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Local Vintage Shops Fight Consumerism in the Fashion Industry

Updated: Jun 2

Consumerism in the fashion industry has always been an inherent part of American culture, driven by fast moving trend culture and accelerated by platforms like Tik Tok and the constant chase of latest styles tied to social class. But at what cost? According to journalist Martina Igini, 92 million tons of clothes are sent to dumpsters each year, making up more than 7% of the total amount of waste in global landfill space. Additionally, each year, the industry contributes 1.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Unfortunately these statistics are only increasing, showing the dire need for change. This necessary change is daunting, but grassroots organizations all over the world are providing hope for a more sustainable future. Here are some of the initiatives we see locals in the Bay Area taking.

Hidden in a San Jose storefront behind the counter is California Native and clothing designer Joslyn West. For over 20 years, she has been using vintage repurposed materials to hand make clothing for her store. West shares about how the hand-embroidered tablecloths made out of high quality linen would usually be destined for the dumpster, however, with years of built up skill, she can turn unwanted materials into creative masterpieces of clothing. West further comments on the fast fashion industry to CBS, stating, "For something you're going to wear three or four times. it's not worth it. It's not worth what you're doing to the planet". Her works are pieces of art that contrast the idea of fast fashion and reminds us of the beauty and value of repurposing material. Today, her business still thrives with her own personal website and upcoming events showcasing opportunities to purchase and support her efforts.

Similar, yet different to West’s approach to tackling the waste problem in the fashion industry, The San Francisco Standard spotlights Lindsey Hansen, a designer and San Francisco vintage thrift shop owner. In a conversation with a journalist and reporter from The San Francisco Standard, Hansen, who has worked in the fashion industry for years, describes her guilt in the amount of waste she was contributing by creating an abundance of clothing designs. She has since decided to leave her original job and start a vintage boutique called The Future Past which can be found on Clement Street. Her shop’s expertise lies in the art of customizing, tailoring, and reviving vintage fashion items, with a special emphasis on denim. They excel in sourcing and transforming garments crafted from natural fabrics, often dyed with organic hues to create unique pieces. Today, visiting customers can select their favorites off the racks or even bring in their own pieces to be repaired, altered, or reworked to fit the latest modern trends.

This shared commitment to sustainability and circular fashion is also reflected in the journey of Kristina Schagane, owner of Moody Goose Vintage, another small vintage store tucked away on Polk Street in San Francisco. Moody Goose Vintage features 35 vintage curators who each express their own style in each section of the store. Schagane describes her journey in creating this shop, first introduced to the industry through an internship at Thredup, an online resale platform. From then, she started thrifting with the intention of reselling pieces on depop, which grew into the larger business that is Moody Goose Vintage. Her story inspires people today as it demonstrates that regardless of one's starting point, anyone can contribute to addressing the waste problem in the fashion industry.

While tackling consumerism may seem like an overwhelming or even impossible task, people like Joslyn West,  Lindsey Hansen, and Kristina Schagane continue to be a leading force in showcasing the possibilities of change. Their innovative approaches and dedication to sustainable fashion provide a blueprint for a more eco-friendly future in the industry. By supporting these local initiatives, we can all play a part in reducing waste and fostering a more sustainable fashion culture.


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