“Giorgia, you’ve become so…. POSH,” a friend complained while we were out shopping the other day. “You rarely buy anything here at Primark anymore.”
It’s true. These days I set foot into Primark only when friends drag me there. But it’s not because I’m posh. It’s because I’m tired of buying an entire new wardrobe every six months. Nothing I ever bought in Primark lasted me more than a year.
It’s not a matter of money either. You could argue that buying a new wardrobe at Primark every six months would still be way cheaper than buying a few quality pieces every few months.
But, I can’t do it anymore.
You vote with your wallet. And when you buy cheap clothes at Primark, you’re supporting waste, pollution, forced labour and all the other evils of fast fashion.
I know you don’t have a choice sometimes. When I was a broke teenager, it was easy to justify a shopping spree to Primark or an Asos haul. I couldn’t afford anything else and I could hardly walk around naked.
But now that I’m earning a bit more, I want to use my spending power to support ethical fashion habits. Habits, not brands. Because, as much as I’d like to buy from ethical brands only, the cost can really be prohibitive. Plus, I adore fashion and ethical brands don’t always have the trendy styles or bright colours I dig. 🙂
So if you’re still buying fashion fashion because you think that supporting ethical brands is the only way to create an ethical wardrobe, I’ve got good news for you. There are so many other things you can do to reduce the negative impact fast fashion has on workers and the planet while still looking stylish on a budget. Here are 5 ways to build a more ethical wardrobe:
Take care of what you already have
The first tip is simple: take care of what you already have. Wash your clothes only when they are dirty/smelly. Handwash wool and other delicate items. Repair a broken seam. Replace buttons. Store everything neatly in your closet. Don’t let clothes sit on a pile in the floor for days. If you take good care of your clothes, they’ll last you a lot longer. You won’t need to replace your clothes as often. You’ll buy less clothes overall.
This may surprise you but I still buy at Asos or Zara sometimes. I just scrutinise the item a lot more closely now. Is the fabric durable? Are the buttons loose? Are the seams falling apart already? It’s not the brand that matters. It’s the quality of the piece. If it uses high quality materials, everything properly’s stitched and it doesn’t look like it’d fall apart after a couple of washes (so much of the stuff at Primark does 🙁 ), go ahead and buy it. Buying one or two high-quality pieces that’ll last the test of time is much more eco-friendly than buying a lot of low quality stuff – even if you get them from Asos.
When I was younger, I’d buy all sort of stuff because it was on sale. So what if that sweater was a little too large or those pair of jeans didn’t fit perfectly? They were cheap. But… I never worn them. I felt so ugly and uncomfortable in them, I relegated them to the bottom of my closet. And then, every time I had to go out, I complained I had nothing to wear. Duh!
Now that I’ve learned my lesson, I’m way more selective. If something doesn’t fit properly or has a little detail – a bow that’s too big or buttons in an unflattering area – I don’t bother. I buy fewer pieces but I’m 100% in love with each and every one of them. The best part? Now I ALWAYS have something to wear.
Support ethical brands
I had to sneak this one in here. Buying from ethical brands isn’t the only way to build an ethical closet but it’s something you should definitely consider if you can afford it. Sign up to your fave ethical brand’s newsletters to be the first to know when they have a sale. You’ll be able to snap up beautiful pieces that make you look and feel amazing, support ethical working practices and save the planet without spending a fortune. I’m featuring my fave pieces from ethical brands in the widget below. 🙂
I can’t tell you how many great bargains I’ve snapped up on Ebay. A lot of the pieces on there are brand new or have been barely worn so they’re still in an amazing condition, yet they cost only a fraction of what you’d pay in store. If you’re into more luxury items, Vestiaire Collective is a good website to check out.
If you prefer to do your shopping in person, check out charity shops or vintage stores. It’s time consuming but totally worth it. You can find some real gems and truly unique pieces there. Just imagine – if it weren’t for you, those beautiful pair of boots or cool vintage dresses would become landfill! What a waste!
Over to you, now. What are your tips for building a more ethical wardrobe? Share them in the comments below.