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  • Writer's pictureSelima Smith-Dell

On Vintage Escada, Why I Thrift, and Adopting a Zero Waste Lifestyle

This post will be split up into three different parts. The first part will be about the pieces you see me and Kendall wearing as well as my love for Escada. The second part will be about the fashion industries impact on the environment, how I got into thrifting and why I thrift now. And the final section will be about plastic's impact on our environment with ways you can join me in becoming a more zero waste member of society.

I shot this look with Kendall and Olivia at two different locations. The first was at the beach and the other was at a cemetery. There is something eerily beautiful and poetic about shooting bright, romantic pieces at a cemetery. I am wearing a vintage Escada blazer that I decided to rock as a dress. I love the bright fuschia pink color of the blazer and gold accent buttons to compliment it. I am so enthralled by how my dress contrasts with the pearly white and silver beaded dress that Kendall is wearing. We picked up both of the dresses at The Op Shop in Rochester, NY on L Tracks rack. I am a huge fan of Escada. I love the daring colors, and elegant fit of all their pieces. And I am a huge fan of their companies devotion to women and their expression of bold femininity.

One might wonder how I grew this love or some may say obsession for thrifting. Well, back in college I began to foster my love for fashion. I had an eye for the finer things in life and a deep desire for high end, luxury brand and designer clothing but a lack of the finances to afford the pieces I wanted at their retail prices. So instead of being let down by my current temporary financial situation I started thinking creatively about how I could acquire the pieces I desired. And that is when I happened upon thrifting. I haven't looked back since. What started as a simple hobby has formed into a full blown passion for me.

There has been a recent shift in why I thrift. Now it is a response to preserving what we have left of the planet. Some of you might have heard the statistic flying around that the fashion industry is the second most polluting industries in the world. While that is untrue the fashion industry does fall between the ninth or tenth most polluting industries. When I discovered this fact I realized that as a consumer who consumes quite a bit of clothing and shoes I need to make sure to keep my carbon footprint to a minimum so I have committed to acquiring at least 75% of my fashion items from thrifting. And I have to say thrifting is the new way to shop!

So how is the fashion industry one of the leading polluters in the world? Well, the fashion industry is a major water consumer. In order to dye clothing you need fresh water. It takes roughly 200 tons of water to dye one ton of fabric. And cotton which is the fabric majority of clothing is made out of requires water to grow. It takes 20,000 liters of water to produce 1kg of cotton. In fact the Aral Sea, once the 4th largest sea, is close to being drained of water because of cotton production. In addition to being a huge water consumer, toxic waste waters from textile factories are also being dumped into the rivers of the countries producing clothing. Waste water contains substances like lead, mercury, and arsenic that are toxic and harmful not only for humans but also to the aquatic life that inhabit those bodies of water. So not only is the fashion industry draining the planet's water sources but it's making the water sources that remain toxic. Enough facts about how the fashion industry is polluting our precious planet and more on a couple ways you can do your part. When I get down about the state of the earth around me I think of ways I can take action to keep myself from feeling hopeless because that's not helpful. Three ways you can do your part are:

1. Purchase clothing that is from countries with stricter environmental regulations for factories. That requires doing your research on brands and the regulations of where they were outsourced from.

2. Choose to purchase brands that are organic and natural fibers as they don't require chemicals to be produced. Some examples of organic and natural fibers are organic cotton, bamboo, linen, hemp, silk, and wool.

3. Reduce your purchases of new clothing, thrift more, and shop second hand more.

I have to say in moving to LA I have become more environmentally friendly. Have you been looking for simple ways to reduce your plastic use? I know I have. For those of you who are beginners in moving towards a zero waste lifestyle here are three simple things I have done that you could do today to reduce waste.

1. Buy reusable shopping bags and bring them with you when you go to the store (if you’re an LA resident you’ll save money and won’t be charged for using the stores bags).

2. Purchase a Reusable Water bottle to reduce your use of plastic water bottles.

3. Buy a wooden toothbrush and stop using plastic toothbrushes.

Let's talk more about plastic and it's impact on our planet. Plastic can take from 10-1000 years to decompose and even then it is degraded into smaller pieces but not really gone. I know I have had my fair share of plastic water bottles in this life time so I was surprised and saddened to hear that it takes 450 years for a plastic water bottle to decompose. That's more than 4 times the average humans life time. 79% of plastic accumulates in landfills or ends up in our oceans. Meaning the aquatic life as well as birds and other animals near large bodies of water are ingesting this plastic and being harmed in the process sometimes to the point of death. If we continue in the direction we are heading by 2050 there will be nearly 12 billion tons of plastic in landfills and our main water sources. That's in most of our lifetimes. I think there is something so powerful about living in a place where everyone around you is more conscious about their own impact on the planet. It’s really very beautiful.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about the pieces, thrifting, and want to join me on the journey of being more zero waste.

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