Style

A Sustainable Investment: Best Buys For Conscious Consumers

These timeless and ethically-made pieces will "spark joy" in the world and your wardrobe.

By Divya Bala

Style

These timeless and ethically-made pieces will "spark joy" in the world and your wardrobe.

By Divya Bala

“Does this spark joy?” It’s the question organisation queen Marie Kondo suggests we ask ourselves while in the harrowing process of deciding what and what not to keep in our wardrobes. When it comes to decluttering in general, the woman is a genius, but when it comes to our wardrobes, she didn’t have it exactly right. The truth is, when it comes to building a conscious wardrobe, we seek to build it on brands that are ethically-aware and environmentally conscious, but also on styles that lean away from seasonal cycles of consumption (that quickly speed towards landfill once the next cycle rolls around). By leaning towards the classic, longevity becomes key as well as pieces that are versatile and timeless, reducing the need to “buy more”.

Although you’ve probably heard the often-cited “fact” that fashion is the world’s second-most polluting industry, we don’t actually know just how bad fashion is for the environment. However, one tentative analysis by Ecocult founder Alden Wicker places fashion as the eighth most polluting industry, though it’s likely higher due to its relation to other top polluting industries including agriculture, energy production and transportation.  Fashion’s huge carbon footprint is largely due to the rate of fast, cheap fashion that sees consumers on a perpetual loop, buying more and more at increasing rates, only for it to end up in landfill the following season. So, while a well-cut white shirt isn’t going to “spark” as much “joy” as a pair of sequin-embellished, hot pink Balenciaga mules worth a month’s rent, it is the more clever investment in the long run. A staple that remains a constant in your daily sartorial lexicon. And who doesn’t love an old favourite you can always rely on to be in style?

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When it comes to tops, three key styles on high rotation will see you through almost any occasion. The white button-down, for example, will forever be a go-to in your closet. Add tailored separates for the office and blue denim plus a red lip for the weekend. Or, tuck it into an evening skirt for a more formal occasion. Look to New Zealand label Kowtow for their classic white shirt. The company uses only Fairtrade and 100 per cent Skal International certified organic cotton in all their garments, and ensures their workers are paid a living wage. Similarly, a quality white tee such as the shirttail cap-sleeve from Organic by John Patrick is a timeless classic for both off-duty looks and on, with suiting.

When it comes to bottoms, there are two keys pieces to have in your artillery. Firstly, a pair of cigarette trousers, a style that is universally flattering and enduring. Known as much for her sustainable practices as her tailoring prowess, Stella McCartney’s classic black trousers, while on the pricier end of the spectrum, will go the distance, either worn to work with our aforementioned button up and a low heel or with fresh white sneakers and a tee, after hours.

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