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Samra Michael: Preventing Waste

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Samra Michael, owner of Cross Dressin', got into fashion and decided to take the sustainable clothing route. (Marvin Gentry, For The Birmingham Times)
By Ameera Steward
For the Birmingham Times

Although Birmingham’s sustainable fashion community is made up of small businesses, they are collectively taking big strides to make a change.

Sustainable fashion is a movement centered on fostering a shift toward fashion products that prioritize ecological integrity and social justice; the term refers to clothing that is designed, manufactured, distributed, and used in ways that are environmentally friendly and socially conscious.

A big part of the sustainable fashion business model involves social media, which is the platform most of these local business owners use to educate their audience and customers about sustainable fashion, the effects of their fashion choices, and how they can make better choices.

Here’s how Samra Michael encourages sustainable fashion in the Magic City.

Michael started her business Cross Dressin’ on the depop.com platform (depop.com/xdressin) this year to give herself experience in styling and in running a business. Sustainability is just a subset of that.

“Sustainable fashion is kind of an oxymoron, in my opinion,” the 23-year-old said. “Really, the most sustainable thing to do would be to shut down all the factories and stop making clothes completely; just use threads we already have and all the materials that are like dead stock, [inventory that doesn’t sell and likely won’t be sold at a later date], and being dumped. … We should just be using all of these things to create new things.”

After doing her research, Michael found that it was hard for her to be part of an industry she believes can be wasteful and a polluter. For her to feel comfortable and feel like she could start a business, she had to go the sustainable route—and selling vintage and thrifted items was the way to go.

“I just hate capitalism, in general, so I don’t feel we should be creating more clothing,” she said. “We have enough to last us for the foreseeable future, and it’s kind of wasteful.”

Click one of the links below to read more about Birmingham’s sustainable fashion scene. 

Collin Balentine and Jordan Joiner: Helping the Environment

Glenda Norman: Re-Fashioning Scrap Into Jewelry

Lana Watkins: Creating a Dream Closet

Shaquala Courtland: Restoring Clothing…and Spirit

Kristyn Edwards: Raising Awareness

Lacey Woodruff: Thinking Long-Term

Lakeicia Shanta: Establishing a Sustainable Lifestyle

Clothing Designer Leslie Gomez Grew Up in Thrift Stores. Now, It’s Business.