My sustainability journey started almost 7 years ago this year. It was all because of you that I really started to listen, research, and grow. For me, my entry point was human trafficking and knowing that fashion is a huge contributor to slavery to this day. I did not feel comfortable knowing that I was attending these big church events like Passion Conference who spends a lot of time raising money and conversation around modern day slavery but half the audience is wearing clothes where we are not even sure who and what environments they are made in.
I felt like a hypocrite. I immediately dived into thrifting since I was a broke college student and could not afford most sustainable clothes - unless I saved up for months for one item. I started interning with several sustainable fashion brands in LA and New York and was learning so much through these experiences.
Looking back on the past seven years, I don’t think I fully realized how making choices about the clothes I was purchasing, the food I was consuming, and switching to more sustainable products was actually impacting me deeply as a person. We live in a world that is constantly feeding us information and it is truly so hard to be mindful or thoughtful when making choices for yourself. It is a lot harder to ask if you want or actually need something. This was the first time I felt encouraged and empowered to stop and actually think about the items I was purchasing. This actually made me a much more creative person - it was the first time I had been having fun with what I was wearing! I was thrifting pieces that other people most likely would not have, playing with more fun fabrics and colors, and just really expressing myself and how I feel as a person.
Since the pandemic, I sadly let go of a lot of sustainable decisions I had been making for years. I started shopping from amazon again, buying fast fashion, and really not being mindful of the waste I was creating in terms of products in my home. I think COVID definitely made it harder since we were unable and scared to really go out as much, but I also think social media was the real culprit. I was spending a lot more time on TikTok and after a few months of deleting the app this past year, I realized how the algorithms were changing my decisions. I was suddenly wanting things all the time - especially trendy items. I mean no offense to any creators, but I was being fed the same decor, products, and clothing which only made me feel left out and like I needed it too. I started wanting things quicker and it never felt like enough after I did receive it. Until this summer, I have felt so discouraged by my wardrobe and how I felt like I was expressing myself through clothes and I truly believe it is due to the fact that I was following fast fashion trends and not really investing in pieces that I really love and want.
I am disappointed in myself for letting go of the things I spent so long investing in and working on. I am forgiving myself though because I know no one is perfect, and honestly, living a sustainable lifestyle is hard. It is not cheap, it takes effort, and sometimes it just doesn’t work. The effort is being made though and I am allowing myself to know this journey is an ebb and flow, and I will continue to get better with my sustainable journey every day. I only want to share this because I want others to know they don’t have to feel bad. Even changing one small thing in your life to be sustainable is going to change the world and inspire someone else to do the same. I know it may seem overwhelming or expensive to adopt this lifestyle, but there are ways to do it if you are willing to put in the effort. I promise you will not regret it though - you will feel like a happier and more fulfilled person because of the thought process of figuring out want vs. need. That is my biggest lesson during this journey. - Casey