I’m a Latina conscious business owner, and here’s why I think you should rethink your wardrobe

I’m a Latina conscious business owner, and here’s why I think you should rethink your wardrobe

Posted by Jean Guzman on

We’re contributing to overproduction and affecting nuestra cultura

Fashion, in its most beautiful form, is an expression of individuality and culture. It's a way to showcase our personal style, our heritage, and our values. Yet, as we revel in the latest trends, la verdad que nadie quiere ver es: we’re contributing to overproduction and affecting nuestra cultura. This concern hits close to home, especially when we look at the impact on Chile.

The fashion industry, for all its glitz and glamor, has a dark side. Overproduction is a rampant issue. Clothes are produced at a breakneck pace, often resulting in surplus inventory that ends up in landfills. Aside from overproduction, there’s also scraps that accumulate and need to be discarded. In total, the textile industry creates 21 billion pounds of waste that goes into landfills. Sabias que Chile has the biggest clothing landfill in the world and can be seen from space?!

Here's where some fast-fashion clothes end up after being thrown away

There are initiatives to recycle clothes in the U.S. and Europe. You can easily donate clothes to Goodwill, Salvation Army, local clothing bins, and even mail in services. This makes it easy to get rid of clothes, but the majority of clothes go into landfills within a year of purchase, and it can take up to 200 years to biodegrade. This is unsustainable being that since the year 2000, there has been an 80% increase in textile waste.

Some clothes do make it to a new home, however, it really depends on the material/fabric. As seen in this video, clothes are sent to other countries in South America & Africa, whatever is not put to use, is burned or dumped thus polluting oceans and waterways.

Overproduction strains resources, contributes to pollution, and fosters unethical labor practices. It's a domino effect, and the dominos are falling faster than we can pick them up. I know we love to play the game, pero this is serious.

Can we really recycle our old clothes?

What have you discovered in your journey?

As a Latina entrepreneur, we are grateful that technology, grants and many other factors have given us the opportunity to be seen. It's like the saying goes, ojos que no ven, corazón que no siente. Latino owned brands are emerging and nuestra cultura is overjoyed. We now have options that represent us. Seeing these brands motivates us to dream bigger, especially when there’s transparency and we know the story because we all love a good tele-novela; supporting and watching to see how it unfolds.

Learning about the fashion industry while starting a lifestyle brand makes you more aware of your choices as a brand and as a consumer. You gain a different perspective because the goal is to infuse the nostalgia of cultural identity while making sales without contributing to the problem of overproduction. You weigh your options like using print on demand to reduce waste, but lower the profit margin. The journey has taught me that setting an example and starting a new standard is more important. For some, shopping offers instant gratification that does not hold long term value being that most items are making it into landfills within a year. The goal is to do less, produce less, and value more in fashion and in life. Because of my background in education, this way of thinking comes naturally. It’s a positive approach and people will follow your lead because at the end of the day, it’s about making conscious decisions with the information presented. 

Given the information about overproduction and Latino-owned brands, it may be time to look through your wardrobe and re-discover your fashion style. As a consumer you have to acknowledge whether you are an impulse buyer and have clothes that still have the tag, and you have no intention of wearing. Another consideration is whether you’ll style the item multiple ways thus getting more use out of it. The ability to style your clothes heavily depends on quality because una y otra vez we put something on, and after washing it, the fit is no longer the same. Decide if some items can be dressed up or down for work, and finally, consider those subscriptions that oversupply you with items that you don’t need and don’t have the space to store.

We know that consumers are constantly marketed to keep on buying and that is inevitable, but making a purchase decision to include conscious Latino owned brands is now an option. Check out these brands that are elevating the culture: Aura Heights, Kids of Immigrants & Cadena Collective.

By making conscious choices, supporting small businesses, and embracing sustainable fashion, we can help curb overproduction without abandoning our passion for style. After all, fashion and culture aren't mutually exclusive. They can, and should, coexist harmoniously. 

Siempre learning The Industria

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