Fast Fashion is very quickly destroying the Earth. With the combination of carbon emissions, harmful chemicals leaking into poorer communities, a horrifying amount of waste going out into the Earth and the horrendous working conditions of a lot of the garment workers for our high street brands, we really should all try and find out more about how to break up with fast fashion.
Become more mindful of your consumption.
Perhaps you already only buy when you need to, but that’s not the case for a lot of people in the US and UK today. Time and again we see hauls and hauls of fast fashion clothing, bought to wear perhaps only a handful of times before making its way to the back of the closet. Then very shortly after, dumped!
So next time you feel the urge to buy some clothing, try asking yourself if you really NEED it. Do you already have enough *enter clothing item name here*? Are you just feeling like you HAVE to have it because it’s new/pretty/so and so has it? Quite often this will very quickly help to remind you that you don’t need it at all.
One of the biggest culprits for making us feel like we are missing out on new products, is being subscribed to, or following fast fashion companies. Of course it is! How else would they get you through the door or on the website? That’s good marketing for them, but bad for the Earth.
Unsubscribe right now to any marketing emails that are going to make you feel like you’re missing out or like you just HAVE to have their products. Do the same for their social media accounts that you follow too! Also, if you follow a lot of ‘clothes haul’ type social media influencers, and you feel like that’s a big part of what influences your decision to buy more than you need, then unfollow!!
Shop more consciously.
I completely understand that slow, sustainable, ethical fashion brands cost more, and that is not attainable for so many people. My first suggestion for shopping more consciously is ALWAYS to shop second hand first! This saves a huge amount financially, and you can often find mega bundles of goodies local to you on places like FB Marketplace! There are also the apps like eBay, Depop and Vinted that are great too, but FB Marketplace keeps things local so you can save on delivery too! Also check out your local car boots for a bargain and don’t forget those amazing charity shop adventures!
But I do also want to delve into slow, sustainable fashion brands too.
Because if you are able to either save up for a very needed item of clothing, or if you can afford to buy from them, then you absolutely should be when you need to. Not only are small, slow fashion brands better for the Earth in that they use better, higher quality, Earth friendly materials, they also have a huge focus on ethics. Do you really want to continue to pay out to brands that are supporting abusive working conditions for the people who make your clothes? The reason why you’ll pay more for this type of clothing is quite simply because that is how much it SHOULD cost. Fast fashion has really given everyone a distorted idea of how much we should be paying for an item of clothing. I mean, think about it… If you can buy an item of clothing for £1, how much do you think the person who made it (by hand) got paid? Consider also that it would already be low per item just on that alone, and then factor in that your fast fashion brand won’t be making nothing, and then the owner of the factory where your garment worker is will also want a large cut. How happy would you be to be paid pence (if that) to make a full item of clothing?
When you pay out for sustainable items of clothing, you’re paying a living wage for the maker of your clothes. Also, you’re paying for the right materials, harvested and spun from the right places. You are paying for items to be made, shipped and sold in an ethical and sustainable way. And you’re paying to support small, local business. Clothes SHOULD cost more, and we all need to understand that.
So whether you’re in need of some new high quality lingerie, luxury silk pyjamas or a woolly jumper, you really should consider shopping with small, sustainable, slow fashion companies. It also helps to put money back into the local economy.
Create a Capsule Wardrobe
One way to help you really assess what you have and what you need is to think about creating a capsule wardrobe. Simply put, this is choosing out a few base items of clothing that can either be dressed up or down and adapted to any event you need to dress for. For example, by having some simple black trousers and a black vest top, you could either add a woolly jumper/denim jacket and go casual, or you could add a smart jacket and some heels and look ready for a meal out.
By assessing and reducing your wardrobe in this way, it will reveal just how few items you need, or will need to add!
After doing this, you may find you have a lot of clothing items you really didn’t need, please make sure to…
Get rid of your unwanted clothes in an eco-friendly way!
If you no longer need items of clothing around the home, it is especially important that you manage to get rid of them in an eco-friendly way! This is a huge part of the fast fashion cycle where people also completely shut off to what they are doing. In your head (and I’ve done it!), if it’s in the bin then it’s fine! But actually, it is NOT fine. The discarded fashion from the US and UK is being thrown into landfill all over the world and is literally smothering it. It is OUR responsibility to know that we disposed of what we didn’t need in the best way we could.
You could sell them on via the places I mentioned buying above. Currently the second hand clothing market is on the rise and booming, which is fantastic! Places like FB Marketplace (often saves on postage!), eBay, Depop and Vinted are all great places to start! If you don’t have the time, then please consider either dropping them into your local charity shop or clothes bank. It’s also a great excuse to pop to the car boot on a Sunday!
Also, very important to note that some places will accept clothes donations for families that can’t afford them.
Of course, there are lots of steps we can take to help break up with fast fashion. Just remember that what you give money to, you support. The big, fast fashions don’t feel like they need to be accountable for their actions when people continue to spend billions of pounds with them. So we need to try and stop!
It’s not always achievable, and I completely understand that there’s often privilege attached to being able to shop elsewhere. Whether that’s access or finances. But we all need to do the best we can within our ability to really step in and slow down the fast fashion industry.