With unlimited resources at our disposal - whether it be next day delivery for instant gratification, or runway dupes from fast-fashion retailers better suited for our bank accounts; it’s important to know how we can combat the carbon footprint left by the fashion industry without punishing our wardrobe.
Taking a moment to think before you shop and following a few of these simple steps can completely change your shopping game for the better.
Know the Retailer
The retailer’s values will trickle down into what you purchase, and there is a reason why fast-fashion brands cost you less. These reasons can often include ethically questionable environmental factors and manufacturing, such as improper disposal of waste, low-quality materials made for shorter lifespans that end up in landfills, and cheap labor.
Don’t know where to start? A simple search of your favorite brands can shine light on their operations and carbon footprint. Getting familiar with these practices won’t be the most fun you’ve had dreaming about your wardrobe, but it will definitely get you on a path towards becoming a responsible consumer.
Choose Items of Value to You
Think before you buy, we’re all still working on this. Every item produced can last a lifetime on this Earth - will you wear it? Does it work with your lifestyle? This step is easy - if you aren’t regularly attending cocktail parties, you don’t need the cocktail dress.
Pick your spots - if you live in denim, splurge! Buy quality pairs that will last you and make the most of them, including following the care tags. Become BFFs with the care-tags on your apparel and you can make the most of their shelf life.
Shop Sample Sales (or Online Sample Sales) and Warehouse Sales
Trying to commit to higher-quality clothing, but can’t justify the cost? Sample sales, warehouse sales and online sample sales are the solution. Find your favorite brands and save their excess inventory from turning into waste - trust us, that top you loved 3 months ago is just as cute now.
Sample sales online save production styles from going to fashion graveyards, but physical sample sales also save the true samples and imperfect pieces. You can find room in your wardrobe for high-quality clothing, at deeply discounted costs and begin to transition out of the fast-fashion world you were once living in. Grab your bestie and find those clothes forever homes.
Thrift for What You Can’t Find Anywhere Else
Thrifting is every true fashionista’s go-to for something unique. Like we mentioned before, become the bestie of your care-tags and items can go a long way, we mean mom-jeans-circa-‘87-long.
Searching for something off the beaten path? Thrifting is your destination for pre-owned gems. Guaranteed limited supply or one-of-a-kind items that will add something different to your looks, it’s just a plus that a day-long thrifting adventure can be a lot of fun.
Reimagine Your Wardrobe
It’s easy to feel pressure not to be the dreaded outfit-repeater in real life, especially when our wardrobe tends to also live online. Leveling up your sustainability game means less incoming items, which means getting creative. Test your skills and challenge yourself to find unique ways to wear your favorites. The wrap skirt? Let it make its debut as a mini dress. Your favorite white shirt? Go ahead and wear it on repeat, swapping out the accessories to match your mood ring.
You’ll be amazed at the inspiration you can have when you’re purposeful about what you buy and how you wear it.
When it comes to fashion, working towards reducing the impact it has on the environment will take time, but change will start when we begin to value the lifecycle of a piece once again. Take these steps and challenge yourself to begin implementing change in your own closet, one piece at a time.