Conscious Consumption: How To Shop for Fashion Ethically

Fashion is in a constant state of ebb and flow, as styles come in and out of relevance and enthusiasts often move heaven and earth to get their hands on the latest style. However, this constant flux means that, when a new style takes prevalence, these old items are promptly disposed of.

Extrapolate this to millions of fashionistas seeking the latest style, and you have a whole lot of largely unnecessary waste that doesn’t do the planet any favors. Ethical choices in your shopping and consumption habits are the way forward for a more eco-conscious fashion world, and this post will explain how shoppers can easily switch over to this way of thinking.

Clothes rail

Image source: Unsplash

Long-lasting quality

Shopping less frequently for higher-quality items is a super simple swap you can make to improve the ethics and eco-friendliness of your ‘fashion footprint’. You’ve no doubt been seduced by a cheap deal on an item of clothing in the past, only to find out two washes later that the material is poor quality and it’s no longer wearable.

Shopping for brands with a bit of pedigree, selling products that won’t shrink or spoil in the wash, is an effective way to ensure you’re not supporting a throwaway fashion culture that harms the environment. Design fashion staples like Levi’s jeans and Timberland boots are based on a promise of long-lasting quality – so consider going for a big name that’ll last a lifetime, rather than working your way through low-quality replicas every six months or so.

Pick out pre-loved items

Hitting the thrift store jackpot is a brilliant feeling – and getting your hands on a great-looking item through nothing but your own determination, as a result of rummaging through a pile of pre-loved clothes, is not only beneficial financially but also good for the environment.

Vintage items in secondhand stores are often made from high-quality materials that will last you a long time, meaning you’re less reliant on the fashion trade for new garments. Of course, to support this eco-friendly enterprise, make sure to donate unworn or outgrown items to your local thrift store once you’re done with them – they could be vintage finds in a few decades’ time!

Make sure you can modify

Another side-effect of the worldwide ‘fast fashion’ industry is that consumers are far more likely to buy a replacement garment than they are to repair or patch an existing one. This is another driver of unsustainable production, and one that can be easily remedied.

Crack open your sewing kit and you’ll soon be a pro at patching up pants and adding embellishments to dull dresses. This’ll save you so much money in the long run, and you’ll gain the satisfaction of learning a new skill  – certainly a win-win in our eyes, as sometimes, knowing how to shop for fashion ethically means knowing when not to shop.

Be ethically conscious

Lots of eco-conscious brands have sprung up over the last few years, in a reaction to the fashion industry’s unsustainable practices. Seeking out companies such as this can be difficult, but do your research and you’ll soon find well-established brands that utilize natural materials like bamboo and hemp.

Materials aren’t the only aspect of an ethical brand worth considering, though. The wider fashion industry’s mistreatment of workers is well documented, with issues such as low pay, punishing hours and improper conditions regularly making headlines. Make sure you’re purchasing fair trade certified brands and avoiding companies that exploit cheap labor, and you’ll be well on your way to making sure your everyday look is eco-friendly and socially conscious.

pile of sewing thread spools

Image source: Unsplash

Finally, it’s important not to feel discouraged by the often dizzying world of unsustainable fashion. If you’re taking steps to reduce your own personal impact, remember that it does make a meaningful difference, however small it may seem.

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