There's no doubt that the fashion industry is changing. Fast fashion has become the norm leading to an increase in pollution, excess waste, and more consumption than ever. In fact, Americans today buy twice as much clothing as they did 20 years ago. In addition, fast fashion clothing is poorly constructed - usually made with cheap material and labor - allowing clothing to fall apart quickly which leads to more consumption and waste. A vicious cycle, there is a way to make a difference. By learning how to buy better and by building a more ethical wardrobe, you can not only slowly help the planet but save yourself a lot of money too. Check out some of our tips on how you can be a more ethical consumer now!
1. Invest In Quality Clothes
When something is on sale or affordable, it's easy to achieve instant gratification by purchasing the item. However, little thought is given to how long the item will last, when it will go out of style, or if you'll even wear it. The key is to think long-term by purchasing fewer high-quality items that will endure time since wear and trends tend to shift.
Try this: Next time you fall in love with something at the store, ask yourself if you would wear it at least 30 times. If so, purchase it. If not, keep moving.
2. Rethink Washing Habits
25% of the carbon footprint of clothes comes from the way we care for them. Caring for clothing accurately decreases this problem. How do you take better care of your clothes? Wash them less, wash them at lower temperatures, and only dry clean them when necessary. When we do all of the above, a garment's lifespan is extended by gently preserving fabrics.
Try this: Opt to air dry or steam clothing instead of washing them. When you do wash them, only wash full machine loads, taking labels into consideration.
3. Repair, Reuse Recycle
At this point, it may seem logical to throw clothing in the garbage. However, this is the exact reason more than 1 million tons of textiles are thrown away every year. Instead of tossing out clothing, opt to restore it. Patch holes, install new zippers, sew buttons, or customize it.
Try this: Next time you're ready to throw something out, evaluate whether or not it can be repaired. If so, keep in mind that there are a ton of workshops and online tutorials that can teach you some amazing ways to mend as revitalize your clothing.
4. Shop Less
Learn to shop smart which means buying what you love and need. This will not only ensure that everything you own is worn a lot but also matches quite well. And when you do spend a little more, make sure you purchase quality items that will last longer. So buying items you love, only when you need and that last a long time means you'll definitely be shopping much less often.
Try this: Monitor the amount of times you shop per year. By keeping track of how many times you shop and how much you spend, you'll become more mindful of the times you purchased as well as how much you spent on something unnecessary.
5. Buy Second Hand
Always buy second hand clothing when and if you can. Buying used clothing is probably the easiest and best way to be an ethical consumer. By extending the life of already produced clothing and not adding to the production of new items, you are being kind of the environment and to human kind.
Try this: Next time you want to shop, opt to go to a vintage or consignment store. Contrary to popular belief, these second hand stores do sell some beautifully made designer treasures at reasonable prices. In fact, I just scored a Gucci top at one for $5 in mint condition!