The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry on earth, topped only by oil, and it’s up to all of us to make a change in how we shop. Every time we buy something we are casting a vote with our money; so, let’s vote for a more sustainable future. Whether you’re a seasoned shopper, or are just beginning your journey to becoming more sustainable, here are the six things you need to know:
It’s not necessarily more expensive
There’s a pervasive myth that shopping sustainably must be more expensive- this is not necessarily the case. Some of the options are certainly pricier, but even then, there are frequent sales that make shopping in an eco- friendly way very affordable. You don’t necessarily need to buy new clothes all the time, there are lots of options for buying vintage clothes, hand- me- downs and wardrobe shares. Buying from a charity shop is much cheaper than buying from the high street, so price is no excuse for choosing to buy from unethical companies.
There are multiple options
Shopping sustainably doesn’t have to mean buying from eco- fashion brands; it could mean shopping in charity shops or simply taking the time to share more with friends instead. If you know someone who is roughly the same size as you, then why not wardrobe share now and again? It’s great to help style someone else and will only bring you closer together. If there’s not someone you’d feel comfortable sharing with, then there are loads of other options to consider: from Etsy to shopping vintage, and apps like Vinted to chairity shops. Clothing swaps are increasingly popular, so have a look to see if there’s any in your area, or companies like The Nu Wardrobe, are even moving the process online for you. In short, it’s never been easier to swap, share and shop sustainably.
A lot of eco brands are online
A lot of clothing companies paying fair wages across the supply chain and/ or using sustainable fabrics, don’t have shops you can go to, and try things on. It’s mainly online stores at the moment, which means that the same risks apply when ordering anything online. There are several reasons for this; one of the main ones is that not enough people are investing in sustainable choices, it is more expensive to run things ethically and business owners can’t afford to run a shop. The only way this will change, is by people shifting their shopping patterns. Whilst, there is a risk to shopping online (it may not fit quite as you imagined, for example), there are things you can do to mitigate that risk. Most places have a good return policy, shops are open to you emailing and asking for more details first. and once you’ve found shops you can trust, then you’re set.
You’ll really have to hunt for men’s clothes
There are far more sustainable shopping choices for women than men; although this is true for much of the fashion industry at large. There are very few eco- companies that cater exclusively to men, but there are some that cater to both men and women. A personal favourite is Komodo, it’s a colourful range and they offer some lovely pieces in the men’s line.
It’s much more creative
Shopping sustainably is way more creative, whichever way you choose to take it. If you’re shopping second hand, then you can have hours of fun putting together pieces in new ways to suit your personal sense of style. If you decide to buy new things then you’ll have to think much more creatively about how you’re going to bring your whole wardrobe together and ensure you’re covered, both for the staples and the party pieces.
You’ll never have nothing to wear again
When you cut down on what you’re buying, and focus on sustainable pieces that are designed to last, then you’ll begin to form what’s known as a capsule wardrobe. Having a capsule wardrobe is much better for the environment, but also helps you focus in on your personal sense of style. By going back to basics you’ll be forced to confront the difference between what you really need, and what you simply want. Ultimately, you’ll end up with a wardrobe you love, rather than 100s of pieces that you simply think are ok. Every time you go to your wardrobe you’ll be confident making your selection, knowing that you will not only be looking good, but doing good for the environment as well.