Sustainability is one of the Raylee core values. While we love clothes and shoes and style and fashion and affordability, it is sustainability that makes what we do and what we offer so important. By creating opportunities for clothes to live more than one life and avoid the landfill when the original purchaser no longer desires them, we are offering sustainable shopping to our customers and community. We are creating a way for our customers to make a stand against the environmental impacts of the fashion industry by not buying new, but buying new-to-you. This is at the heart of all that we do.

 graphic from the ThredUp 2021 Resale Report

Did you know...?

  • The fashion industry is one of the largest polluters in the world, emitting more than 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year. This accounts for approximately 10% of total global carbon emissions annually. (1)
  • Every year, the fashion industry uses over 93 billion cubic meters of water, this is equivalent to over 24 trillion gallons of water annually for clothing production alone. (2)
  • It's estimated that nearly 90% of textiles - over 90 million tons - produced annually will end up in landfills or be incinerated.
  • Workers in the fast fashion industry, many of whom are impoverished women, are forced to work in dangerous conditions where they are exposed to harmful chemicals and may earn as little as 3 cents per garment in an 18 hour work day. (5)

Fast fashion tends to be popular due to the fact that it is ever-evolving and allows consumers to stay on top of the latest trends for a small fraction of the price of traditional retail. However, all of this consumerism comes at a steep price to the environment and workers around the globe. Many clothing manufacturers, particularly those in the fast fashion industry, rely on cheap labor overseas to meet their production demands. This subjects workers in countries with limited laws regarding workers' rights to unsafe, exploitative labor conditions and poverty wages. In many cases, these workers are women who are trapped in a cycle of violence and abuse, all in the name of consumerism. 

As consumers, the best thing we can do for the planet as it relates to fashion consumerism is to be mindful of the companies we are supporting and the amount of new items we are taking in. There are times when it is impossible to avoid purchasing brand new items, and some of the harmful effects from this can be mitigated by researching environmentally conscious companies with ethical labor practices, known as "slow fashion." Slow fashion items tend to be made from more durable and less environmentally detrimental materials than their fast fashion counterparts and have much longer life cycles. They are also produced in facilities that are safer for workers and pay livable wages, thus increasing their retail prices. Though it is significantly more ethical than shopping fast fashion, even when shopping with the most environmentally conscious companies, there is still a significant carbon footprint from producing a new textile. In reality, the only way to truly be an ethical consumer of fashion is to shop new-to-you second hand items.

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