Let’s start the discussion of how to be an eco-friendly clothing consumer with style by talking about one of 2021’s biggest fashion trends: patchwork.
Maybe it’s “granny chic” or the evolution of vintage, but patchwork clothing has evolved from indie to everything this year. Sicilian patchwork was the theme of last year’s Dolce & Gabbana’s SS21 runway, and A$AP Rocky even wore an actual patchwork quilt to the 2021 Met Gala.
While big brands are offering patchwork everything, from shorts to headbands, the heart of this fashion movement is its sustainability—an issue of increasing importance in the fashion world.
Escape the Fast-Fashion Cycle
Before we dive into the point of patchwork fashion, it’s important to touch on the sustainability issue that it solves.
Fast fashion is a vicious cycle that incentivizes consumers to go out and buy even more. Old clothes with minor issues end up in landfills, while the people in textile factories work tirelessly to stitch up whatever new trend is meant to replace the last one.
Supporting brands that last will slow your consumption. For example, while long-lasting jeans are initially more expensive, the investment saves you money down the road and removes you from that fast-fashion cycle.
Repair, Reuse, Repurpose
The patchwork trend really blew up among millennials and Gen Zers as a way to both express themselves and retain their old clothing. Patches of cow print fabric were a cute, personality-filled way to mend holes. Patchwork shirts meant that even an unsalvageable blouse could live on. On top of saving money, the effort you put into giving old clothes new life keeps fabric out of the landfills.
Instead of buying the new patchwork shorts your favorite retailer has put out, consider getting crafty. Hop on board by mending torn jeans with exciting, organically shaped bits of fabric. Find ways to turn old fabrics into new, patchwork-inspired outfits both on trend and entirely unique. Gather up quilting materials and supplies, and start piecing together something (not-so-entirely) new for your home and your wardrobe!
Consider a Trend’s Sustainability
Finally, always ask yourself where you think the materials will end up. Some exciting products are coming from brands that continue to have a frightening environmental impact. Trends that center around plastic aren’t always worth the look. Not every article of clothing can be repurposed into next year’s hot new trend, so purchase consciously.
The purpose of highlighting the patchwork trend in fashion is to remind you that staying stylish doesn’t have to keep you in the fast-fashion cycle. Sometimes, it’s those people looking to change the fashion world who go on to define it for everyone else. Perhaps the best way to be an eco-friendly clothing consumer with style is to get more up-close and personal with your wardrobe. Ask those hard-hitting questions about what you buy, and discover ways to showcase what you value through what you wear.