Published: April 19, 2023

person sewing clothesSustainable fashion aims to transition the fashion industry and consumers away from the fast fashion model towards sustainable practices in sourcing, production, distribution, marketing and consumption. This is not an easy fix by any means to the environmentally destructive fast fashion industry. Changing values, habits and daily choices takes as much inner work as it does societal. Billion dollar industries bombard us with constant marketing that shapes cultural narratives and norms and encourages us to “stay on trend.” 

The environmental and social impact of fast fashion is tremendous, characterized by waste, depletion of healthy soil, contamination of fresh water sources, pollution of the air we breathe, defilement of our oceans, destruction of forests, and damage to ecosystems and the health of their biodiversity. And those are just physical manifestations of the negative impact fast fashion has on our society. There is also a hidden layer of mental health degradation, when we constantly see ads telling us that we are not enough if we don’t have whatever it is they are selling. Fast fashion ads often impact our sense of self-worth and a need for belonging.  

By reading this article, you have already taken the first step towards achieving sustainable fashion, which is increasing your awareness. The next step is to learn about alternatives to our current fast fashion model. This step can be daunting with the copious amounts of information out there. Furthermore, there are often feelings of guilt and shame that surface when we become aware of how our actions have impacted both people and the planet. Finding a community is crucial when undertaking the journey of unlearning and relearning, which is why the Environmental Center is organizing a Drop and Swap event on April 25th from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The Environmental Center’s spring 2023 clothing swap is an opportunity for CU Boulder students to not only revamp their wardrobes, but find community and support as they try to break free from the fast fashion industry. 

This event will have an educational component to teach students about upcycling and mending their clothes, where to find used clothing in Boulder and about resources on campus for students to meet their needs. If you do not have clothes to donate for the swap, don’t worry, come as you are and take home new-to-you items!

If you have clothes to donate after your spring cleaning purge, you can bring clothes to the Environmental Center in UMC 355 Monday–Friday, April 17-21, or to the UMC Ballroom on the day of the event. In addition to the drop and swap event, the “give and go” move out program in the residence halls will also accept clothing. 

Jumpstart your sustainable fashion journey with AWorld

You don’t have to wait until Drop and Swap to start your sustainable fashion journey. CU Boulder has partnered with the AWorld app from ActNow, the United Nations’ campaign for individual action on climate change and sustainability. The app allows users to weave sustainability into their everyday lives and track their impact. One of the many actions you can log on the A-World app is “Choose Secondhand Clothes” with an estimated impact of 16 Kg CO2 saved and 330 gallons of water saved. Be one of the first 500 to sign up for AWorld app and get a free stasher bag! From April 15 through June 15, track your Sustainable Buff actions using the AWorld app. For each Buffs action logged, CU will invest $1 toward campus conservation and local carbon sequestration projects, up to $10,000.