I am infatuated with fashion and the more diversity my wardrobe has, the better. I often joke to my partner that I’m going to require a dressing room in our next home, but that notion is fast becoming a reality as our bedroom is overwhelmed with my clothes, shoes, and accessories.
This passion soon began to conflict with my strong vegan belief system since the fashion industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions and nearly 20% of water waste. Whilst most consumer goods suffer from similar problems, the fashion industry is particularly problematic due to the frenetic pace of change that it undergoes and encourages. With this playing on my mind, I had to find a way in which I could fulfil my love (and wardrobe) whilst still adhering to my ethical values.
N.B. All the outfit combinations that feature in this blog are either old, second-hand, or upcycled.
Second-hand clothing is a way of giving clothes a second life and thus slowing down the fast-fashion cycle. Using charity and vintage shops as my retail of choice is a great solution to the overconsumption challenge.
#2 Finding the counterpart to an old garment
Recently I’ve been trying to locate the matching coordinate to old and exhausted jackets, trousers and tops. By searching through eBay, I have managed to pair clothes that are over 5 years old with their original complement to provide a two-piece for an affordable price.
#3 Avoiding impulsive purchases
Fast fashion is pleasurable and addictive but by taking the time to consider purchases, I prevent the urge to impulse buy. Online shopping is the perfect environment for hasty purchases. I’ve discovered that by allowing 24 hours before purchasing an item in my shopping basket it prevents these quick click buys. I also limit my time spent on online stores, especially during the evening when my decision-making capabilities are at a minimum.
#4 Shopping ethically
When I do purchase new clothes from the high street, I try to make sure the ethos of the company is one which complies with my core ethics. Many large clothing brands are committing themselves to become more sustainable. Zara recently announced that by 2025 all of their collections will be made from 100% sustainable fabrics and will produce zero landfill waste. It will take time for companies to develop more sustainable and ethical methods of production but in the meantime here are some other great brands which are already ahead of the game; People Tree, Beaumont Organic, Peruvian Connection, Thought, Rêve en Vert, Bibico, Komodo, Noctu, Mayamiko, Nomads, Nancy Dee, Here Today Here Tomorrow, P.I.C. Style, Thoreau, COSSAC, Nude Ethics, Study 34, Madia & Matilda, Ilk + Ernie, and Monsoon.
#5 Sustainable disposal of unwanted items
Simply throwing away old clothes contributes to carbon emissions due to the incineration and landfill processes. A better option is to give items to friends or pass them on to charity shops, if they are in good condition. You could also consider selling them on online platforms such as Depop, Ebay or Asos Marketplace. If clothing is damaged beyond repair, then the most environmentally sound way of disposal is to send them for recycling.
#6 Reinventing old attire
Before discarding old garments, consider reinvigorating them. Tie-dying old jeans, embroidering tired denim jackets, and adding beading to plain tops are just some of the ways that I love to repurpose the clothes I no longer wear.
Ultimately, I can’t shop my way to sustainability but every effort to live in a more conscious manner is one step towards cleaning up my way of life. Whether you commit to buying less or buying old rather than new, you can be instrumental in the movement to slow down ‘fast fashion’ and all the controversies it brings.
Once again, thanks for reading and keep Studenting!