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Sustainable Clothing Shopping 101

Fast fashion has overwhelmed the fashion industry in recent years, exacerbating environmental impacts as disposable and poor-quality clothing is produced faster than ever before. As consumers, little things add up. Consider these tips if you’re trying to shop more sustainably.

Buy second-hand clothing.

Haven’t you heard? Thrifting is all the rage right now, and for good reason. It’s such a fun adventure and you can make an entire day out of just browsing through thrift store aisles with your best friends. It’s also way cheaper than shopping at the mall. Plus, when you find a hidden gem, it’s so much more rewarding because you know it’s a unique piece that most other people won’t own. Especially if you’re into more vintage pieces right now, it only makes sense to search for them at thrift stores. If online shopping is more your speed, there are tons of secondhand fashion sites like Depop, thredUP, Maeven Vintage, and so much more.

Develop a unique style that’s independent of passing trends.

Social media has single-handedly sped up the trend cycle in an extreme way, as trends are going in and out of style faster than ever before due to the ever-changing nature of social media and influencers. Rather than basing your wardrobe off of Kim Kardashian’s latest look, I challenge you to purchase clothing that truly speaks to you and only buy items that you think you’ll keep in your closet for years to come. According to a report from McKinsey Sustainability, people today discard their clothing twice as quickly as 15 years ago. You can help combat this unnecessary wastefulness by choosing clothing not based on what people online like right now, but what you like for your own personal style.

Shop less altogether.

Before you purchase a clothing item for an event, ask yourself whether or not you already have something suitable in your closet already. And if you’re buying something new, seriously consider how you will wear it. Is it a versatile piece that you can style easily or will it just be sitting in the back of your closet? Are you really going to get much use out of it?

Buy from ethical and sustainable companies.

While the terms ethical and sustainable may mean different things to different companies, here are some practices to look out for when looking for companies to shop from. Fair Trade Certified, GOTS certified, carbon-offset shipping, circular and take-back initiatives, recycled packaging, fair labor practices, ethical supply chain, small-batch production, and natural materials are great practices and production qualities that ethical and sustainable clothing companies may include on their website. Do your research

Look after your clothes.

If you purchase high-quality clothing pieces with durable fabric, those will last longer than pieces from fast-fashion companies that are poorly made and meant to be short-lived. In general, you should be making sure you take the best care of your clothing, especially the pieces you love. That means avoiding ironing, washing less frequently, following guidelines on your clothing care tag, and learning how to repair little issues like a snag or a missing button.

Photo by Becca McHaffie via Unsplash.

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