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This NYFW marked my fifth time attending shows. I was always, and still am, extremely excited when this time rolls around. I've loved fashion since a young age, and attending fashion week had always been a dream of mine growing up. 

However, this fashion week was a little different for me. I was still as excited as I usually have been, but I've made drastic changes in the way I shop and think about fashion since my last fashion week, especially over the last few months. I have become passionate about sustainability, and I only buy things secondhand, from sustainable fashion companies, or I have to LOVE the item (if from a traditional retailer). 

Because I am now more sustainably minded, I realize how wasteful fashion week can be--the programs, the favors, the water bottles supplied by show locations, the clothes bought just for dressing for fashion week, I could go on. All of this made me incredibly frustrated at how little people think about sustainability during at time like fashion week because it is an "event" that is all about fashion. Those two things shouldn't be exclusive. And yes there are some designers that do think about sustainability and the role it plays in their show (like Collina Strada this season who set up a farmer's market and invited guests to take the produce and all clothing was made from repurposed materials with the exception of jersey fabric), but most don't.

And while I couldn't do anything about making the shows more sustainable, I could do something about attending the shows in a more sustainable way. Here are a few ways I reduced my environmental impact at fashion week:

I didn't use any hairspray

I know this doesn't seem like much, but you would be amazed at how much hair spray people use at fashion week (hint: it's a lot). And yea, aerosols don't contain chemicals that damage the ozone anymore (at least in the U.S.), they still are not good for the environment. Aerosols essentially emit small particles in the air, which affects our air quality and can even affect rainfall patterns. Not to mention the cans they come in are actually qualified as hazardous waste. Yea you bet nobody is disposing of those properly.

Tip: Use spray bottle hairspray or creams if you do need to use hairspray.

I brought my own water to shows

Again, this ins't anything big. Some show venues will provide water for attendees so they stay hydrated while waiting in line. Definitely smart. Also, definitely bad for the environment. I did notice an uptake in glass bottles this year instead of plastic, but it's still just a lot of bottles. I brought my own reusable water bottle for hydration instead to reduce that single-use bottle consumption.

Tip: Bring your own water bottle. And if your tiny ass purse (bc that's in trend right now) won't fit one, take a water bottle, preferably glass, but reuse it the rest of the week. You can then take off the label and turn it into a vase or something cool afterwards.

I didn't buy anything new to wear to fashion week. 

Ok, I did actually buy some pastel colored bobby pins, but I swear that's it. Part of what makes fashion week so special is seeing how creative people can be with fashion. For me it's always fun to see what I can create with what's already in my closet. Because I am less into buying the trends and more into developing a personal wardrobe, I found that I didn't even really want to look for stuff for fashion week, and when I did even try to look I went to thrift stores to find unique pieces. But every single item (minus the bobby pins), I had worn several times before I even wore in at fashion week. Some items I've even had in my closet for 2 years.

Tip: Try to create as many outfits as you can from what is already in your closet before you even think about buying anything. If you seen an outfit that needs something you're missing then buy it. And always try to buy vintage and thrift first if you can.

I dressed in as much sustainable and thrifted fashion as I could.

About 50% of my closet is thrifted/vintage and I have a few pieces from sustainable brands, so it wasn't too hard to come up with outfits that were mostly thrifted/sustainable. And honestly just while coming up with outfit ideas, I tended to drift towards my thrifted/sustainable pieces first anyway. My thrifted pieces in my closet are some of the most unique things I own, so those were items I wanted to highlight. By trying to dress in as much vintage thrifted fashion I wanted to promote a more sustainable wardrobe and prove that you don't have to spend a lot of money to be considered fashionable. Here are the items I wore through fashion week that were sustainable/thrifted/vintage:

Day one: Dress was Reformation, boots and bag were thrifted

Day two: Tee and wide-leg jeans were thrifted

Day three: Blouse was thrifted, hat was from artisan in flea market

Day four: Blazer was vintage, belt was thrifted

Day five: Blazer was vintage, boots were thrifted

Day six: Shoes were from clothing swap, bag was from artisan who uses upcycled materials

Day seven: Jeans and jacket were from clothing swap, belt was vintage

** As mentioned above, every other piece of clothing worn in addition to the above was already in my closet, and worn several times before being worn at fashion week.

Tip: Really you should get as much use out of ALL of your clothes as possible, so I'm not going to tell you not to wear those pieces that are from fast fashion & traditional retailers. You already have them in your closet, so you should wear them!

So those are my tips if you want to try and be more sustainable at fashion week. If you have any you do or thought of that I missed, let me know in the comments below!




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