Across all social media platforms, teens and young adults are immersed in fashion ‘must-haves’. It’s these millions of images and messages that ultimately encourage gross self-indulgence through unyielding consumerism.
Yet, flip the coin and there’s another side to fashion, both engaging and self-empowering!
We’re onto something very exciting if, and when, we use fashion as a driving force to lead our teens into worthy self-esteem through acts of global healing.
Activating self-empowerment through fashion sounds oddly contradictory to what mainstream fashion asks of us though. In fact, fast fashion retailers ask nothing of us other than to buy, buy and buy even more.
Isn’t the term “slave to fashion” more suitable to today’s 52-week fashion shopping cycle?
What if we were to hone our kids’ shopping habits by exposing them to the human and environmental cost of the fashion industry?
For instance, by not buying regularly from fast fashion retailers, our teens can each reduce 82 pounds (37 kg) of textile waste per year! (Easily the weight of a tween!)
It’s not just youngsters who are given an invitation to consider the possibility that we’re far more than just consumers! Each of us votes with our hard-earned currency, and we can choose to be part of something bigger.
As parents though we can recognise that fashion is a powerfully persuasive and apt tool to redirect our teens’ energies to greater purpose.
Here’s how to get started:
1. Watch a movie together: The True Cost, a groundbreaking documentary, is a story about clothing. It’s about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world. It gives us a compelling glimpse into how we can transition from fashion bystander to positive participant. Thread and Cotton Road are other conscious-fashion related documentaries worth watching
2. Buy a book: worthwhile reads include:
- Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline
- Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion by Tansy E. Hoskins
- To Die for: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World? by Lucy Seigle
3. Follow the leaders: Build a ‘following’ list on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook of fashion conscious leaders. These front-runners will keep you and your teens engaged, interacting and in-the-know about the positive change happening. People like Livia Firth of Eco-Age, Lucy Seigle, Safia Minney, Orsola de Castro, and Sass Brown
5. Get involved: Fashion Revolution Week runs annually in April. Join in on their meaningful and interactive online conscious-consumer campaigns
6. Stop the shop: Bring family or friends together to agree and support one another to stay away from fast-fashion retailers for a month. It’s a fun way to see just how much unconscious shopping we do. Retailers include the likes of H&M, Gap, Zara, Mango, Forever 21, Uniqlo, Primark, New Look and Topshop
7. Support sustainable fashion retailers & designers:
- Men’s clothing: John Bartlett and Brave Gentleman, and Hiut Denim Co. (unisex)
- Women’s clothing: Vaute Couture, Zady, and People Tree
- Footwear: Mink Shoes, Cri De Coeur, Olsenhaus, Nicora Shoes, Love is Mighty, Wills London, and Beyond Skin
- Bags: Jill Milan, Gunas New York, Matt & Nat, Lany, and Jentil
- Other high-end designer brands: Stella McCartney and Edun