I really want to shop in a more ethical way, but all eco-conscious brands are so expensive! And their styles are so boring. Why does everything only come in white or brown?!
Does this sound familiar? If you love fashion as much as I do, you’ve probably been battling with your love of clothes and shoes and the guilt of buying fast fashion pieces that will fall apart in a few months. You’d love to buy only from ethical fashion brands that don’t exploit their workers and don’t engage in bad business practices but you don’t own a bank account the size of a Kardashian.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t do your part. Investing in ethical fashion brands is just one of the many things you can do to become a more eco-conscious consumer. Every decision you make about your wardrobe, from what pieces to buy to how you wash them, matters. Here are 5 easy things you can do today to become a more eco-conscious consumer without breaking the bank:
This is SO hard. If you’re anything like me, the beautiful dresses and cute skirts you see on your fave blogs follow you around the internet relentlessly until you give up and click the buy button (thanks, ad retargeting!). Before you know you’ve bough 70 new pieces of clothing (I’m not kidding, that’s the average amount a person buys each year!). And then you still have nothing to wear! Walking out of that shop without buying that cute pink leather jacket on sale may not be fun but if you’re not gonna wear it much, there’s not point in bringing it home with you anyway. When you think your purchases through instead than buying on impulse, you become a smarter shopper. You end up with a better wardrobe, a more refined style and… you always have something chic to wear!
I still buy a trendy piece from Asos or H&M every now and then but these days I prefer to invest a little more in high-quality pieces that I know won’t fall apart after a few washes. These pieces last longer, look nicer and fit better, which, in turn, makes me look better and feel more confident. Next time you go shopping, make sure the seams are neat and strong. Go for natural fabrics whenever possible. Check the item isn’t already falling apart. Buy only clothes that are meant to last a lifetime… and that you want to wear for that long!
Buy Only things you love
How often do you buy something just because it’s on sale or the price is very cheap? You don’t know if it’s something you’ll wear often or goes with what’s already in your wardrobe, but the price is cheap enough so you add it to your basket anyway. Or maybe you’re having a bad day and that pair of shoes looks just like what you need to put a smile on your face… only to realise when you get home they hurt your feet too much. A good rule of thumb is to buy only what you absolutely love. These days, I rarely buy on impulse. If I see an item I like, I go home and sleep on it. If a week later I can’t stop thinking about it, then I go back and buy it. Every time I do this, I end up with an item I love to bits and wear many, many times.
Wash your clothes less often
I didn’t think twice about throwing my clothes into the washing machine. Isn’t that what it’s for? But washing your clothes too often has a huge impact on the environment. Did you know, for example, that 60% of the carbon dioxide emissions of a pair of jeans happen when they’re being worn? I’m not saying you should avoid using the washing machine, but be more mindful of its use. These days, I wash my clothes only when they are either dirty or smelly and, weather permitting, I line dry them instead than tossing them into the drier. Not only it’s good for the environment, but it makes my clothes last longer. Each laundry cycle takes a huge toll on the fibre of clothes – they appreciate a rest, too!
“Buy less, choose well and make it last” – Vivienne Westwood
Don’t thrash, repair it
In this Primark-esque era when you can get a whole new wardrobe with less than £100, it’s easier to throw away clothes when they become damaged than repair them. But that’s a huge waste – and downright painful if you loved that nice pair of jeans. Not all kinds of damages can be fixed, but if the fault is minor – a lost button on a blouse or a broken zipper on your jacket – it’s worth it to have it fixed. If you’re not skilled with the needle (I SO ain’t), you can ask your mum or take it to a seamstress. You’ll save an item you love and the planet you live in. Win win.
Over to you, now. What do you do to be a more eco-conscious consumer? Share your tips in the comments below.