January 19, 2017 by Jeanelly Concepcion
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As awareness towards the practices of the fashion industry spreads, so does the need for eco-friendly, ethical fashion in San Antonio. During the previous year, we were able to highlight a handful of local businesses that cater to this need or have executed events that create the awareness towards environmentally sound practices. It’s not just the fashion industry, but also the beauty industry that has shared this struggle. San Antonio currently ranks at 62 out of 100 large cities in the U.S. in green practices, according to Wallet Hub. Some people in the city are trying to change that.
When it comes to the fashion industry, we are no strangers to “fast fashion”, a topic that has been subject to controversy over the last few years; not only due to the inhumane conditions of the workers uncovered by several reports, but also the impact it has on the environment. While researching this topic, searching for certified vegan designers and manufacturers in San Antonio, I found that there wasn’t a niche or it was still in development. I asked myself, “What is holding us back from diving into this market?”. There is certainly a need, but the reality is that the production is slow, costly and not enough people are aware of the benefits. As an environmentalist, I find that we absolutely need this in our lives. I love fashion, but I also want to protect the environment. So, what do I do? First, I started stepping away from purchasing these fast fashion items at big box stores. I’ve always loved going head first at a vintage shop! I also started getting into websites that promote flipping your lightly worn clothes, or pre-loved items. We featured Socorro Society, a vintage/upcycled fashion brand in San Antonio and we’re obsessed! Next, I started to discover Fair Trade Fashion.
I honestly thought of chocolates and coffee when I heard of Fair Trade for the first time, until I was invited to participate in a Twitter chat with Village Artisan (currently sold in the Blooms section at your local H.E.B.) about the topic. I looked into it before the chat, and was so delightfully surprised to learn that it extends to fashion and other goods! Fair Trade Certified™ products were made with respect to people and planet. Their rigorous social, environmental and economic standards work to promote safe, healthy working conditions, protect the environment, enable transparency, and empower communities to build strong, thriving businesses. That’s when I began my search and stumbled upon Huipil Market, whom I interviewed in the Spring of 2016.
Last year, we also had the opportunity to attend the K. Charles Earth Day Fashion Show, in which several of the salon’s stylists were given the task of designing pieces made from recycled or reused materials and featured Project Runway All-Star designer, Anthony Ryan Auld of The Anthill debuting his eco-friendly designs. It was truly a creative and wonderful way to bringing awareness to eco-friendly fashion.
There is no doubt that San Antonio wants more! We can’t wait to see more designers and curators bringing in environmentally responsible fashion including vegan leathers, shoes, accessories and technology. We hope to see this in the near future as more and more people are becoming conscious of the social and environmental effects of the fashion and beauty industry.