Here are a few things you should know about me: I like shopping for clothes. I like saving money. And I believe in climate change (and I’m trying to do my own personal part in cutting back on my contribution to it)
Those three things are often at odds with each other. If you want to save money when buying clothes, you tend to buy cheaper products, which are often “fast fashion” items. Fashion in general has a massive impact on the planet, as the apparel industry is one of the biggest industrial polluters. Many fast fashion items are made from materials (usually plastics) that can release more pollutants into the water supply with each wash, or they just end up in a landfill when the pieces aren’t purchased or fall apart after a few wears, thanks to lackluster quality.
Since becoming more aware of the impact that the apparel industry has, I’ve tried to implement a few rules into my shopping habits:
1. Buy less
2. Buy better quality pieces that last longer
3. Choose natural fibers with a low eco-impact OR fibers produced sustainably OR fibers than can be recycled
4. Donate/recycle old clothes
5. Buy second-hand
In all, that mainly breaks down in the classic 3 R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle. I apply that to other aspects of my life, so I should apply it to fashion as well.
Of course, I’m not perfect! I sometimes shop at places like Forever 21 or Boohoo, stores that are known for fast fashion. Plus, I don’t make that much money, so I understand not being able to afford more environmentally friendly yet more expensive pieces. However, over the next few years, I really want to start investing in better quality clothing/accessories and reducing the amount that I buy.
Now, I’m a noted online shopper (another bad habit of mine) but I’ve started patronizing more environmentally conscious online-only stores. Sometimes it’s nice to not have to leave your own home to shop, you know? (Of course, the shipping process has its own environmental impact, but that’s a whole ‘nother story…)
If you’d like to know my current top sites & stores for sustainable fashion, read on!