It’s no secret that my journey to sustainable living has lead me to reject fast fashion. Ubiquitous mega brands like H&M, Forever21, and Zara are profiting from pumping out obscene amounts of commercial clothing (in designs often ripped off from high fashion houses and mass-produced in polyester) that’s intended to fall apart or be off-trend in time for next month’s new collection. Despite the allure of the low price tag, I think this vicious cycle of creative exploitation and immense over-consumption should hardly be called “fashion”. If a person chooses to indulge in the world of style, then their clothes and accessories should be an expression of culture, of  a moment in time, and of oneself. To me, the watered-down version that is fast fashion more closely resembles a trip to McDonald’s; excessive, tasteless and cheap.

Fast fashion is not only filling landfills with discarded clothing, but is also wasting an enormous amount of fossil fuel generated energy during the mass manufacturing process. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the industrial sector uses more energy than any other end-use sector, consuming over half of the world’s total delivered energy at 54%. Burning these fossil fuels is precisely what’s causing the greenhouse effect and climate change (this NASA page explains the greenhouse effect well if you would like to learn more about it). Furthermore, it’s estimated that the U.S. is only 38% energy efficient, which means we are wasting 62% of the energy consumed. We have got to become more energy efficient.

Consequently, I now have a special appreciation for handmade goods. Brands can conserve massive amounts of energy simply by reducing or eliminating the use of mechanical equipment used during production. Handmade clothing is also usually made out of high quality materials, with a higher level of personal attention and quality control from the designer, so it’s made to last for years rather than be discarded after one or two seasons. Since handmade clothing is usually crafted by artisans and smaller companies, smaller quantities are produced, which reduces waste and excess merchandise.

This dress is from Faithfull, an Australian label that employs small family-run factories in Indonesia to produce their garments using handmade techniques. All prints are original – inspired by the designers’ travels – and hand-dyed and printed. You can read more about the brand’s process and dedication to their local community here.

I bought this dress last December and have worn it on quite a few occasions since, including to visit the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve. I don’t think it’s being sold anymore, but their new summer collection is amazing and they sell a similar style to this one in stripes.

Photos by @sdrpick.

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