Written for Daily Hive by Selina Ho, Founder and CEO of Recloseted
The harmful clothing industry is in desperate need of a sustainability makeover.
You can do your part in the following steps:
Sustainable fashion often gets a bad rep for being expensive and inaccessible for the majority of people. However, a lot of people forget that the most eco-friendly thing you can do is to buy less, which in turn saves you money. Be intentional about each item you bring into your wardrobe and your life.
You save 100% when you buy nothing
Building upon the first point, when it comes to clothing sales, it can be tempting to purchase clothing items just because they may be 50% off. However, don’t forget that you save 100% when you buy nothing! Again, only purchase items you need and will use for seasons to come.
Host and attend clothing swaps (when it is safe to do so)
One way you can make fashion more accessible and fun is by hosting and/or attending clothing swaps! A lot of unworn clothing that gets donated unfortunately ends up in our landfills so a great way to ensure your garments find a new, loving home is to exchange your pieces for other pieces at a clothing swap. If you can’t find any clothing swaps in your area, don’t be shy to host one with your close friends and family members!
Thrift and shop secondhand
When you need new items, hit up your local thrift shops! You can feel good about wearing this item of clothing knowing that you helped divert it from a landfill and that no new materials were used to make it. The bonus with thrifted pieces is that they’re typically cheaper (especially for designer items) and the likelihood of you showing up at an event wearing the same thing as someone else is quite slim!
Make a list and stick to it
Before you go shopping for new clothes, take an inventory of what’s in your closet so you know what you already have and write down exactly what you’re looking for. Then as you’re shopping, commit to only buying what you need. Don’t get distracted by items on sale (remember you save 100% when you buy nothing) or other seasonal, trendy pieces.
Wear your values and support ethical + sustainable (local) brands
If you can’t find an item you need secondhand and you decide to buy a new piece, do your best to wear your values and support ethical and sustainable brands. Bonus points if the brand is a local business! If you need a list of recommended brands to support, check out The Recloseted Handbook!
Consider your “cost per wear”
When shopping from sustainable fashion brands, individual pieces tend to be more expensive than traditional fast-fashion items. The reason is that these brands use higher quality materials and they pay their garment workers a living wage. When an article of clothing is only $15, consider what the “true cost” of that garment is and who got the short end of the stick.
When you purchase from a sustainable brand, instead of looking at the overall price of a garment, consider your cost per wear. For instance, if you’re shopping for a new wool coat and find one that costs $400, upon first glance that might seem pricey; however, if you know that you’re going to wear this coat for years to come then your cost per wear will be less than if you had bought its fast fashion counterpart. On the flip side, if you buy a fast fashion imitation wool coat for $80 but it’s itchy so you only wear it twice, that’s a $40 cost per wear. Do the math — more often than not, it pays off to invest in quality, conscious pieces.
Ask brands “who made my clothes” and participate in Fashion Revolution week
Fashion Revolution week happens every April in which the non-profit organization encourages consumers to ask brands “who made my clothes” and demand fair compensation to garment workers. Be a part of the conscious fashion movement and ensure that the people who made your garments were treated fairly.
Read “The Recloseted Handbook: Your Sustainable Fashion Guide” to educate yourself
If you want to educate yourself more about the harmful fashion industry and get the exact steps to becoming a stylish yet conscious clothing consumer, check out “The Recloseted Handbook: Your Sustainable Fashion Guide”. This handbook is your A-Z blueprint on how you can contribute to the slow fashion movement as part of your everyday life.
Spread the word amongst your family and friends
Last but not least, spread the word about slow fashion amongst your family and friends! Positive and impactful change can only happen if more people are aware about the detrimental effects of fast fashion and know how to combat it. Share this article with your friends and family members. Start talking about how you can make more conscious choices with your loved ones and together, let’s right the harmful fashion industry!