By Laura Madden
It’s no secret that fashion is among the most harmful industries in the world when it comes to waste and pollution. Ever-changing trends demand cheap and quickly made textiles meant to last only a few wears before being thrown out. The life cycle of “fast fashion” dominates landfills, poisons water supplies, and comes with countless occupational hazards.
Yet the responsibility of the fashion industry is not lost on all within the business. Many fashion designers are highly aware of their environmental impact. Three Arizona-based fashion designers are sharing their favorite ways to be just as eco-conscious at home as they are in their work. It is their hope that eco-consciousness becomes a trend that will change the fashion industry and improve the world.
LAURA TANZER is a Tucson-based fashion designer who has sustainability top-of-mind in both her work and home life. Her designs are produced using sustainable natural fabrics, and she makes great effort to reduce unnecessary textile waste from entering landfills by donating her scraps to local schools to be used in art projects. Her top tip for living a green lifestyle is “conscious consumption.” Laura shares that to consume consciously means taking the time to think about what we really want, saving our money to fulfill that desire, and then making purchases that matter versus buying stuff just to buy stuff. When we truly value each of our purchases, we tend to need less stuff. “Sustainability has substance,” said Tanzer. “It is simplicity itself. Essentially, it means do no harm and use only what you need.” Find her at lauratanzerdesigns.com.
MARISA MIKE is based in Northern Arizona on the Navajo Nation, where she hand produces each of her designs. She began her design career in 2016, the same year she was featured as an Emerging Designer during Phoenix Fashion Week. Marisa prioritizes using natural fibers that are made in the United States, such as Pendleton woolen blankets. Her top tip for living a green lifestyle at home is to utilize as many locally sourced materials and services as possible. She also advocates growing and raising your own food as much you can. Her family shares the responsibilities of raising their own flock of sheep, and when the rainfall allows, her family harvests from their own garden. Find her on Facebook @MarisaMikeDesigns.
RUBY FARIAS is a Scottsdale-based fashion designer who believes in the power of education to open people’s eyes to the extreme amount of waste in the world today, especially within the fashion industry. In her business life, Ruby is conscientious of the whole design process and is taking good measure to keep production within the U.S. and as close to home as possible. Her top tip for living a green lifestyle is to reduce unnecessary waste at home. She and her husband are sustainably focused at home, repurposing and reusing items when possible, and always recycling whatever they can however they can. Getting back to the importance of education, Ruby highly recommends the documentary “Blue” to gain an understanding of what is really going on (environmentally) in the world today. Find her at rubyfariasdesigns.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
These are just three of the highly talented local designers that reside in our fine state and are taking sustainability to heart. When we get to know the face (and hands) behind the brand, we have another reason to go out and support that local business. Our fashion choices make an impact. We have a responsibility to get to know local brands, vote with our dollars, and support a more sustainable fashion industry for the health of our planet.
Laura Madden is a fashion advocate, model, and creator of Laura Madden Lifestyle, a lifestyle brand and blog that inspires a life of style, sustainability and self- esteem. Visit laura-madden.com and follow her on Instagram @lmlifestylist for sustainable shopping tips and her sustainable fashion finds.