How to Shop Sustainably

As the saying goes one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and when I say man I mean everybody and by trash I mean “In the UK WRAP estimates that £140 million worth of clothing goes to landfill every year”.

Fashion is big business in the UK. According to this report from the UK Parliament published this year we buy more clothes per person in the UK than any other country in Europe.

The UN says that by 2050 the equivalent of almost three planets could be required to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles given the growth in global population.

I am not here to demonise fashion or fast fashion. The industry employs nearly a million people in the UK and contributes nearly 21 billion to the UK economy, according to The British Fashion Council report found here. Fast fashion according to Dr Sumner of Leeds University School of Design “has allowed all segments of society, irrespective of class, income or background to engage in the hedonistic and psychogenic pleasures of fashion. At no other time in human history has fashion been so accessible to so many people across our society. This is the power of fast fashion”.

I think in the world we live in today it is easy to be opinionated and create huge backlashes against companies but you do have to look at both sides. Everything we do has an impact on the planet even if you think you are being your most sustainable self.

The featured image is my wardrobe. I am starting my fashion with integrity journey and this is my pledge.

However if you did want to be more sustainable in fashion how can you do it?

Mindset & the Media:

I think it would be naive to say that going from buying or browsing clothes to stopping all together is easy. We live in a consumer environment.

So next time you are out shopping or browsing the internet, question yourself on whether you need to buy something new. Do you have something you could wear again? A few years ago I would have always bought a new dress for a wedding, even if two weddings were totally unrelated and none of the same people would be there I would feel like I had to wear something new. This year however I am not, I am wearing a beautiful jumpsuit from Monsoon that I have worn for a wedding before. Could you borrow something from a friend? I am doing exactly this and not buying a pair of heels to match a jumpsuit I have worn once!

Last week I posted about unfollowing loads of brands that I either thought weren’t aligned to my ethos or I just wanted to see less of as I know I won’t buy from there and in all honestly it’s out of sight and out of mind. This means less products are thrown in your face whilst scrolling and now I see more on my feed that I actually care about.

Perhaps buy less magazines if you are a magazine junkie (it saves paper for starters). Magazines come out week on week with clothes that often I feel aren’t affordable. You do not need that dress or bag and the pressure of constantly needing new things is too much and unfortunately I think the joy of a new item is sadly short lived.

Shopping:

Charity Shops – What could be better than getting a new addition to your wardrobe whilst raising money for charity and don’t forget to giftaid too if you can. Charity shop rummaging can be a game of patience but you never know what you are going to find. I think go with a mindset that finding something is a bonus not a guarantee as I don’t want you to be disappointed.

eBay & Depop – Less patience needed if you know what you are looking for as you can just use the search option but you may be scrolling for a while. I have had some amazing finds on eBay and sold lots of things too. I am much newer to Depop but I have heard great things.

Car boot sales – Good for more than just clothes, and can be a fun morning out. Items in a car boot are usually pretty cheap too and not waiting for an item to be delivered but you may have a face to face barter. A friend and I have done a few car boots in Princess May School in Stoke Newington and I would definitely recommend it. There are loads of car boots but get there early if you want to get the good finds!

Wardrobe Swaps – you don’t always have to buy something to be wearing something new. Why don’t you message your friends and see if people want to swap clothes. Or organise an evening with friends or even colleagues to swap items. This is exactly what I have done this week!

I will be writing another post on what to do with old clothes in a couple of weeks so look out for that. I hope this was useful and made you think different if only for a minute about how you shop!

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