Hi there! Sustainability and slow fashion influencer here! Confession: I don’t shop exclusively ethically. I know, shocking right? A few months ago a penned a blog post titled “Why I’m ditching ethical fashion” that got a lot of support and positive feedback. You can read the full post for yourself but basically, the point is that in this consumer-driven world, it’s almost impossible to shop 100% ethically unless you have money to spare. But just because our closets aren’t entirely made up of ethical fashion doesn’t mean that our shopping choices can’t be ethical.
That being said, fast fashion (AKA the opposite of ethical fashion) is a huge problem. And we can make a difference by essentially “quitting” fast fashion and making better choices regarding our purchases. If you’re new to all of this, these tips can help you reduce your consumption and say (mostly) goodbye to fast fashion!
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How to quit fast fashion:
1. Consume less
This is always my number one tip when it comes to living a more sustainable life in every aspect. The less that we consume, the less waste we produce.
Fast fashion is cheap and allows us to easily and very quickly over consume. I mean why wouldn’t you buy 3 t-shirts for $25 instead of 1 t-shirt for $30? The problem is not only is fast fashion created in sweatshops by underpaid garment workers but they’re also made poorly and not designed to last.
So we can easily justify buying more and buying frequently because it’s so cheap. This is a nasty form of overconsumption. Do you need 3 t-shirts that will fall apart in a year or is your money better spent on a $30 or $40 t-shirt that will last upwards of 5-10 years?
Buying less trend-driven pieces and buying more quality pieces will help you to consume less and therefore, waste less. Even if you can’t always afford ethical pieces, you’re still shopping ethically by shopping “fast fashion” less frequently.
2. Start buying second hand
Thrifting is really trendy right now. Which is a good and bad thing. Thrifting helps create a closed-loop. Instead of used clothing heading to the landfill, they’re given a second life. The problem lies within overconsumption as well. With prices comparable to fast fashion it’s very easy to buy more than you need which also leads to lower-income people having fewer options and prices being raised.
That being said, you can thrift responsibly. Stick to purchasing what you need instead of just buying for the sake of buying. Thrift stores are gold mines with unique and vintage pieces just waiting to be worn and cared for. If ethical fashion is out of your price range, thrifting is a great way to still shop responsibly without supporting fast fashion.
3. Take care of your clothes
A big reason why we have so much waste is that we treat things like they’re disposable. Remember: waste isn’t waste until you waste it. That goes for anything! Growing up my parents always reusable plastic Ziploc bags until they fell apart. This is an item that is designed to be single-use but if you care for it and treat it gently, it can last multiple uses.
The same goes for our clothes. Just because we own fast-fashion pieces that weren’t designed to last doesn’t mean they can’t last with proper care. We need to shift our mindset from seeing clothing pieces as fads that can easily and cheaply be replaced to seeing them as valuable pieces to treasure for a long time. Trends come and go but the clothing remains.
Easy ways to care for your clothing include washing them less, learning to mend rips and holes, and hanging them up instead of tossing them on the floor.
4. Start supporting local, small and ethical brands
When you’re ready to start investing in better quality pieces, I can’t recommend it enough. Our shopping choices hold a lot of power and let brands know what we are and aren’t willing to pay for. We can show them that we don’t support child labour or unsustainable practices and that our money will only be going to brands that care for people and the planet.
Here are some of my favourite (and affordable) ethical fashion brands:
- Pact apparel – Prices range from $23 -$150 and their collection includes everything from underwear and bras to t-shirts, dresses, jumpsuits and more!
- Kotn – Prices range from $25 – $150 and they have a massive range of basic and lounge pieces and even a home wears section!
- Azura Bay – $22 – $90 a curated shop filled with many well known ethical brands, their collection includes underwear, lingerie, and basic pieces!
- Passion Lillie – Prices range from $28 – $114 with so many beautiful clothing options to choose from including dresses, skirts, tops, sweaters and more!
- Eco Vibe style – Prices ranging from $28 – $100 offering adorable dresses, tops, bottoms and an impressive array of accessories and jewelry!
I hope this post encourages you to reduce your fast fashion consumption. And that it doesn’t have to be expensive or cost anything to make a difference! Shifting our mindset, consuming less, and voting with our dollar are all very easy ways to make a big impact. Never underestimate the power you have as a consumer.
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