Loyola Students Fight Fast Fashion”


More relevant than ever is the burning question posed in Macklemore’s 2012 hit “Thrift Shop”: “Hey, Macklemore. Can we go thrift shopping?”

Loyola students find that their desire to shop sustainably often conflicts with the harsh reality of being a college student on a budget. With the prices of sustainable brands rising and fast fashion becoming extremely affordable, it can be hard to know which way to go – but why do young people have to choose between saving the planet and buying a new outfit?

Professor Sarah Ku, assistant professor of sustainable business management, spoke about the economic, social and environmental components of sustainability in business. Sustainability often comes with a price point, Ku said, which can make shopping ethically difficult for students on a budget.

“It’s a real issue of social justice, where if the only products that are within socio-economic reach are non-renewable, coming from poor energy sources or poor labor practices, that’s really unfair,” Ku said. “But what should you as an individual consumer do?”

Bella Nordstrom | Phoenix Fashion major Dean Morgan has learned to thrift and upgrade clothing.

Consumers tend to prioritize budget options for clothing, Ku said. First-year theater major Dean Morgan said fast fashion presents the simplest alternative for those with lower incomes.

“Fashion is not the most accessible thing,” Morgan, 18, said. “Sometimes fast fashion is what you can afford.”

When looking for pieces to add to his closet, Morgan said he prefers to buy from companies that have an ethical and sustainable background. The fashion major has recently started learning how to thrift to try and repurpose old clothes. He is not the only student who is beginning to understand the importance of sustainability in fashion.

Students in Brother Jose Martin Montoya Dura’s environmental sustainability class have recently begun learning about the ins and outs of the fashion industry. Montoya, a lecturer in environmental sustainability at Loyola, said he is teaching his students to question where and how their clothes are made.

Montoya’s student Dasha Musil, a senior majoring in international business, said her eyes were opened by an Alex James film, Slowing Down Fast Fashion, which the class watched during a lesson on the unethical practices of the fashion industry. fashion.

Students saw the people behind the clothes: the faces of men, women and children forced to work in terrible conditions for little pay.

After showing this harsh reality, the film contains a number of viable options to avoid supporting the corrupt fast fashion business. Thrift is among the most popular alternatives featured in the film, something that several Loyola students have already participated heavily in.

“We often associate sustainability with [being] expensive, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” said Ku.

Thrifting and recycling are low-cost alternatives to buying new items to add to your closet.

Recycling involves creatively reusing clothes, such as hand painting new designs on old jeans. Saving is buying used clothes and giving them a new life. Sustainable fashion practices like these allow students to express themselves through their clothing without breaking the bank.

Julia Soeder | Phoenix Sydney Shimizu constantly reinvents herself through her frugal style.

Sydney Shimizu, a first-year public health major, enjoys sifting through the Goodwill bins to save the closet losers. Her eclectic style can be attributed to her openness to finding clothes from off-the-beaten-path stores on Michigan Avenue.

There is no limit to Shimizu’s creativity when it comes to choosing her next outfit.

“The way I dress changes all the time,” said the 18-year-old. “I say: “Who am I? Who am I calling now? Who am I today?’ It could be anything, that’s the fun thing.”

Try Meinhardt Stella Jensen said she usually tries to shop second-hand.

Shimizu isn’t the only student at Loyola experimenting with fashion. Freshman Stella Jensen said she tends to buy used rather than new because of the environmental benefits and the ability to find clothing that is out of the ordinary.

Having the ability to thrift and find unique pieces is something that Jenson really enjoys. The communication studies major said her approach to her personal style is less trend-focused than others.

“I try to think of fashion more as an art project than trying to keep up with trends,” Jensen said.

Both Shimizu and Jensen use thrift and thrift shopping as a creative opportunity to repurpose clothes and make their style distinct.

Creativity like this will be essential to reaping the untapped potential in materials that are considered “waste,” according to Ku. Loyola’s Paul Schnell, a senior advertising and public relations major, has a creative solution to an annual problem — the Halloween costume.

Schnell said she wants to use the reach of social media and create a campaign to negate the disposable clothing habit through a Halloween challenge at Loyola.

“I would like to spread awareness about fast fashion and our consumerism, while at the same time, how to take action across our campus,” Schnell said. “By the end of October, people will feel more inclined, during a time of year where you buy a bunch of clothes and suits, to minimize that consumption,” Schnell said.

Sustainable shopping requires a change in culture and habits. Creating a world that prioritizes the minimization of consumption, the longevity of parts and the ethical background of clothing is key to a sustainable future. From the classroom, to economic initiatives, to campus initiatives, Loyola students are creating a world where sustainable fashion is the only answer.

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