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    Clothes shopping is one of life’s greatest pleasures — but done wrong, it can also be one of the environment’s biggest threats.

    Churning out and distributing these items has its own detriments, from the overuse of water in cotton farming to the fossil fuels burned in shipping. But even after the clothes end up in your closet, it’s only a matter of time before they fall apart. According to Forbes, 12.8 million tons of clothing are sent to landfills in the US every year.

    “Fast fashion” dominates the industry, in the form of trendy but low-quality clothes, mass-produced and sold at cheap prices. And let’s be honest, we’ve all participated — it’s hard to resist a $15 shirt right off the rack.

    Thankfully, Philly fashionistas have a solution. These three small businesses opted out of the vicious fast fashion cycle and each offers a unique way to approach sustainable shopping. So if you’re looking for a new getup — sans guilt — check out one of these options near you.

    look great with these 3 Philly Guilt-Free Fashions


    Photo: Lobo Mau, Facebook

    Philly-based brand Lobo Mau is all about reducing its impact on the environment. Founder and designer Nicole Haddad sources all of her textiles locally, and ensures that her clothes are made with love and care, so they don’t end up in the trash in a matter of months.

    Lobo Mau clothes are a mix of athleisure and business casual — yes, that is possible. Haddad makes use of comfortable, sweatshirt-like material to create bold items that can be worn for work, play, and everything in between.

    The brand was launched in 2008 and is part of the Circle of Aunts and Uncles, an organization of small businesses that help make Philadelphia’s local economy equitable and sustainable.

    You can find Lobo Mau at its temporary summer home in Hudson, NY, before it heads back to Philly’s BOK Building (1901 S 9th St) in the fall — or check out the site.


    and we evolve

    And We Evolve, Facebook

    Shopping secondhand just got easier — and chicer. And We Evolve is Philly’s first online retailer and subscription box service for lightly-used and vintage clothing.

    Owners Liz Funk and Alisha Ebling are both passionate about the environment, and hope that using a convenience-oriented business model will encourage more women make to sustainable shopping choices. The subscription box, for example, delivers outfits to your doorstep every month, selected based on a personalized style questionnaire.

    The items are largely donated by friends, and range in size. Funk and Ebling carefully curate the collection to be high-quality and on-trend. The best part? Even the top brands are priced affordably.

    Browse their site to shop, order a box, or schedule a private session in their showroom. 

    WEAR RECYCLEd tops BY NRS boutique

    NRS Boutique philadelphia east passyunk

    At her South Philly boutique (1822 E Passyunk Ave), Nicole Rae Styer gives life to neglected clothes. She began embellishing and re-dying vintage slips during her days at University of the Arts, and after her graduation in 2005, her obsession only grew.

    When you drop in to N.R.S., you’ll find one-of-a-kind apparel and accessories, all made from vintage (aka recycled) textiles. She even offers kids’ clothes.

    But Styer is best known for her custom orders. Since the Eagles’ big season, her fun take on used sports apparel has taken over. If you bring in a boxy Eagle’s tee, she’ll cut and dye it into something brand new. She’ll also patch or alter a pair of jeans that would otherwise end up in the trash.

    Other than the joy of it, Styer lists sustainability as a big reason for her makeover approach. She even uses organic, eco-friendly dye.

    If you love what we do, you can support our mission with a one-time or monthly contribution:

    Brianna Baker

    About Brianna Baker

    Brianna is a senior journalism major Temple University. While studying abroad in Fall 2017, she interned at WHERE Rome magazine, and has also worked for Baltimore STYLE, QWERTY Philly, and student publications like Templar, The Temple News and 14th Street. In addition to writing, she loves re-watching her favorite sitcoms, going to concerts, and doing yoga (when she’s not feeling too lazy).

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