Sustainably Chic

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 6.05.08 PM.png

Yesterday, as I was scrolling rapidly through my Twitter feet in an epic moment of utter boredom, my eyes flashed by a seemingly insignificant tweet by the New York Times. For some reason, it caught my eye, so I slid my thumb to a halt and read over the 140-character snippit again. In its idyllic black font, the tweet showcased the words "Climate Change Deemed Growing Security Threat by Military Researchers" followed by the link to the article. I am not one that is quite fond of politics or military matters, to say the least, but this specific tweet intensely grabbed my attention for a specific reason.

Climate change is a prominent issue that is very important to me due to my long-term interest in the environment. Many of Pull This Off's readers have expressed admiration for the professional and eye-catching layout of the site, but in fact, is not the first website I have ever bolstered. In fifth grade, my uncle gifted me with my own domain name and hosting service so I could create a website of my own, as I had expressed interest in website design. This was by far one of the best birthday presents I have ever received, even though the domain name gifted to me was (now offline, thankfully) and my parents wouldn't let me put any other personal information on it. So obviously, eleven-year-old me took a leap of faith and transformed into a save-the-environment splendor. Complete with reminiscently-embarrassing tips on how to "stay green" and in-depth articles on global warming and why you need take a five-minute shower, was just the beginning for my love of passionate journalism and an ongoing love affair with sustainability.

But back to the point. I hazily clicked on the link and read the article in depth, savoring every word like the sugary candies I am not supposed to eat because I will get lots of pimples everywhere. I even read the article a second time, just to make sure I didn't miss anything, then sat in the crack of the cushions of my family room couch (a position my mother finds strong distaste of) and pondered the information I just absorbed. There are so many people in the world that actually do not know what climate change truly is and what impact it has on our daily lives, and now that our world is seemingly preparing to fight against humankind in a battle of destruction. Would people care enough to learn now that national security is threatened? In the article, author Coral Davenport states that the "climate change-induced drought in the Middle East and Africa is leading to conflicts over food and water and escalating longstanding regional and ethnic tensions into violent clashes... [and] rising sea levels are putting people and food supplies in vulnerable coastal regions like eastern India, Bangladesh and the Mekong Delta in Vietnam at risk and could lead to a new wave of refugees... [and that the] increase in catastrophic weather events around the world will create more demand for American troops, even as flooding and extreme weather events at home could damage naval ports and military bases." This left me speechless. When I was younger, my middle-school science teachers would question whether our generation's children would be able to see polar bears, but now it seems that we have to question if our generation's children will be able to see an existing environment and any lasting global peace.

Now, you may be wondering why I am expressing these thoughts on climate change on my fashion blog. The answer is simple: the fashion industry is actually one of the most harmful industries to the environment. In a report by Lakshmi Challa, a faculty member in the Department of Apparel Technology and Management at Bangalore University in India, the impact of textiles and the clothing industry on the environment is described in detail. Challa writes that "the pesticides that farmers use to protect textiles as they grow can harm wildlife, contaminate other products and get into the food we eat. The chemicals that are used to bleach and colour textiles can damage the environment and peoples health. Old clothes that we throw away take up precious space in landfill sites, which are filling up rapidly. Most of the textile machineries cause noise, sound and air pollution. Over-usage of natural resources like plants, water, etc. depletes or disturbs ecological balance. The working conditions in the textile and clothing industry are of sub-standard. Exploitation of animals often goes hand in hand with intensive farming practices that damage the environment as a whole." It is only suitable, knowing the increasing threat of climate change on the world we enjoy today, that Pull This Off features ways on how to sustainably live while still looking chic and enjoying all of the magnificence of the fashion industry. We as a community of individuals in our cohesive world need, now more than ever, to bind together and take action, even the smallest and seemingly insignificant changes, to fight against these climate threats. One way to do so, in terms of fashion, is to shop sustainably. Many chic and stylish companies feature eco-friendly lines and brands that work towards bettering our environment. Supporting them with your purchases acts as a simple step towards sustainable shopping and styling. Who ever said "staying green" meant dressing like a dirty hippie? My favorite eco-friendly fashion products that may not protect future American troops from deployment or save Indian refugees, but instead will act as your part in making our world a better place to live in. And what's not to love about that?

Header image by Grace Glass and Lucas Lefler for Levi's Made & Crafted.