Fast fashion is one of the dirtiest and most polluting industries in the world, only beaten by OIL. Think about it; huge production lines, significant agricultural input, use of animals, excessive shipping, excessive consumption and huge wastage – is it really that surprising?
Well before we make you feel guilty about those 30+ pairs of shoes in your closet and the 85% of your wardrobe that hasn’t been used in 12 months; Socielle has put together a list of some very easy ways you can start to do good for the planet, it’s people and of course – yourself!
1. Buy less / buy better. Start treating your clothing/accessories/homewares purchases like investments, each having a special purpose and place in your life. It is easy to get caught up in impulse purchases and ‘saving it for a rainy day’ moments. There are three questions you should ask yourself:
a. how much use will I get out of this item in 12-18 months’ time?
b. who made this and how was it made?
c. are there any other practices behind this brands that support a better planet?
These questions will help you narrow down your purchases to items that will be more beneficial in the future for not only yourself but your wallet too.
2. Do your research. Question the brands you buy from. Where are their items made? Are they fair trade? Do they employ people above minimum wage? Do they give back? Do they use sustainable materials? Understanding all of this and finding the answers can sometimes be a little tricky. At Socielle, we introduced a brand badge system so that in a glance you can easily identify what values of ethics and sustainability the item supports. We’ve done all the hard work so that you don’t have too. Another great way to find some answers if to use the app ‘Good On You’, it helps identify how ethical and sustainable every day brands are!
3. Repurpose and salvage. Some of the greatest pieces of fashion history are vintage so don’t be afraid to bring out items pushed to the back of your wardrobe or stored in old suitcases. You can restructure your old items to fit into a new style or to better fit your shape by seeing a seamstress. Or go to your local Vinnie’s and do some searching for pre-loved items, you will be amazed at what you can find.
4. Buy for quality not quantity. Yeah we’ve all been through a phase buying the cheapest fashion and wearing once and not feeling bad about tossing it away. Imagine adding up all of those $30-50 items you bought over a couple of months and the amazing well-made designer wear you could have purchased that would see you through seasons not just an occasion. I think this works best by not buying into “trends” and selecting simple or eye catching pieces that can easily be matched with a number of other items. You can’t go past the perfect long lasting little black dress or a custom made trench that would last a decade!
5. BYO bags. Go treat yourself to a big bag that you can take when you go shopping so that you can say NO to plastic bags, the last thing you and the planet needs are extra bags going into landfill.
6. Go organic/non-toxic. Going organic isn’t just a fad, it is also an essential way to help preserve our planet and refrain from using harsh chemicals. Cotton uses more insecticides than any other crop consuming 25% of the world’s insecticides. These contain cancer causing carcinogens and when used in irrigation and agriculture are heavily damaging. Choosing organic cotton voids the use of these harsh chemicals and whilst being better for the environment it’s better for you too! Choosing non-toxic and organic products is often reserved for beauty and skincare but with clothes stuck to your skin day in and day out – void the harm and choose non-toxic. GOTS certified cotton is your best option as it is the most sustainable, fair trade and free from nasties.
Rechelle Coombes, founder of Socielle said, “It’s easy to start becoming a more conscious consumer by giving a little more thought into the things you buy each day, you don’t have to make a dramatic switch right away, start to make better decisions day by day and eventually you will be converting your friends and family to do the same.”