Up until very recently I never gave a second thought to my relationship with ‘fast fashion.’ Shopping was just another fun activity – an opportunity to hang out with friends or have some good ol’ me time. When I got to uni, armed with a hefty student loan and no dress-code to stick to, I went wild with buying clothes. I needed casual clothes, comfy clothes, pub clothes, clubbing clothes, all the clothes, but half of the items I bought are things I barely remember buying, let alone wearing.
Like most people, I was a victim of fast fashion – fashion based on trends, churned out to fill a fleeting consumer need. These trends then quickly fall out of style and become irrelevant, so people have to keep on buying to keep up.
Fast fashion is cheap, so to keep a large profit margin their workers are not paid enough. As well as the ethical problems with sweat shops, keeping things cheap means cutting corners in terms of being environmentally friendly. The dyes used contain toxic chemicals, which is the second biggest cause of water pollution. And then on top of that! Fast fashion causes waste – a waste of fabric and a waste of energy used to produce the clothes in the first place.
I wrote off buying ethically because it is more expensive, but I’ve come to realise that buying more expensive items could be a good thing. As long as I’m choosing good quality brands, the clothes will last longer and should always look good. But I’m still on a budget, so I’ve decided to try and come up with some ways to make my buying habits a little more sustainable and ethical, but at my own pace.
Here are the rules I’m planning on following:
Keep to your style.
Over my uni years I think I’ve finally worked out what I like to wear. It’s gotta be comfortable, fairly basic and not too feminine. I try and work out an outfit in my head that works with what I’m trying on, and if I can’t think of anything immediately then it’s not for me. By keeping to what I know I will actually wear, I can avoid fast fashion trends and avoid buying stuff that won’t suit me.
Only buy stuff you need.
Before I move out of my beloved uni house, I’m going through all my clothes and giving everything away that I no longer wear. The full Marie Kondo. I’m taking it all out and I’m doing it piece by piece. Everything I choose to get rid of will be going to friends, the charity shop, or to stores which recycle clothes for you like Monki and TK Maxx. By making my wardrobe a little smaller, I can work out what I’m actually missing, so when I do feel that urge to shop I’m at least buying something that fills a gap.
Make a list before you shop.
This is just a good rule for life, but it’s really important if you’re looking to cut down on your fashion habits. If you’re in need of a new pair of trainers or some jeans, make a little note of it to keep you on the right track when you shop.
Check out your local charity shops.
I love charity shopping. It’s cheap, and you get to give to charity whilst purchasing clothes guilt free! By buying pre-loved clothes you aren’t giving any money to fast-fashion companies, and you can find really unique, vintage items.
There’s so much to say about this topic, but I hope you found this informative! If you have any tips for me, please let me know in the comments!