As awareness of environmental sustainability rises, people have begun to acknowledge the importance of recycling, composting and carpooling. But what about shopping? It is easy for students to sit in their dorm rooms and order clothes without ever thinking about the environmental impact of retail shopping.
A new shirt or pair of shoes may not initially appear to directly impact the environment, but the fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world, second only to the oil industry, according to Sustain Your Style. From toxic chemicals and dyes to factory exhaust and textiles filling up landfills, the process of manufacturing, shipping and selling clothing takes a large toll on the environment.
However, certain companies and organizations have acknowledged this issue and worked to keep the fashion industry alive without detrimental consequences. Richmond is known for being an up-and-coming city staying on top of new trends, and awareness of sustainable fashion is no exception. Students who want to keep up their retail therapy and be conscious of their environmental impact will find the following sustainable options in Richmond:
Verdalina is a local company whose mission is to provide shoppers with clothing, jewelry and household items from local businesses that value long-lasting style, sustainable products and slow-fashion goods, according to Verdalina about page. Located at 325 W. Broad St., Verdalina is the perfect store to visit on a trip to the city.
This small womens’ jewelry and clothing store, located at 16 W. Broad St., focuses on providing shoppers with unique, high-quality and hand-made goods. It values economic friendly merchandise and the reduction of pollution and sweatshop production, according to the Rosewood website.
The Good Wear:
The Good Wear is a website created by a VCU alumna who lives in Richmond and has made it her life’s mission to educate shoppers about buying sustainably. Her website and blog have over a hundred sustainable brands, local small businesses and large franchises to read about and visit.
The above sites are good options when looking for new yet sustainable clothing, but the most environmentally friendly and sustainable form of retail is thrift shopping. Buying from second-hand stores not only saves money but also helps reduce the amount of pollutants formed when making new clothes. Luckily, there are several second-hand shops in Richmond that prioritize high-quality clothes.
Ashby’s is a resale clothing store in Carytown that sells high-end and high-quality clothes from brand name and local stores. Ashby’s opened in 2012 with the goal of prioritizing affordable clothing with an easy selling and buying process, according to Ashby's about us page. Besides its physical Carytown location, it also has an easy-to-access website with free shipping and local delivery. Along with second-hand men’s and women’s clothing, Ashby’s sells locally made gifts and jewelry to help support small businesses in Richmond. Want to sell your lightly used clothes to Ashby’s? Check out their info page.
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Clementine is another retail clothing store located in Carytown. Clementine focuses more on designer and upscale lightly-worn women’s clothing. Professionals select and price all goods in the store and pride themselves on quick turnarounds with a constant update of new merchandise, according to Clementine’s website. Clementine donates all items it does not sell to non-profit organizations in Richmond, as stated on their website. By doing so, it helps Richmond citizens while also maximizing sustainability by reducing the number of textiles in landfills.
With the current state of COVID-19 preventing students from leaving campus, it is hard to practice sustainable shopping at the mentioned locations. Instead, here are a few online stores that prioritize sustainable retail so you can stay safe and help the environment while shopping:
ReBag is a website created to resell designer bags, accessories and jewelry. It helps users sell and calculate the value of their item as well as provides you with new arrivals of high-end designer products.
ThreadUp is an online company that helps users buy and sell lightly worn women’s and children’s clothing. The company prides itself on “rejecting throwaway fashion culture, and standing for sustainability,” according to its mission statement.
In the mood for shopping? Think sustainable!
Contact lifestyle writer Evelyn Barringer at evelyn.barringer.richmond.edu.
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