Want To Buy Sustainable Fashion? Here’s A Guide On What To Look For

By Amy Jones

Sustainable fashion. This phrase is circulating in the newspapers and the internet more by the day, but there is not much context behind why sustainable fashion is of such importance. The pushiness of adopting this way of life is confusing to the point where they do not even want to bother with making a sustainable effort. We are here today however to give you some better insight as to how adopting sustainable fashion habits can benefit you just as much as it will benefit the planet.

While the term ‘sustainable fashion’ might seem obvious to some, we would not be giving the best insight without explaining what it means. Essentially, sustainable fashion is a way in which clothing companies create a conscious effort to reduce their environmental impact through their production, whilst giving the workers who create the garments fair and sustainable treatment.

This might be carried out by only using organic and recyclable materials, in addition to allowing their workers to operate in healthy environments with a living wage. Compared to the fast fashion counterparts that exploit both the environment and workers to produce masses of products, sustainable fashion is making huge positive impacts on all stakeholders involved.

The Impact Of Fast Fashion 

The environmental cost that fast fashion has is not only catastrophic, but it is also unrecoverable in many cases. For example, with the large masses of production comes an even larger amount of discarded clothes, which accumulates to 57% of all fast fashion clothing ending up in landfills. Landfills are extremely toxic for the environment and also for the lower economy civilizations who are forced to live in cohesion with these huge landfill sites.

Not only is the waste a huge negative impact, but also workers continue to be exploited and paid below minimum wage to maximize the profits for large organizations. It is important for individuals who are aware of what is happening to consider the real cost of their fast-fashion clothing and opt for better and more sustainable choices. 

Shop Quality Not Quantity 

First things first, if you are looking to take your first steps with shopping more sustainably is to consider shopping for quality items, instead of shopping for large quantities of items. This is extremely important for people to understand, as cheap low quality items can seem tempting at first for buying multiple pieces. These items are not designed for longevity therefore entice customers to return for more consumption when the items do not last. 

If we instead aim to purchase higher quality items that are made in better conditions with better materials, we can expect to reduce our consumption in the long term and avoid investing in fast fashion empires. This may seem unreasonable at first from a price perspective, but you have to keep the long-term in mind. Purchasing a £100 (approximately $121 USD) winter coat that will last you decades will be more valuable than a £30 (approximately $36 USD) jacket that will face wear and tear within two years.

Seek Out Second Hand

Second-hand fashion is a great way to update your wardrobe without buying into harmful fast fashion. Second-hand clothing is not as dreadful as it sounds, and in fact, you can find some extremely valuable products that have years of wear still in them. You can find some gems in marketplaces or charity shops, and also online marketplaces. Whilst you will be reducing the carbon footprint through buying second-hand and recycling, these clothes also come at a fraction of the price if you cannot invest in fewer expensive items just yet. By reducing your spending and limiting your consumption, you get the best of both worlds!

Watch Out For Green Washing

Unfortunately with the surge in importance on becoming more sustainable, fast fashion brands have even tried to profit from the movement even whilst causing so much harm to the environment. Greenwashing is essentially the misleading information that brands are giving to considers in which they are giving the impression that they are making a green effort, however, this is usually a lie. 

Fast fashion brands have started creating marketplaces for example for customers to buy and sell second-hand clothes from the brand, resulting in the responsibility being taken from the brand and placing it solely onto consumers. They continue to mass produce and exploit their workers and environments whilst keeping up this false idea that they have good and green intentions. Good sustainable brands will showcase their efforts and the results of their sustainable actions, instead of creating a false image of their greener effort. Do your research, and make sure the brands you are buying from are sustainable.

Invest In Organic 

Organic materials have started emerging for all fashion products and are now readily available for consumers in all categories. Organic materials might include pieces made from linen, cotton, hemp, bamboo linen, and many more materials that are quality without using harmful chemicals or processes to be made. If you are looking to take all possible measures toward making your fashion sustainable, seeking organic materials would be the best thing to do. Some of these materials come with a higher price tag which is important to keep in mind, but this is rightfully so due to the sustainable production process they go through for the best quality possible.

Shop Antique Accessories 

When it comes to fashion we can not forget the importance of accessories, and how the production of cheap accessories is just as harmful to the environment as fast fashion. If you are looking for great quality accessories that are just as eye-catching as newly produced pieces, you need to consider shopping for an antique.

There are so many antique jewelry items that are waiting for a new home and this can range from inexpensive silver necklaces to a vintage engagement ring if you are looking for a ring with history. Avoid falling into the facade that all jewelry must be bought brand new, and find the most unique and desirable pieces from antique stores.

Play Your Part 

Overall, there are many steps that we all can take to make our fashion consumption more sustainable. Do your research into the brands you are investing in, and keep sustainability at the forefront of your mind. Try not to overload yourself with these habits all at once, as it will take some time before your collection is completely green, but making a start is the best thing you can do.

Amy Jones is a freelance writer with a particular focus on sustainability and eco-friendly living. Whether you’re looking for a new meditation method or some facts on plastic pollution, she’s your girl! When not writing, Amy can be found heading to the gym or walking her dog.