On my last post, I discussed a general idea of what ‘Fast Fashion’ is and why we need to help transform the fashion industry to adopt more sustainable practices. Here are some ways to be more environmentally-friendly when you make your next buy!
As the saying goes, ‘it takes two to tango’. It’s easy to simply pass the blame onto the fashion industry; however, as consumers, we do share an equal responsibility in making better fashion choices. Our excessive consumerism is killing the planet. Our future really doesn’t have to end up this way. I mean, it makes sense, right? We stop over-buying, brands stop over-producing. Now, I understand that it’s hard to simply stop buying from our favourite stores as over time, we’ve adapted to their styles and their price ranges.
Fortunately, there are some ways to make better sustainable fashion choices – and yes, remain stylish and trendy too. It’s important to be vary of brands that actually engage in sustainable practices versus those that simply use greenwashing methods that fool consumers into believing that they are sustainable in their approach.
So, what are some things you can do?
- Shop Smarter
This might be one of the more obvious steps but a crucial one. Rather than buying cheap material that’ll only last a few washes – invest in better quality items that will be more durable. We’ve all heard it. Quality over Quantity. Now’s the time to apply it. Buying better quality material is not only good for the environment, but it’ll cut costs for you in the long run. So a win-win! I recently came across the #30wears campaign by Livia Firth (Founder of Eco Age). Her simple philosophy is: Will I wear it a minimum of 30 wears? Yes – buy. Most of the time, our answer is no.
- Be conscious
This is something I need to be more of. In college, I started engaging in – what seemed like innocent – retail therapy. While it felt good in the moment, it not only hurt my wallet but it also contributed to waste. As I was cleaning out my closet at the end of the year, I was shocked by how many clothes I had owned that went unworn. I’ve decided to adopt a more minimalistic approach – buy what’s needed and ‘re-style’ some old clothes. It might also be great to invest more trans-seasonal clothing – clothes that you can wear in more than one season.
- Shop Local
Shopping local has so many benefits. Not only will the manufacturing and supply chain reduce – you’ll know exactly where and how your time was made. Secondly, it’s great for the economy. It’s also great to support local sellers who are also contributing to sustainable fashionable practices. Moreover, if there are thrift stores in your town – don’t be afraid of purchasing second-hand garments. Going thrift shopping would mean no extra-production has occurred for your relatively ‘new’ piece of clothing. I understand thrift-shopping might not be for everyone – I personally haven’t tried it yet but I hope to – but it does play a huge role in reducing global carbon footprint. While you’re at it, enjoy those cheap prices too.
- Don’t throw
If you read my last article regarding fast fashion, there is a lot of waste involved in unworn or non-recycled clothes. According to Fast Company, 200 million pounds of clothes in NYC are tossed in the garbage each year. Clothes don’t just sit in landfills – they decompose and release toxic greenhouse gasses. A more obvious solution to just throwing your clothes would be donating. Donate any unwanted clothes to good causes : charities or thrift stores. There’s always someone who would be interested in purchasing or wearing your old items. If you find yourself buying more than you use, then you may need to adopt better spending habits!
- Treat your clothes well
It’s easy to adopt a mindset where old things are non-wearable anymore. Their quality deteriorates over time and it’s simply not ‘your style’ anymore – however, you can learn to take care of your clothes. Treat your clothes well. Don’t just shove them in a random cabinet or drop them on that chair in your room. I’m guilty of this, I’m sure we all have that ONE chair where the clothes pile up – but take time to hang stuff up and wash them with care. This may sound obvious but as a college student, I’m surprised to find out how many people don’t take care of their clothes. Taking care of your clothes will lead to a more durable outcome and you don’t need to replace them so often!
- Look for sustainable brands
Now, I understand most eco-friendly clothing are on the higher end in terms of pricing – but don’t get super cuddly with your cheap, fast fashion yet. Cheaper goods = Harsh working conditions that involve child labour (most cases). There are many sustainable brands that are very affordable. You can still get sustainable clothing for the same prices. An easy google-search will lead you to finding some new eco-friendly brands and clothes you will love!
Here’s a link to get you started.
And if you absolutely cannot let go of your favorite brand, up-cycle! Live by the 30 wears rule. Take better care of your clothes. Get creative and DIY if you have to. Try to live a more minimalistic fashion-lifestyle. Don’t throw your clothes away – recycle, donate or sell them if you have to.
Try to be more environmentally-conscious about your fashion choices. There’s tons of great sustainable fashion brands to support and check out!