Many moons ago I wrote a blog post called Ethical Shopping. Today I thought I would revisit the topic of sustainable fashion because it is still very important.
Fast fashion is what we have grown accustomed to, the high street churns out new styles and designs season after season at a low cost. However these items are often poor quality, get thrown away after only a few wears and they also have a damaging impact to many people’s lives that we don’t see.
Many large chains use sweat shops in less economically developed countries. Factory employees, work long hours for low pay and often in poor conditions. Low labour costs and cheap materials are how companies produce cheap clothes on mass. As a society we buy into this cycle. I want to try and invest in slow fashion from now on, reduce my consumption and look after the clothes that I already have.
Did you know fashion is the second most polluting industry on the planet? Dyes and chemicals pollute rivers, clothes are thrown “away” into landfill and chemical fertilizers are sprayed onto resources like cotton. Our clothes are damaging our planet.
I think that it’s time to change. At least for me personally it is. I won’t sit here and preach as though I have never bought an item of clothing from what could be considered an unethical company, we all have. However it’s never too late to make the change and alter your attitude.
What changes to make?
Choose sustainable fashion brands: Know The Origin
Okay so, firstly a great swap to make is to cut out the high street and shop from more sustainable brand. Recently I chose to purchase a couple of items from Know The Origin, a company who only produce items and stock brands which are ethically produced. The origin of their pieces can be traced to a reputable, fair-trade factory. Their clothing is also made with organic cotton which isn’t treated with pesticides and fertilizers. I chose the simple Kol navy and white striped t-shirt, a basic which can be worn time and time again. This t-shirt feels like it is going to last, it feels thick and high quality.
My other choice was the black, figure hugging Lodi dress. I think this can be dressed up with heels or worn casually with converse, and it is the softest thing I have ever felt. Know The Origin are primarily an online business but I was lucky enough to stumble across their pop up shop in London recently. Having the chance to try on their items means that I know now they fit true to size and feel long lasting, so I’ll certainly be purchasing from them again.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing for a brand to have factories abroad. It can benefit the economy and provide people with skilled jobs which would be unavailable otherwise, the ethical difference is how the workers are treated. Know The Origin display the name of the factory where each garment is made on its label.
Shop less frequently: Capsule Wardrobe
I have been trying to implement this change for around a year. A capsule wardrobe sees you swap out your clothes seasonally. It should make it easier to dress for the weather, but also it means you should shop less because you are limiting the amount of items you own. Now I try to only shop in transitional periods between seasons. I make a concise list of what I’m missing and I try not to be tempted into impulse buying anything off-list. Since doing this I have bought far fewer clothes and I wear each item of clothing much more regularly.
As I mentioned above, try to shop for organic cotton items only. This reduces the demand for clothing items treated with harsh chemicals. The less we pollute rivers and the landscape the better.
If you are interested in this topic and want to learn more, I’d highly recommend watching the documentary, The True Cost. I found it shocking the first time I saw it and it really opened my eyes to a darker side of the fashion industry.
As a blogger people often expect me to always have new clothes and show them what’s new in the shops. However I don’t feel like I need to do that. I would rather buy a few nice pieces which I know are made ethically and wear them for as long as they will last. I try to choose basic clothing which won’t go out of fashion and can all be matched to work together- another feature of a capsule wardrobe.
I think as a society our disposable attitude towards fast fashion has got to change, it’s destroying our planet and impacts people’s lives.
What are your thoughts on sustainable fashion as posed to fast fashion? Let me know in the comments below!