Tips for Being a more Conscious Clothing Consumer
Recently I have been thinking a LOT more about how I shop. I think we can all agree that it’s been a bit of a slap in the face recently, and I definitely have experienced a lot of guilt when realising how much waste I could have avoided over the years when it comes to consuming fashion.
While it’s easy to feel guilty, the best we can do is be open to change and educate ourselves about being a conscious consumer. I’ve found this topic really interesting recently, as there are just SO many ways that we can be better, so I thought I would give you guys some tips!
Look for natural fabrics such as wool, silk, cotton & hemp. They’re better for your health as well as the environment
Avoid Polyester – The absolute worst. It’s made from synthetic polymers that are made from esters of dihydric alcohol and terpthalic acid. So, so, so unbelievably terrible for the environment. I’ve started to make a real point of trying my absolute best to avoid high percentages of polyester in my clothing, it’s tricky because it’s so popular due to how much the fabric can be manipulated in terms of texture, but it literally cannot biodegrade so will sit on the earth forever unless it’s recycled
Shop from ethical and sustainable brands! My favourites include: RE/DONE Denim, Kowtow, Mahsa, Nobody Denim, Everyone, Veja, Nice Martin, Spell & The Gypsy, Arnhem, All Birds, Rowie The Label, Georgia Alice and Maggie Marilyn (one day…).
Quality is better than quantity: Yes the above labels can be very expensive, but if it will last for years then it’s worth it! If you buy less, you can invest in high quality wardrobe staple pieces and have a much more chic wardrobe anyway
Start a capsule wardrobe: The idea is to spend less time on money (buying less) and time (figuring out what to wear) on clothes! It’s a capsule, so a small collection of more or less 37 pieces that changes with every season. It includes coats, jackets, dresses, tops, trousers and shoes, it’s pieces that are well thought out and work together so that it’s quicker to figure out what to wear each morning. You stick with this clothing for 3 months and then switch things in, out and around seasonally and put what you don’t need away in storage for the next year to roll round. It’s a great idea for minimalists or a challenge for shopaholics!
Learn to look after your clothing, everything lasts longer when you look after it. ALWAYS read the label and wash accordingly to avoid shrinking or damaging your clothes. Use a delicate cycle when washing bright colours or dainty fabric, line-dry whenever possible, stretch out denim washing as long as you can. A brand that I really love to use when washing wool & cashmere especially is The Laundress which is stocked at Max! I also love their Fabric Refresh spray which is perfect to spray things that sit in your wardrobe and tend to get a bit gross and smelly by mid-late winter
Shopping fast fashion consciously: We don’t always have the budgets to avoid fast fashion brands, shopping them consciously is the ultimate key. Look at the fabrics! Try and pick up cotton and avoid polyester, think about whether the piece is of good quality and will last you longer than one season, can you have it dry cleaned and wear it year after year? Will it go out of style quickly? The longer the piece stays in your wardrobe, the better. Stick with your personal style rather than seasonal trends and the pieces you pick up will likely to still be loved in 1-5 years time! My mum still has shoes and jackets from the 90’s that she still wears! Also, does this brand have less than a B+ ethical rating? Check out Tearfund to see their ratings, it’s important to consider the social side of where your clothing comes from
Shop second hand: Thrifting is so much fun and there is no better feeling when you score an epic piece for a good price! Nobody else will have it and you can tweak it to make it your own. I love chopping up jeans and shirts to make them more unique. Glassons has also recently jumped on the bandwagon, they have reopened their flagship store in Newmarket and decided to create ‘Vintage by Glassons’ where the entire back section of their store is full of vintage finds that they have handpicked in Los Angeles! I picked up a vintage Coach belt for $40 and I am absolutely in love with it! My other favourite stores to shop second hand are: Recycle Boutique, Tatty’s, Paper Bag Princess, Stalgic Society
Take your unwanted clothing to stores such as Recycle Boutique and Tatty’s where you can make some coin, or make a clothing sale Instagram account and sell your clothes. Please avoid your local clothing bin as those clothes can often be dumped! Otherwise donate to charity or give unwanted pieces to friends and family.
I really think that if you can shop for wardrobe staples from high end sustainable & ethical brands, special one off’s that suit your personal style from thrift stores and then pick up bits here and there with conscious consideration from fast fashion stores then you are doing a GREAT job. Sustainability is not about one person doing it perfectly, it’s about millions of people doing it imperfectly. If you are taking your reusable bag to the supermarket and thinking about how and where you shop, then you are a total legend! We are all doing our best!