If you’re like a lot of people out there, you are ready to throw fast fashion on the scrap heap or at least have an appetite to explore that further.
We saw a stat on @citizen_wolf [a fantastic Australian-made ethical t-shirt brand] that 1 in 5 people have now started shopping more ethically and sustainably since the pandemic began. This is fantastic news, and the beginning of a new, beautiful movement in fashion. That’s 1 in 5 people who have said no to the slave labour, destroying the environment and animal cruelty of fast fashion.
However, for real change to occur, we need to see more people making the transition. And, if we don’t, we have all seen the reports that detail the environmental devastation we are likely to see in as little as 10 years. So, yesterday was the best time to start making a shift in how we consume.
Of course, educating people about the issues that exist and how their clothes are really made is part of the solution. But, if we’re honest with ourselves, we know that most people already know about this.
As we see it, the next step is helping people to make that leap. Because for some of us we know it’s important we take this step, but we feel it’s a loss to us.
We do not want to discount those feelings. Fashion is deeply emotional. It’s a representation of ourselves. And, with every piece we shop, we satisfy a need within us. It becomes part of us. So, the brands and pieces we regularly shop become very personal to us.
There are many reasons people may continue with their same shopping habits (and there may be more, so please feel free to share with us!):
- They think that by buying less, but higher quality, they are still losing. Our brain loves to equate quantity with more, and better. Fast fashion brands play on this. The truth is, you’re only gaining by buying less, but better quality.
- They think it’s unaffordable. Fast fashion has trained us that clothes need to be frequently replaced at high volumes. The truth is, if they are fast fashion, they do need to be replaced. However, if you are buying true quality pieces, they will last. You will not need to consume at the same rate and they will go further for you – this will actually save you money.
- They don’t know where to start. It seems overwhelming and hard. We will help you with this.
- Shopping fast fashion is convenient. Trust us when we say, only in this very moment right here. Only at the point of purchase. It’s inconvenient in every other way, including how often you have to throw out and keep shopping, and how it’s destroying our environment, well-being, jobs and community. Once you get yourself going on the new way, you will realise how exhausting the old way is!
So now we know that you are not losing, it’s not unaffordable, it’s easy to start AND it’s more convenient, let’s talk about how to transition to buying more ethically and sustainably.
Firstly, please focus on progress, not perfection.
Replacing an entire wardrobe in one go could be the most fun and exciting thing you can think of OR it can seem completely overwhelming. If you’re the former, great go for gold and enjoy every moment of it. If you’re the latter, please understand that you do not need to be perfect at this or do everything at once. Part of a transition is experimentation. Focus on replacing your wardrobe one quality piece at a time, try out new brands, try out new looks, don’t be afraid if you don’t get it perfect the first time. You are learning. Once you get a handle on it and you look into your wardrobe with love and excitement instead of shame, you will realise it’s the best thing you’ve ever done.
Also, if you really love a particular brand but you know it’s not as sustainable as you’d like, you don’t necessarily have to ditch it altogether. Just shop it less, and shop quality, ethical, sustainable brands more. Think of it as treating yourself to a little chocolate every now and again.
Do your research.
This can seem like a lot of hard work upfront, but do your research to find those little niche brands. Part of their appeal is that not everyone is wearing them, so it can take a little longer to find. Trust us when we say once you find them, you’ll never want to let them go though. Search Google, Instagram, ask around for recommendations, read websites. There is a lot of greenwashing going on. Avoid buying from places that manufacture in areas known for human rights abuses. Focus on those who don’t mass produce, and even have made to order models. Yes, you will have to wait a short time longer for your piece, but you can wear it in confidence that you’re being a great global citizen.
If a brand is not upfront with their manufacturing practices, avoid them like the plague. There is a reason they are trying to divert your attention away from that.
Look for transeasonal, timeless pieces.
Sometimes it’s fun to buy something a little on trend so don’t be afraid to do that every now and again. But for the most part, focus on transeasonal, timeless pieces that will never age and last generations. These are pieces you can wear for summer, layer for winter and style for Spring and fall. It’s amazing how different an outfit can look with styling as you take it through the year. It also means it’s always on trend because it’s timeless.
When it comes to kids clothes, high quality brands will last through multiple kids and still be beautiful enough to be packed away in their treasure boxes for if they have children of their own. You just can’t beat that!
Define what ethical and sustainable means to you.
While there are some blanket decisions you may make in order to shop more ethically (for example, vegan leather), please avoid fabrics you don’t love. For example, linen. If you hate the crinkle, and the ironing, don’t buy it just because it’s more ‘sustainable.’ It becomes very unsustainable if you don’t wear it because it annoys you. Sometimes it takes thinking outside the box to work out what sustainable means in your individual context. Instead, you might prefer cotton, or a cotton blend. And sometimes, pieces with a little polyester can hold their shape better and last longer. Yes, we need to consider what our pieces are made from, but we also need to consider how often we will wear and love them. The latter can also make them more sustainable.
We do believe that how we shop will become a reflection of our social reputation and part of our role in being a good citizen. The best time to start is now so you’re not left behind.
That wraps up our tips for how to begin your journey to ditch fast fashion. If you have any others, please feel free to comment on this blog, we’d love to hear them!