(photography by Molly Bamberger)
Ah, Los Angeles in January. This is exactly why I was so particular about the geographic location of the colleges I applied to. Being able to wear a dress and a sweater to class in January makes me happier than you could ever imagine. I definitely could not pull that off this winter (or any winter) in New York. The mandala pattern totally drew me to this dress, in addition to the color scheme which works with any season. I felt so weird in October and November wearing my brightly printed summer clothes out and about campus, so this dress will definitely get a lot of wear in the “colder” months of the year.
Sustainability & Style
One of Brooke’s Friends sent me a link to this website which explains the materials sustainability index, a “cradle to gate” index that rates materials on their sustainability from the harvest of raw materials to the time it is a textile ready to be shipped to a product manufacturing factory. It’s easy to only think about how clothes are made in factories, and by whom they are made, however the sustainability of the actual fabrics that are used is often overlooked. The Sustainable Apparel Coalition adopted the materials sustainability index in 2012 and has been using it to evaluate the sustainability of base materials ever since.
The index rates each fabric in four categories: chemistry, which evaluates significant chemical substances used; energy and green house gas (GHG) intensity, which measures the energy and GHG intensity of primary production and the energy and GHG intensity of transportation to factories; water and land use intensity, which basically measures the water used in all areas of the production of the fabric and the amount of bio-based raw material produced per hectare of land; and physical waste, which measures five different types of waste. If that is all word vomit to you, this is all you need to know: each fabric is awarded a score out of 50 points. The higher the score, the more sustainable the fabric.
THIS page on the website allows you to compare different baseline fabrics, like the fabric of my dress (polyester) and the fabric of my sweater (acrylic). As you can see, I’m high-key failing with this outfit. While I definitely will try to buy clothes made from more sustainable fabrics in the future, like lyocell or recycled polyester or cotton, I also realize that my priority has to be what is already in my closet. Most of the items in my closet are pieces I will wear until they cannot be worn again. I’ve had this sweater for three years and I wear it at least once a week, and my gold leather skirt is an absolute staple in my wardrobe. So start with what you have, and when you have to branch out, go for clothes made from sustainable baseline fabrics and made by people who are paid and treated fairly.
My new favorite – “New Shoes” by Paolo Nutini.