Today we are going to talk about Ethical Fashion, and I’m super excited because this is our first time having a guest writer on the blog! This is a subject I’m super passionate about, and I want to help educate and offer ideas on how we can be mindful of our clothing consumption. The following article was written by Michael Stace. Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below!
Ethical fashion — what is it and why does it matter? And does it mean only buying super expensive, specialist items?
Actually, no. Conscious clothing is becoming increasingly accessible these days and what’s more, shopping this way is not only good for the planet, it can also save you cash as well (which means more money to spend on looking stylish).
The fact is that shopping mindfully is becoming more and more crucial. That’s because fashion is actually the third highest polluting industry on Earth, plus many clothes are packed with unhealthy chemicals. Not only this, but fashion is responsible for a lot of modern slavery. Shocking but true.
So if you want to be a true change maker, then here are six of my favourite smart girl tips for creating an affordable yet ethical wardrobe:
Tip 1: Fall in love with vintage and charity shops
The more that we buy pre-loved clothing, the less fashion waste there will be. After all, why should that terrific outfit end up in a landfill site when it could be hanging in your wardrobe? Plus the great thing about buying vintage or secondhand items is that you know no one else will be wearing the same thing. You get to create a totally unique look, without the horror of going to a party and seeing someone else in (gasp) exactly the same dress. Vintage clothing also gives you a chance to experiment with styles from totally different eras — so you can try out a modish ’60s look, a boho ’70s one, or a super snazzy ’80s ones. And while vintage clothing doesn’t always come cheap, charity shop stuff does and also means that you are helping a good cause while boosting your wardrobe.
Tip 2: Shop for natural and organic fabrics
A lot of contemporary fashion is crammed with chemicals – in fact, around 2000 different ones have made their way into our clothes. But even scarier than that, only 16 of those are actually approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. So why not shop around for organic or natural fabrics like wool, cotton, cashmere, silk, angora, jute, flax and hemp? This way, you won’t be spending every single day wearing clothes that are laced with potentially unsafe chemicals.
Tip 3: Look out for brands with an ethical philosophy
Sometimes, when it comes to clothes shopping, you have to vote with your wallet. In other words, support those labels that are trying to make a difference. Various big fashion brands are leading the way in ethical practices, for instance, ASOS launched a corporate responsibility programme in 2008 to tackle various issues, shortly followed by Fashion With Integrity just two years later in 2010. So why not aim to choose your brands with care?
Tip 4: Shop more mindfully
We’ve all done it — you go into a shop, spot that there’s a sale on, buy something cheap, take it home… and never once wear it. Worse still, if you throw it away, it will end up in a landfill site. So to save both your bank account and the planet, why not aim to adopt more mindful shopping practices? This includes only buying stuff that you love; that properly fits and flatters you, and that you think you will realistically wear. So before you make your next purchase, ask yourself ‘Do I really genuinely need this?’ After all, there are only so many cool black blazers that a girl can own (well, maybe).
Tip 5: Buy vegan clothing
And no, you don’t have to be a full-time vegan to do this. Just in the same way that some people are occasional plant-based dieters (but not rigid about it), you can make occasional vegan clothing choices without having to commit to a totally new lifestyle. For instance, imitation leather is much cheaper than the real thing, and it’s kinder to cows too. Basically, a win-win for all.
Tip 6: Don’t hold onto clothes that you don’t wear
Did you know that studies have shown that we only wear about a third of our clothes? This is a real waste, as that old skirt that’s a total ‘blah’ to you might be a ‘yay’ to someone else. So why not sell your unwanted clothes on eBay, or even hold a garage sale? This will have the benefit of getting more great clothes circulating through the pre-loved market, plus it will make you a bit of extra cash a well.
Hopefully, these six tips have inspired you to make more ethical shopping choices. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day — just start by committing to making small changes at first. If we all do the same thing, then we can shift the fashion industry into something that’s a lot more sustainable and safer for the planet. Plus don’t forget that ethical shopping can save you dollars as well, meaning that you can treat yourself to that brand new purse after all.
Hope you enjoyed this article! Be sure to follow me on Instagram at @courtneylivin to see photos from around the world, and to learn more simple ways we can help save our earth. 🙂