Ethical is Very En Vogue | Unpacking Sustainable Fashion
Sustainable fashion isn’t just one thing.
It’s not just a 100% organic, fairtrade dress. It’s a way of being more conscious of the clothes in your wardrobe, shopping selectively and choosing to be more slow in your fashion choices while being aware of the environment. The choices we make about the clothes we wear have an impact on the world, not just our personal style.
Every year, around 80 billion garments are produced globally. Yet, when we go to purchase these items on the high street we aren’t aware of where they are made, the conditions of the factories, and the materials used. It’s more critical than ever to think about how we consume fashion. The fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters, second only to oil. From the assembly line, to the high street, to our shopping bags, how we wash, dry and dispose of fast fashion trends emits Carbon dioxide adding to the damage of climate change.
I love clothes, it’s incredible how one can express themselves through a few threads and materials in different shapes and sizes. But I can’t continue down the fast fashion rabbit hole knowing the greater consequences. This leaves us with some food for thought – how can we dress in the way we like and not contribute to the true cost of fast fashion?
You might think, as an individual, what is the point of changing your habits when collectively, society as a whole turns a blind eye. But we can’t overlook the issue any longer while we continue to fill our wardrobes to the brim with poorly made, disposable clothes.
Interestingly, in 2018, it is becoming increasingly fashionable to be ethical. The more people who consume mindfully, the more businesses will change their habits to give into our ethical demands. We have the spending power.
If every single fashionista decided to buy more sustainably, the likes of H&M and Penneys would be more transparent and ethical. It’s not as easy as going and chucking out every playsuit from Topshop and T-shirt from New Look in the bin (please don’t do that, and if you do, make sure you recycle!). Instead, focus on every day decisions and how you can be more sustainable when it comes to buying, taking care and disposing of your clothes.
At the end of the day, we all want to make a difference but struggle with how. Don’t fret, you can keep loving fashion and changing your wardrobe, you don’t have to quit fashion all together. There some simple ways to start.
- Head to your local charity shop instead of the high street. You’ll get a new outfit and contribute to a charity. You will discover the most beautiful, unique pieces when shopping second hand. I’ve bought some of the highest quality items I own from charity shops as it’s easy and cheaper to buy used clothes if you’re on a budget.
- Always read the label, start being aware of where your clothes were made and what materials were used.
- Watch the documentary, The True Cost. It’s on Netflix.
- Limit temptation, unsubscribe from online fashion brands emails. Unfollow them from social media. You won’t feel the urge to go on a spending spree when your online interaction with brands is limited. Your purse will thank you too.
- Buy less, and borrow more. Have a few friends over for a swap shop. Get them to bring dresses gathering dust in their wardrobes and swap with each other. Use what is already in circulation.
Just do whatever works for you to start your journey into sustainable fashion. Take a more intentional approach, limiting the effect your fashion choices have on the Earth and society. You’ll look good and do good all at the same time.