Green Corner: Staying stylish and sustainable

The Rider community is quite the fashionable one. Walking around campus, you see all sorts of styles from business attire to comfy sweats. We all have our own style, but have you ever stopped to think about how your clothes are made? Luckily for you, more designers and manufacturers today are becoming environmentally conscious when creating their clothing. So next time you need a new outfit for that dream job interview or for your night out, ask yourself how you can be sustainable in your clothing choices.
First, the cost of tuition gives most of us a limited budget when expanding our wardrobe. An inexpensive way to get a new look would be shopping at consignment stores. This is a cheaper option, which helps to give clothes that are still in perfectly good shape a second life. Another way to get new clothes is to get together with a group of friends and do a clothing swap. Shopping in a friend’s closet is a great way to expand your wardrobe without having to go out and buy that new top that you will wear only once. Give your neglected clothes second chances by fixing that hole or adding the right accessories, or recycle your old outfits by donating them in the Community Recycling bins on campus behind West Village and Switlik Hall.
If you are buying new, check the clothing’s tags to see where it came from and what it is made of. Shipping gives the clothing you purchase huge carbon footprints, especially when they come from overseas. Try to buy things made in the U.S. Also, take note of the fabric type. Eco-friendly fabrics made from sustainably grown fiber crops and recycled materials are surprisingly soft and durable; so they will be comfortable and last a long time. Look for fabrics such as organic cotton, soy, linen, silk, hemp, bamboo or recycled plastic fabrics. Skip the fur and go for faux; it looks just as real and will still keep you warm without harming a bunch of cute, fuzzy animals. Try to buy only clothing you know you will wear a lot and will last a long time. Don’t forget to use your reusable shopping bags as well.
Once you have the clothing, take good care of it. Unless your clothes are super dirty most don’t need to be washed after being worn once. Hang that shirt up to air out and wear those jeans again if you can. When you do wash your clothes only do full loads to conserve water and use phosphate-free detergent and chlorine-free bleach to cut back on using harsh chemicals. Washing your clothes in cold water and hang drying them will save tons of energy and cut down on your carbon footprint. If we all try to take these small steps, the Rider community can make a huge difference and look great in the process.

-Rachel Nangle
Lawrenceville Eco-Rep

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