Follow our top tips on consuming sustainable fashion, from choosing vegan dresses to living with less
From food to luxury goods, online shopping and making purchases are part of our everyday life and something we would find near on impossible to avoid completely. The secret to shopping sustainably is to avoid mindless consumption (aka buying products we do not need) and making worthwhile purchases. It is easy when you know how, but it can take some practice getting used to.
Interestingly, reports have shown that since the pandemic began, positive changes in consumer’s sustainability habits have sped up. What would have likely taken years, happened within a matter of weeks. For instance, Accenture reported that consumers are shopping more health-consciously and that “45% of consumers said they’re making more sustainable choices when shopping and will likely continue to do so”. Covid-19 opened up new directions for brands, pushing them to consider their environmental relationships and make technological advancements.
People are increasingly becoming more aware of the impact they can have, for instance as IBM states, “57% of consumers are willing to change their purchasing habits to help reduce negative environmental impact”. And this is becoming easier, since the number of ethical products available is on the rise. This lifestyle change to sustainable fashion is key to helping avert the environmental crisis we are facing, so we wanted to bring you some tips on how to alter the way you consume.
1. Shop with minimalism in mind
There is no denying we all love to wander around the shops, seeing which items catch our eye. We will often fall in love with a new fashion item, only to come home and realize we already own an almost identical piece, maybe it is slightly different in its cut or the shade of color, but it is basically the same. Considering the item probably appeals to us because it is familiar is not so surprising, but this is a real problem for the environment. The truth is we do not need this item, and rather we just want it. This is where minimalism comes in.
Have you ever sat down and looked through your closet, grouped all the similar items together, and thought about what your wardrobe does not have, and about what you essentially need? This is a great starting point to open your mind to shopping more consciously since it will make you think twice before making another ‘want’ purchase. To help you out, here are some all-important ‘need questions’ to follow:
Necessary – is it different from anything you already own?
Purposeful – can you think of countless occasions you will wear it?
Simple – is it versatile enough to survive more than a few seasons in the fashion world?
With the average adult American throwing away more than 68 pounds of clothing every year, the likelihood is we could do without many of our purchases, saving more money and time for buying things that make a difference. Minimalism could change your life for the better.
" the average adult American throws away more than 68 pounds of clothing every year"
2. Set a budget and stick to it
With the revelations of technology allowing us to pay for items without ever physically holding our money, it’s easier to turn a blind eye and disconnect with how much you are spending. Today, we want you to make use of this technology, by looking back and working out how much money you have spent on average recently on clothes, shoes, and accessories.
Add together all your wardrobe purchase costs for the last 3 months. Divide the figure by 3 to find out your monthly average. Pre-warning: you might be surprised by the amount!
Compare this amount to your ins and outgoings, to figure out how much you would like to be spending per month, and what you can afford.
Remember not to lower your budget too much, since well-made sustainable clothes are not as cheap as fast fashion for a reason. Being too hard on your budget and turning to unethical consumption would achieve the opposite of conscious shopping. Being realistic is essential for success
3. Avoid fast fashion and invest in sustainable brands
Fast fashion is one of the planets biggest problems since the textiles industry is predicted to be responsible for 26% of the Carbon budget by 2050, a tremendous increase from 2% in 2015. There has never been a better time to give up an unsustainable wardrobe and invest in brands that care. You may think you are getting a bargain for your money with cheap clothing, but when you think about the process of making a garment, from extracting the material elements, to the design, the manufacturing, transportation, and advertising, you can see how cheaply made items have consequences. Within our society, this seems to have often been swept under the carpet and ignored, but you do not have to do this anymore.
On a final note, don’t forget about making the most out of the clothes and shoes you already have. If something seems broken, consider whether it is possible to clean up or repair the item instead of throwing it away. Check out our Clothing Care Guide to find out how to look after and extend the life of your clothing.
Every little change really does help, and the environment will be forever thankful.
Author: Madeline Bird