how serious the threat of climate change is, and the only way to fix this is to tell your loved ones how important this issue is to you and what they can do to help.
- Be mindful of sustainability in all aspects of your life. Small changes can do a lot of good.
- If you decide to join us in our mission for sustainability, post to social media and tag us @thealley_shop and we'll repost you!