D.I.Y Costume Tips & Spooky Fast Fashion Facts
For all you last minute Halloween costume shoppers, I can completely relate. Dressing up and creating a unique outfit has always been fun to me, yet nearly every year I have made my costumes the day of! My ideas go on a roller coaster of different directions, but one thing that remains constant throughout the process is using mainly clothes, props, and artistic skills that I already have.
Something that helps me to create an original costume is to first choose an article of clothing that I really want to wear— or go thrifting for one. Next, I brainstorm ideas based around that article (this could be funky shoes, sexy dress, camo pants, or past costume pieces like wings/headbands/wigs). Lastly, accessories are a great way to turn your regular outfit into a costume!
For example, I have explored different ideas based off a khaki one-piece jumpsuit.
UPS Delivery Man: orange bralette, empty box, hand drawn UPS logo attached
Gold Digger: gold top, bling jewelry
Ghostbuster: black backpack, black gloves, ghostbuster logo, and maybe a ghostly friend to join
I encourage you to make your own costume this year not only to be the talk of the night for your creativity, but more so for the sake of the environment. The fast fashion industry is not always the first thing to come to mind when thinking about environmental issues, yet after hearing these facts it should be!
Fast fashion consists of cheap, poor quality textiles, made quickly by big brands to mimic the latest fashion trends and constantly market to consumers making them feel like they need to continually buy the latest trend. This industry is not only messing with our minds, but also very detrimental to our planet. Non-renewable resources are utilized at unsustainable rates, added microplastic pollution damages aquatic ecosystems, and the most prominent fabric in clothing (cotton) requires intensive chemical inputs to grow.
“20,000 LITERS. The amount of water needed to produce one kilogram of cotton; equivalent to a single t-shirt and a pair of jeans.” – WWF
“More than 90% of that cotton is now genetically modified, using vast amounts of water as well as chemicals. Cotton production is now responsible for 18% of worldwide pesticide use and 25% of total insecticide use.” – The True Cost
“Nearly 70 million barrels of oil are used each year to make the world’s polyester fiber, which is now the most commonly used fiber in our clothing. But it takes more than 200 years to decompose.” – Forbes
“85% of the plastic pollution in the ocean is due to microfibers from synthetic clothing.” – Dr. Mark Browne
Fast fashion companies like H&M and ZARA are able to keep costs low by outsourcing to low environmentally regulated countries where cheap labor in unsafe working conditions and pollution occurs daily. Most workers are women who work long hours for nearly nothing in which it is not uncommon to skip meals and experience mental, physical, or sexual abuse.
Don’t take this article as a “shame on you” for buying from name brand companies. I am not perfect either and can occasionally be found in the Urban Outfitters sale section, but after understanding the textile industry’s negative social and environmental impact I have become a more conscious consumer.
You may think that changing your shopping habits is going to be more expensive or unrealistic. However, the prices on repurposed or resold clothes do compare to the $10.99 t-shirt from Forever 21 (most of the time you can find that same t-shirt re-sold online (Depop) or in stores like Plato’s Closet. Below I linked ways to up your sustainable shopping game whether it is for your Halloween costume or everyday attire!
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure: Thrift stores, GoodWill, Consignment shops, Plato’s Closet
Host a clothing swap with friends! Next month Unlitter will be having one in Gainesville.
Looking for quality-made sustainable brands check out this app/website that ethically scores brands.
This holiday season, I encourage you to take initiative to be a conscious consumer whether you are creating a costume, buying presents, or shopping for a party dress. Refer back to these links and look out for a future blog post about sustainable gift giving!
“Live Dirty, Eat Clean & Green”,