Let’s talk about SUSTAINABLE fashion ? 5 major tips and ideas below – but first, a quick ramble about sustainable fashion itself.
This is a subject I’m super passionate about and is very close to my heart (for those that don’t know, I’m running a small Etsy shop which is all about handmade, durable and sustainable clothing and accessories).
One of the major things that put many people off buying more sustainably is the fact that vintage/second-hand shops are not always their cup of tea style-wise, while proper sustainable, fair-trade, organic brands are CONSIDERABLY more expensive. What I think is really important though is to remember that anyone can start simply just by buying less clothing – this way there is absolutely no risk that you’ll be spending precious money on pieces that go out of style, put a strain on our planet’s resources or get damaged. Keeping your wardrobe minimalist doesn’t have to mean that you’re depriving yourself of clothing that makes you feel good – quite the opposite. It makes sure that the pieces you do have are your absolute favourite and also serves another just as important minimalist goal – saving the time! Less clothing = less time spent putting together your daily outfit.
Before buying new pieces, you could of course also look into the options of re-working your current items. Whether it’s cropping your tops, adding patches and buttons to make them edgier, personalising them with texts, buttons, prints, tassels or beads – options are countless. Learning the very basics of sewing helps tremendously as well and brings out your creativity big time!
One of the best places to start with on your journey to a sustainable closet is by watching @truecostmovie (available both on Netflix and YouTube). It highlights one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made when transitioning to a more sustainable closet (I’m still working on that and trying to learn more) is the issue of giving away your clothing to charity – many of us feel better about our shopping habits when we give our old clothing to charity, but the fact is that only a minority of that clothing actually re-sells. Definitely check out True Cost for more! Another great recommendation is watching Minimalism (also on Netflix+Youtube) by @theminimalists – not necessarily about fashion, but about our contemporary shopping habits in general. The Minimalists are a huge inspiration to my writing and their writings and podcasts have helped me find a better balance when it comes to shopping.
Finally, we’re getting to the point – below is an outline of the tips that can guide you on your way to a more sustainable clothing without breaking the budget!
ONLINE SECOND-HAND SHOPPING
Online apps and platforms such as Depop (worldwide) and United Wardrobe (The Netherlands) are perfect for finding cheap gems! You’ll also be able to browse easily through many of your favourite brand clothing – not just vintage items – all from the comfort of your home. I’m always stunned by the variety of clothing, shoes, and accessories on offer, not to mention the fact that you’ll be supporting a circular economy!
CHARITY AND SECOND-HAND SHOPS
Online second-hand shopping obviously has one tiny disadvantage – not really being able to try on your items beforehand. For those wanting to stick to a minimalist closet, this can prove quite a bit of a hassle, but this is where charity and second-hand shops come in! Moreover, you can even look for kilo sales or flea markets in your area – all forms of second-hand clothing are becoming more and more popular the past few years, so there’s definitely a cheap (and sustainable!) option regardless of where you’re residing.
SWAP + BORROW
Need to buy a dress for a special event, but you already know you’ll most likely never wear it again? Don’t be afraid to gather together your girl gang or family members and kindly ask them to have a peek into their wardrobe – most friends will probably be happy to help you out (unless you want to borrow an expensive dress for a wild night of clubbing!) Alternatively, you could organise a Swap event with your friends every once in a while during which you can all bring the items that don’t serve you anymore and see if anyone else in the friend group would like to add them to their wardrobe.
I might be a tiny little bit biased when it comes to this, given that I own a little Etsy clothing shop myself, but there’s definitely so many unique and sustainable clothing options on this creative platform. The variety of fabrics and styles is unparalleled and you can find everything from upcycled t-shirts to trendy minimalist linen dresses, alternative bamboo clothing and a stunning amount of handmade accessories. I’ve also noticed a recent boost in organic cotton, which is always a big plus!
Another classic second-hand option. Whereas platforms like Depop are reaching hundreds of new users every day, eBay has been placed more in the shadow. However, with a little bit of luck, there is plenty to find! eBay is perfect for all of those wanting to buy brand clothing, while not giving money to big corporations (apart from the fee that eBay itself takes from every purchase).
6. FACEBOOK GROUPS
Another new-ish way of buying second-hand clothing comes in the form of Facebook groups. Despite being a very small city, my hometown Ljubljana offers a huge variety of opportunities to swap your clothing or buy a used piece at an incredibly low price – be it baby’s or children’s clothing, teenage or maternity clothing. It’s worth putting your current hometown and the words ‘borrow/swap/used clothing’ in the search box and see what happens!
FINDING SUSTAINABLE BRANDS
By using handy platforms such as Rank a Brand, you can learn to compare the sustainability of the brands you would like to purchase from. Alternatively, you could also download a free app Good On You that tells you the truth about brands’ impacts on the environment, as well as offers you more insight on how they treat their workers.
I really hope these little tips have given you some ideas about how to shop sustainably, but please let me know if you have any other suggestions. I’ll be updating this post regularly as I come across new options.