Fast fashion is popular with young people as it is an easy and cheap way to stay on trend with new fashion. Many stores which used to sell styles which never went out of fashion, are themselves going out of fashion. This is because of the preference of consumers for clothes which they can dispose of after wearing for a few times, and buy another set of clothes which are in vogue. But this trend is actually harmful to the environment as it requires a lot of energy and raw material to create new apparel. With depleting resources, everyone on the planet needs to take a hard look at their choices and choose those which are environment-friendly. Even you can contribute by changing your wardrobe into a sustainable one by avoiding fast fashion. Here’s how you can do it, but first reasons why you should avoid it:
Why should you avoid fast fashion
Fast fashion is cheap because it pays workers very less – they are worked very hard, up to 12 hours a day, have almost no legal protection and certainly no medical or life insurance. Sometimes, they don’t give their workers a single day off work. Apart from this, the chemicals used in fast fashion is toxic for the workers and leads to a huge amount of toxic waste in landfills, which takes more than 200 years to degrade.
How your choice matters
Demand fuels supply and the demand for fast fashion has led to companies exploiting poor workers all over the world. If the demand decreases, and everyone chose to buy clothes which list how and where it was produced, it would better the circumstances of workers sitting and making clothes a world away from you. It’s understandable that you want to look as smart as the other person, and if you’re on a budget, it’s hard to do. But sustainable fashion is now trending, and you would be making a personal statement too, by going for a sustainable wardrobe. And it’s not as hard or expensive as it seems!
Shop at vintage, consignment or thrift stores
Buying clothes from thrift stores is a way to buy fashionable clothes at reasonable rates and you may find some really nice clothes from consignment or thrift stores. By doing so, you can extend the life of clothes and reduce the demand for new clothes. Sometimes, if you look carefully, you can find real beauties at thrift stores. Especially jeans which require a whopping 13,000 liters of water, for a single piece, can be a good buy as you would reduce your own personal carbon footprint if you buy a used pair of jeans. Besides, the funds from thrift stores go to charitable causes or store owners and not fast fashion retail stores.
While you are on your sustainable clothes buying spree, you should definitely check out vintage clothes stores. It’s fun to go through fashions of yesteryears, and you’ll be surprised to see the superior quality of the clothes. Sometimes, you may also find items which have never even been worn before, and also learn the story behind the clothing items, which makes them even more interesting and valuable. You get many compliments when you wear vintage clothing, as they are so unique.
Here are a few sites where you can find sustainable clothes and accessories:
Etsy is a site which lets independent sellers sell their wares, and you can find handmade, eco-friendly clothes and accessories.
Sales at ethical/sustainable fashion sites
The main thing that keeps away from sustainable or ethical brands is the price factor. They are quite expensive and not for people on a budget. But if you go to the sales section of these brands, you’ll find many beautiful clothes which are incredibly affordable. You could buy items like scarves, socks, underwear, and hats from these sites if you can’t afford the clothes. All these items, including the clothes on these sites are sustainably produced, without exploiting poor people and using sustainable materials.
By buying high-quality sustainable clothes, you will create a wardrobe which is beautiful, yet did not cause any harm to the planet. Reducing your need for more clothes will also help the planet, and your effort should be to own high-quality sustainable clothes, from brands like Zady, KowTow etc, which are few in number.