THE ARRIVAL OF spring means a revival of spring trends, and with climate change being the highly contentious topic it is, sustainability is an increasingly relevant factor of fashion.

Sustainability as a whole has become a wildly popular trend, from the rise of farmers’ markets to the establishment of chic, hipster restaurants like Bamboo Sushi in Portland, Oregon, that boast 100% sustainability. There’s something refreshing about the idea of being healthy and living clean, and the popularity of these sustainable lifestyle choices proves that people like living “naturally.”

Fashion has responded to this rise in eco-consciousness with the advent of brands such as Reformation, which claims to be completely sustainable. The dresses are on trend, with plenty of off-whites and loose waistlines, like Coachella, but a little more conservative. They’re perfect for frolicking in a field on a warm summer day, or going to an avocado toast brunch with bottomless mimosas served in mason jars. Large-scale retailers such as Zara and Forever 21 focus on serving quick, cheap fashion, which produces huge amounts of waste; with scratchy velvet tank tops and plastic sneakers, they’re effectively destroying the planet. Reformation focuses on eliminating, or at least reducing, that waste, while delivering trendy pieces that appeal to a fashionable crowd. It’s cute, comfortable, and good for the planet.

Sustainability comes at a cost. But while it’s true that living exclusively sustainably perhaps isn’t totally realistic, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t all try to take steps to live greener lives. When it comes to having a positive ecological impact, every little thing counts; splurging on a cute dress once in a while is a good thing. And better to do it from brands such as Reformation to help the planet at the same time.

Of course, there is a catch. The truth is living the lifestyle of a free, nature-loving, fashion-forward hipster is expensive. It takes money to look breezy and effortless, to support local farmers by exclusively eating organic fruit. When it comes to brands such as Reformation, the aesthetic is bohemian, but the cost is bougie. Dresses retail for up to $200 apiece, which makes them inaccessible to most people. And while shopping at the farmers’ market is both a great way to both directly support local farmers and get fresh, organic foods, the truth is large-corporation grocery chains are both cheaper and more convenient.

By: Lisa Liu

Photography by: Ashley Watson and Yoojin Rhee

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