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Ways You Can Help the Earth Heal in Style

By John Legaspi


In 2015, documentary film The True Cost revealed the eye-opening stories behind the business of fashion. It exposed people, fashion savvy or not, to the perils of fast fashion, its effect on the world, and how capitalism may put many lives at risk just to get the latest trend in every shopping window.

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Opening worldwide spring 2015. More info coming soon!

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The documentary opened many eyes to see beyond style. It urged people to look further into the substance of clothing—its story, origin, and its many effects. In the past years, the fashion industry implemented tighter restrictions and explored other ways to remedy its damage to the environment. From repurposing old stocks and letting go of fur, to building safe workplaces and smart usage of materials, the industry of excess donned a new business model that is sustainability.

For its March 2020 cover, National Geographic featured an image that directly hits the clothing industry. The cover, shot by Luca Locatelli, showcased mountains of used wool and cast-off clothes in an Italian factory. But instead of throwing them into dumpsites, the materials were made into new clothes by designer Flavia La Rocca, who also appears on the cover.

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Photo by @lucalocatelliphoto | This picture made the cover of the March 2020 issue of the magazine, headlined "The End of Trash." We picked Prato, Italy, and its textile recycling industry as the location for this cover shoot, and asked sustainable fashion designer Flavia La Rocca to create a dress from recycled wool, worn here by model Rose Greenfield. The pile of clothes served as a backdrop and a symbol for all the waste surrounding the fast-fashion industry. Of the millions of tons of clothing we discard each year, only 1% is ultimately recycled. Here in Prato, however, a network of companies produce 15% of the world’s recycled textiles, making it an example of how to make more with less. Please follow me @lucalocatelliphoto to learn about the new solutions we are putting into practice to reduce waste. #cover #waste #textile #environment #lucalocatelliphoto Check out Nat Geo's link in bio for more on this story.

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While the clothing industry all over the world is putting its best foot forward to make a difference, fashion still ranks as the second major contributor to the earth’s pollution. In recent reports, the apparel and footwear industries have eight percent more impact on global climate than airline flights and maritime shipping trips combined.

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Hard at work in the TELAstory workshop! Photo by @ianchacon_

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We are seeing more and more businesses by women entrepreneurs and Based on theMastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE), the Philippines ranks eighth among 54 countries 🎉 is among those business lead by an amazing #girlboss @biancagregorio_ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Re Clothing is sustainable clothing brand that aims to give secondhand garments and textiles a new life by hand embroidering them. These prices are one of a kind and each design is produced in very limited quantities.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Check out their collection on our website, link in bio👈🏽 Shop consciously now! #sustainablefashionph #slowfashionmovement #ecofashion #ethicalfashion #makefashioncircular #prelovedph #secondhandclothing #shoplocal #philippinefashion #thriftphilippines #girlbossstyle

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Let’s face it! We can do better than this, especially because we come from a country that’s experiencing the effects of climate change and world pollution. In the Philippines, brands and social enterprises such as Wear Forward, TELAStory Inc., and Forth Co. are on a mission to break the linear model of fashion by using dead stock, repurposing waste, and propagating slow fashion.

Don’t think that the fashion industry is the only one accountable to these acts of sustainability. As actress Emma Watson said, “As consumers, we have so much power to change the world by just being careful of what we buy.” Last November, Vogue editor Anna Wintour advised everyone about “valuing the clothes that you own and wearing them again and again,” and handing them over to the future generation.

From reimagining your wardrobe choices to adjusting your perspective on shopping, we have listed ways on how you as a consumer can help fashion’s battle in pursuing a greener and more sustainable way of dressing.

Wear Your Clothes More Than Once

Shopping for clothes is always fun and exciting, but our duty to the planet as consumers begins the moment we purchase items. When selecting clothes or other wearable items, ask yourself if you’re going to wear them for a number of times.

Founder of Eco Age Livia Firth initiated a campaign called #30Wears. “The biggest message is every time you buy something, always think, ‘Will I wear it a minimum of 30 times?’ If the answer is yes, then buy it,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “You’d be surprised how many times you say no.”

Know Its Origin

Giving yourself knowledge about the clothes you wear, who made it, and its journey from production to the stores will help you decide better when selecting clothes. Opt for brands that pursue a sustainable business model, provide a healthy working environment for their employees, and maximize resources for production.

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As we celebrate the Fashion Revolution Week, our yearly goal towards positive change will start with you. We at Fashion Revolution believes in a fashion industry that values people, planet, creativity, and profit in equal measure. We encourage you in starting a conversation by asking #WhoMadeMyClothes to the brands and retailers you buy from. How to join: 1. Take selfie showing your clothing label and post on your Instagram or Facebook feed asking the brand “Who Made My Clothes?” 2. Tag us @fash_rev_ph on Instagram and on Facebook 3. Use the hashtag #WhoMadeMyClothes #FashionRevolution #FashionRevolutionPH 4. Make sure your account is public so we can see your post Plus ** You can also tag your friends to do the same! We believe that positive change starts with transparency. Transparency helps to reveal the structures in place so we can better understand how to change them. Our power is persistence. The more people who will keep asking #WhoMadeMyClothes, the more brands will listen. Asking the simple question to the brands you love is a small step towards their transparency. #WhoMadeMyClothes #FashionRevolution #FashionRevolutionPhilippines

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Fashion Revolution Philippines has this initiative called “Who Made My Clothes.” It encourages consumers to create a dialogue with brands and retailers by asking simple questions such as who made the clothes. The initiative enables a first step toward transparency and better understanding of the stories threaded into daily garments.

Quality Over Quantity

Shopping smart does not just apply in getting a great deal on a product you want, but also on checking that the item you plan to purchase is worth having. While products on sale allow you to buy more, these pieces might land on trash bins too soon.

A smart shopper will always go for quality. Build your closet with essential items that are made of good materials and could play with your style in many ways. This will lessen the urge of shopping and decrease the number of clothes you put into waste.

Opt For Thrift Shopping

This is something all too familiar with us Filipinos. Thrift shopping or buying clothes from ukay-ukay is a definite step toward sustainable dressing.


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Eco Beauty Queen @karenrenggg is starting the year by choosing to buy second-hand. She shares her tips on how to shift to a more eco-friendly mindset for our closets. Repost @karenrenggg : Starting the year with a new wardrobe can be daunting but may we all start with the mindset of saving Mother Earth. How do we do this? Re-think. When you go to a famous clothing store and something cute catches your eye, re-think first before buying if you really need the product or at least be critical if it's ethically and sustainably made. Reduce. Cut about half of your wardrobe by taking out clothes you don't need or wear anymore. Try re-selling or better yet, donate! Reuse. I'm currently in the ukay capital of the country, Baguio City! It has been a tradition for me and my family to go here and buy lots of really cool pieces from vintage finds to designer brands since I was a kid. Reusing pre-loved or second-hand clothes is a good way of saving the environment and saving money! Recycle. Mix and match. Snip and sew. Maximize your clothes until the time comes they may better serve you as rags, decor, or other creative pieces. Respect. We always need to be responsible consumers. The world of fashion is very wonderful but it lessens each time we forget the impact of fast fashion and purchasing excessively things we do not need. #fashionrevolution #lovedclotheslast

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Gone are the days where shopping in an ukay-ukay was deemed unstylish. Famous fashion personalities are pushing to give ukay-ukay a try. Secondhand apparel with overruns priced cheaper are what you will find in thrift shops. Shopping in these outlets also saves you money. By giving clothes another life, it expands your creativity and, if you’re persistent on checking rows and rows of clothing, might score you a designer item for less than half the original price.

Donate Pieces

Ever heard the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure?” Donating unwanted clothes or other items will help prolong their use and keep them away from dumpsites.

Giving them away to charity is not the only option. Organizations like Rag2Riches and Phinix turn waste textiles and plastics into shoes and bags while offering artisans, community women, and persons with disabilities a source of livelihood.

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Happy new year, advocates! 💖 We want to start the year by thanking you all for an amazing 2019!⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ We couldn't have done it without all of you who showed love here on our socials, attended our events & pop-ups, shared the advocacy & culture to others, and, of course, supported our artisans and communities by purchasing our pieces. Thank you so much!⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ As you know, we are always excited to share news of our new products, designs, and events––but we are even MORE excited when it comes to sharing news about impact!⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ So here is our 2019 Positive Impact Review, along with our promises for 2020. Swipe to read them!⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ You may also read about it on the blog at Click the link in our bio. #WeaveJoyfulStories #thingsthatmatterph

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Fashion brands like Uniqlo and H&M call for used clothing donations as well. Creating a circular process of producing clothes, Uniqlo accepts back their used products, whether they are still wearable or not, and upcycles them for charity. Clothing, towels, and bedding with minor damage can be donated to H&M.

Bring Your Own Bag

Carrying sets of branded shopping bags can be fulfilling to a shopaholic. However, these extra packages—paper bags, boxes, et cetera—use up another set of valuable resources. Trees are cut to be made into boxes and paper wrap, which ultimately end up in landfills and add to carbon emissions.

A good option is to carry your own reusable shopping bag. An article by the New York Times states that an avid shopper would have to reuse his or her cotton bag 131 times before it had a smaller global warming impact compared to a lightweight plastic bag used only once. Now this will be possible if you stuck to the practice of using the cotton bags again and again. Try to get your bags from producers that manufacture bags out of used materials such as used clothing and recycled plastics.

Wash Your Clothes Less

Washing your clothes consumes water and also pollutes it. Fabrics such as polyester, nylon, and other synthetic textiles are forms of plastic. These fabrics have synthetic fibers that when washed contribute to the ocean’s plastic pollution. These fibers are so tiny that a single load of laundry could release hundreds and thousands of fibers.

“Think about how many people are washing their clothes on a daily basis, and how many clothes we all have,” says Imogen Napper, a marine scientist at the University of Plymouth and coauthor of a 2016 study on plastic fibers. “Even when we’re walking around, not washing our clothes, tiny fibers are falling off. They’re everywhere.”

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Plastic pollution in our oceans isn't only the result of discarded plastic bags, straws, bottles, and other single-use items. It is also increasingly the result of our CLOTHING.⁠ 👗👕👖👚👙⁠ More than ever before our clothes are made out of plastic (and we don't just mean this top fashioned after a single-use plastic bag).⁠ ⁠ Polyester, nylon, acrylic, and other synthetic fibers — all of which are forms of plastic — now make up about 60 PERCENT of the material that makes up our clothes worldwide.⁠ 🙀⁠ Tiny fibers from these materials leach into our waterways each time they are washed. And even if you live thousands of miles from the ocean, these polluting microfibers WILL eventually reach to ocean where they will contribute to the accumulation of microplastics harming marine life and entering the food chain.⁠ ⁠ So what can you do?⁠ 🤔⁠ First, it is best to avoid synthetic fabrics whenever possible. Opt for natural fabrics like cotton (organic, ideally!), hemp, and wool.⁠ ⁠ Second, when you are unable to avoid synthetic fabrics make an effort to reduce how often you wash them by only doing so when necessary.⁠ ⁠ Third, put pressure on textile manufacturers to utilize more natural materials in their fabrics and to design fabrics that shed less.⁠ ⁠ #plasticpollutes #plasticpollution #microplastic #mircoplastics #microfibers #refuseplastic #saveourseas #saveourplanet #saynotoplastic #plasticfree #liveplasticfree #plasticfreeseas ⁠ ⁠ ⁠

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According to Plastic Pollution Coalition, the way to prevent clothes’ microfibers from getting into the ocean is to wash synthetic clothes less frequently and for a shorter duration. Fill up your washing machine. Washing a full load results in less friction between the clothes, releasing fewer fibers.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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