In today’s busy consumerist society, we are constantly buying and throwing out stuff that we bought because it made us feel good at the time to get that ‘shiny new’ toy, not necessarily needing it. Fashion is one of the biggest killers for this, it is one of the industries that creates the most landfill every year and most garments will not break down or be bio-degradable for hundreds of years. So where does this lead one who wants to follow the trends, be stylish but not ruin the environment? Here’s a few tips on how to shop ethically and also save your hard earned dollars!
1. Buy clothes made of organic ‘degradable’ materials. Firstly, they are really comfortable to wear, are very light (so great for summer or to stash in your suitcase for that tropical getaway), they let your skin breathe and they come in staple forms that you can mix and match with most of your day-to-day outfits. Secondly, lets face it, you are not going to keep it for more than 10-15 years, and when it finally comes to chucking it, it is not going to need a nuclear bomb to materialise back into the earth.
Here’s some great labels that are eco-fashion-friendly (and the clothes look pretty nice)
2. Buy 2nd hand. There is something really special about finding that ‘one off’ item in a 2nd hand op shop that you know won’t be worn by every man/woman and their dog as it’s been hyped up by a chain store. It’s a bit of hit and miss when you enter these shops, but fortunately there are several online stores that now celebrate revived retro and vintage clothing. It’s something that will never go out of style, as it’s a classic trend and doesn’t cost the earth. Who knows what adventures that garment has had, where it has travelled and what it has the potential to be matched with. * A little tip with Op-shops, don’t go to the central/city located stores, as these will be ravaged by millions of soon to be fashionistas, instead delve somewhere new. Mostly the suburban stores have the best finds.
If having day trips to suburbia isn’t your thing, check out Etsy, or the ASOS Marketplace, lots of great vintage and retro stuff. If you find something amazing, but it doesn’t quite fit, the taylor/sewing machine is your friend (and if you only paid $10 for it, suppose it won’t suffer too much if you want to experiment)
3. If you’re going to spend big, pay more and get something that lasts. Like that ‘little black dress’ that will suit every occasion. Buy shoes that are made in Italy instead of China, buy real leather soles instead of synthetic. These soles will soften and shape with your feet the more you wear them, and they can be repaired easily. Wouldn’t you rather buy something that was handmade with care and passion rather than a mass produced, machine made item? Think staple items for this, don’t go overboard, black and white items are always going to match, your favourite colour will mostly go with the rest of the wardrobe.
4. The Taylor is your friend. So you have a big event coming up, but you don’t quite fit into that sexy red dress anymore. Rather than buying a new ‘one-off’ dress that will gather dust, get your dress altered (maybe add a little something, like a different texture on the hemline). If it’s made to fit you, and only you, it will be both comfortable and look amazing!
So next time, think about what you are buying, and ask yourself these questions;
– Do I really need it?
– Will it last?
– Can I wear it in multiple ways?
– Will it make me feel confident?
- asos marketplace – a hidden gem (allthingsbeautifulandpretty.wordpress.com)
- How to shop for vintage clothes (theguardian.com)