cruelty-free fashion: why it matters

pulled from my personal blog for you beautiful humans:

what i'm doing to be care free + 23 🙌🏼

Hi new blog family!

I am excited to announce a new "challenge" I am committing to in honour of my 23rd birthday. As many of you know, since I was eight years old I have hosted fundraisers for my birthdays, accepting donations for various causes in lieu of gifts. From my sister's orphanage in China, to Compassion International, I have been so blessed to join forces with generous friends and family to make an impact every trip around the sun! This year, a new mission is tugging at my heart: sustainable fashion and fighting back against this toxic industry. I am committing to an entire year of totally second-hand or environmentally friendly shopping. I am committing to "slow fashion". To zero-waste. To conscious consumerism. + hoping to document this journey online so we can learn together!

First of all, if you haven't yet, open a new tab, head to Netflix and watch "The True Cost" -- immediately! This documentary was an eye-opener for me, leaving me a good way. It details the toxic fast fashion industry and the myriad negative effects it has on everything from the environment, to the economy, to the human labour behind your $5 t-shirt. If it seems too good to be's probably because it IS. Someone is losing out in the supply chain and those are the people who are voiceless. It's a huge deal. Way more important than we realize, and way too well-kept a secret. Since watching this doco, one of my new passions is it get the word out about how critical our purchasing power is today and how we MUST vote for the world we want with our dollars. When we demand transparency as consumers and selectively decide where to invest and recirculate, the market will respond. The market will always move faster than policy, which is a good thing because it means we have more impact than we realize! As the collective consciousness is rising, i'm hopeful about our power as a global team to reverse the ill-effects of this industry on people and the planet. 


+ Learn!

Here's an industry run-down:

  • Cotton is one of the most common fibers in the textile industry. It’s also one of the most harmful. Cotton requires TONS of water to grow. 

  • Did you know that 2700 liters of water are required to grow the cotton in a single t-shirt? For reference, that’s how much water you drink in 2.5 years.

  • Cotton production also requires tons of insecticide and pesticide chemicals, both of which result in environmental degradation. Further, these dangerous chemicals are not fully stripped away in production and traces can be found IN the clothing we purchase from the rack! Now, you know me and how cautious I am about the products I am putting in and on my body...think about it: 80% of what we put on our skin is absorbed essentially-unfiltered into our bloodstream. When we wear toxic clothing, we are exposing ourselves to WHATEVER the heck was sprayed on that cotton during production. Yikes.

  • Polyester production releases about 706 billion kg of greenhouse gases!

  • Textile production is one of the most polluting industries, producing 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) per year, which is more emissions than international flights and maritime shipping combined! 

  • Approximately 15 million tons of used textile waste are created annually in the production of clothing.  Think clothing scraps, odd end pieces of fabric, samples and mistake or error pieces. The largely unregulated churn and burn of fast fashion is putting too much pressure on our planet. 12.8 million tons of discarded clothing are sent to landfills in the US every year. This is a football field filled 14 ft deep with clothes.

In relation to fast fashion + feminism:

With fast fashion you trap a generation of young women into poverty. These women are disempowered and voiceless, so we have to speak up for them.

  • 75 million people are making our clothes today. 80% is made by women who are only 18 – 24 years old.

  • It takes a garment worker 18 months to earn what a fashion brand CEO makes on their lunch break. A majority of them earn less than $3 per day.

  • The biggest corners fast fashion cuts are human. Cheap clothes are made by underage workers entering the industry as young as 14 to work long hard hours (an avg. of 14 hrs per day in sweatshops) for low wages, while dealing with sexual harassment.

In short, you can't be a feminist and shop like this. It just doesn't add up. 

In relation to veganism and animal product based fashion (thanks to my girl Remy @veggiekins for some of these fast facts): 

  • Leather production is one of the most harmful practices related to the fashion industry, responsible for releasing tons of harmful carbon emissions. 

  • A large portion of the fashion industry’s animal derived products, whether it be fur or leather, come from India or China where there is a severe lack in animal welfare legislation and regulation.

  • Fur is a totally unsustainable product and wreaks havoc on the environment, too. Once animal skin is removed, it is treated in tons of toxic chemicals in order to prevent decay. Again with the toxins on our skin...PLUS, it takes it takes 4 times more energy to produce a fur coat than a synthetic alternative. This just doesn't make sense.

More resources for further learning:

Trace the complete journey of a T-Shirt:

Some easy-to-digest infographics:

Dive into the hidden costs of fast fashion:

+ Shop consciously.

conscious consumerism is IN | ethical is the new black | fair trade, eco-consciousness, and triple bottom line is the native language of this generation. we are recoding the DNA of consumer culture with every choice we make.

the market moves WAY faster than policy ever will, so if we want to see a change in the world, we need to cast a vote with our dollars. how can our buying habits make a dent? 

✨skip out on fast fashion and go vintage at thrift stores (you'll be cooler for it too). Check out @fash_rev (@fash_revusa) and ask #whomademyclothes 
✨ shop local (when you support local small businesses, 70% of the proceeds re-enter the local community). 
✨buy organic (check in on the @environmentalworkinggroup + love on your local farmers when you can). 
✨ join a CSA (community sustained/supported agriculture is the BOMB and it's a more affordable way to eat clean). 
✨invest in companies with a conscience (because they often give up potential profits in order to stay in alignment with their purpose). Income and impact don't have to be mutually exclusive, but brands with a heart for people often take the harder route so LOVE on them!
✨go plant-based as much as you can (at least one day a week! each vegan day, you’ll save 1,100 gallons of water, 45 lbs of grain, 30 sq ft of forests, 20 lbs of co2, and one animal’s life!) 
✨ oh, and re-use, up-cycle, and recycle, dude!

If you ask me, this is a good time to be extra

Research. Know where your clothes (+ other purchases) are sourced. Care about the environmental impact of your daily habits and shopping behaviour. Investigate the materials and the supply chain. Inquire about Corporate Social Responsibility and how the companies you invest in treat people from the source to the sale rack.

It doesn't take too much energy to make an educated decision and be a legit conscious consumer! It's totally empowering!



the collab nation

the reformation

+ Participate in the annual Fashion Revolution Week.

Check out This is a global movement that encourages people to ask #whomademyclothes and demand transparency and equality from the brands we so readily trust. The more we use our voices, the more brands will listen. Here's their mission statement:

"On the 5th anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, which killed 1,138 people and injured many more in 2013, we encourage millions of people to ask brands #whomademyclothes and demand greater transparency in the fashion supply chain."

Phew! I am inspired. We really can make a positive impact with our wallets instead of contributing to this dangerous cycle. Shopping eco-chic, cruelty-free, vegan, and fair trade has never been easier as brands around the world are standing up for what's right. What are your favourite eco-and-socially-conscious brands?

BRB, heading to Reformation downtown <3 

Regan Plekenpol