One of my goals for this year was to only buy things I actually need, yes that means no ASOS parcels arriving at my door every few weeks for me to try everything on and to decide I hate it all, sending it back the following morning. My habit of buying new clothes for every single occasion or event started during my 3 years at uni; there is always a pressure to have an unseen outfit for each party you go to avoid being an “outfit repeater” to quote Lizzie McGuire. The thing is it’s so easy to spend hours on end trawling the internet for the perfect item and even easier for it to show up the next day at your house. It wasn’t until recently that I actually thought about how damaging this is to the environment (and my bank account).
Many of you will have heard of the term “fast fashion” but have you actually considered it’s impact? Me neither. The idea to share my thoughts on the topic were sparked by the recent story surrounding the Spice Girls. A Guardian story revealed workers making their tour t-shirts were reportedly being paid 35p an hour (source). Fast fashion allows us to readily access affordable clothes, most likely cheaply made by workers in third world countries, living in terrible conditions. Not only does it encourage people to buy clothes at hundreds of stores and online retailers but we are also able to throw away the items we’re not interested in, contributing to global warming and a pile-up of unwanted clothes that could be with people who actually need them.
“Overall, the fashion industry as a whole is contributing more to climate change than the aeronautical and shipping industries combined. If trends continue, the industry could account for a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2050.” – Sarah Butler, The Guardian
It’s scary to think that just buying an item of clothing can cause pollution and impact global warming, but fear not there are other solutions to enable you to update your collections without having to worry.
How to shop ethically
- Explore your local charity shops – challenge yourself and see if you can find an outfit in its entirety
- Use apps where you can buy second-hand clothing. Depop is very popular, you can find pretty much anything on there and you can sell your own items too
- eBay is your friend
- Swap clothes with your friends, it’s great to share outfits
- Recycle old/unwanted clothes at clothing banks or donate to charity shops/homeless shelters
- Support small businesses!
- Look for ethically labelling e.g. fairtrade, vegan society, organic
So far I’ve managed to only buy things I need this month, no buying new clothes each time I get paid – don’t do it! I actually find it quite fun exploring second hand items because it’s always a mystery to what you might find.
Until next time,