Student-run Instagram account encourages sustainable fashion in Evanston


Graphic by Yunkyo Kim

Clothes listed on @sustainableevanston’s Instagram page for followers to buy.

Katrina Pham, Assistant Copy Chief

SESP sophomore Lucia Shorr said she started thrifting and getting more interested in sustainable fashion in her sophomore year of high school, when she began to learn more about environmental activists like Greta Thunberg. 

So when the pandemic made it difficult to shop secondhand, Shorr said she wanted to start @sustainableevanston, an Instagram account for Northwestern students and Evanston residents to buy and sell used clothes online.

Through the account, Shorr said she wanted to provide a new option for Evanston residents to participate in sustainable fashion without taking away affordable clothing options from those who may need it more.

“It is predominantly good to share clothing within our community because then you’re not taking it from communities that may need more access to cheaper clothing,” Shorr said.

Shorr runs the account, but listings are submitted from various students at Northwestern. Anyone who is interested in selling, Shorr said, only needs to reach out to her and provide information about the item of clothing, as well as pictures Shorr can post for the listing. Buyers reach out directly to the seller on the page, and Shorr said she is not involved with the transactional process.

20% of the profits from each sale through the account are donated to Students Organizing for Labor Rights’ mutual aid initiative. Shorr said contributing to SOLR connects members of the community beyond physical transactions.

Shorr said she reached out to SESP sophomore and SOLR member Neva Legallet to set up the partnership. The money is donated based on an honor system where sellers Venmo part of the profits to the mutual aid fund.

Legallet said partnering with @sustainableevanston is just one of the many collaborations SOLR has between organizations on campus related to racial environmental justice, such as Fossil Free Northwestern. 

“A lot of our mission is informed by intersectional organizing that has to do with varying systems of oppression that interact in different ways,” Legallet said. “Environmental impacts, fast fashion and other big industries disproportionately affect people that are low income or minorities.”

SOLR’s focus on mutual aid, Legallet said, is integral to environmental sustainability.

Bienen sophomore Louis Milne sold clothes through the account and said he participates in sustainable fashion because he doesn’t want to contribute to companies that exploit workers.

“I just don’t like the fact that fast fashion is complicit in a lot of exploitation of a lot of groups of people around the globe,” Milne said.

Milne said taking the time to buy clothes that reflect his personality is rewarding. While buying clothes from Amazon and other retailers may be more convenient, finding clothes with character is more fulfilling, he said. 

Knowing that your clothes were meaningful to someone else, Milne said, is also comforting.

“It’s really nice to know that the clothes that you wear have been loved and cared for by someone else, even if the clothes are not being used by that person anymore,” Milne said. “You’re repurposing them and giving them a better home.”

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Twitter: @KatrinaPham_

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