Easy ways to create an ethical & sustainable wardrobe
Apr 21, 2022
For the past 2 years, I’ve changed my relationship with my consumption and wanting to align my wardrobe closer to my values.
I’m paying more attention to who makes my clothes and understanding that someone is paying a high price (harmful work conditions, low wages and harmful to our planet) for our ease of access to fast fashion.
I’m paying attention to how my clothes are made and the impact on our environment.
As a very privileged person, I feel like it's my responsibility (as well as fashion retailers and governments) to stop harming our planet and the slave labour of mostly brown and black people for the sake of capitalism and our ability to over consume.
Am I perfect at this? Absolutely not.
But small change is better than no change. Screw perfectionism or All or Nothing Thinking. There are small actionable steps we can make today to help bring less harm to our planet and to those who make our clothes.
I know it can be overwhelming, so I'm sharing easy actionable steps you can start to implement today!
2. Buy thrift/second hand/consignment. You can even start or participate in clothing swap parties with friends, your family or in your community! Instead of supporting fast fashion brands, add pieces to your wardrobe that already exists and need a new home in the world. This can be time consuming, so that's why having a list and intention helps!
3. Slow down your consumption. Ask yourself what is motivating you to buy? To feel better? To fit in? To keep up with the "Jones"? Is it a need or a want? How will it truly support you?
Wear more of what you already have in new and fun ways instead of always buying new when you get bored. **The exception of course, it if your body changes. Your body always deserves clothes that fit it now.
4. Research brands and their values and support more sustainable brands. Are they transparent on how they treat their employees and their garment workers? What are their working conditions like? How do they source their material and how do they treat our planet? Look for brands that are transparent on their practices and also be aware of brands that -> greenwash.
* I also want to recognize that there are those in marginalized bodies that do not have easy access to inclusive sized clothes and sometimes fast fashion is the easiest option (though there are a lot of sustainable inclusive sizing brands).
There are MANY more, but here are some to get you started. Feel free to share your favourite with me and I'll add them to my collection! If you want to easily know hot brands rate on the sustainability scale, download the Good On You app.
5. Buy locally made when you can. Support your local artisans!
6. Mend your clothes and take care of them. When you take better care of your clothes, they will last longer. Take them to a tailor to lengthen their life. Clean your shoes to prevent dirt or salt from eroding the material. Hang your clothes to dry (lengthen life and prevents fabric breakdown, plus saves energy). Wash your clothes less (unless stained or smelly). I only wash my jeans when I get actual dirt/food on them, maybe once a month.
7. Educate yourself about sustainability & ethically made clothes. Follow accounts that teach about sustainability. Unfollow accounts that promote over consumption of fast fashion.
Here are some:
8. Don’t buy or reduce supporting fast fashion companies (ex: H&M, Zara, SHEIN, etc...) SHEIN is not transparent on the working conditions of their garment workers and there have been reports of toxic chemicals on their clothes. According to their CEO Molly Miao, the company releases between 700 and 1,000 new items a day!! This is NOT sustainable for our planet. The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of the global emissions.
Supporting fast fashion brands like SHEIN is harmful to our planet and they will only keep producing if we all keep buying. Here's a great article to read about SHEIN and their impact on our planet.
9. Dress for yourself and to not just wear the latest trend in order to “fit in” or be “stylish”. The rise of fashion influencers have led us to over consume. Trust me, I've been influenced and bought things I didn't really need, want or even like.
Now, I'm more mindful about how I consume fashion accounts on social media that are always influencing me to BUY. Not to bash on style influencers, they provide a great place for us to see reviews about clothes and fit, but it can also influence us to over consume.
Get clarity on your own style and what you actually need in your wardrobe. This is where a shopping list comes in handy and helps to keep you on track. Don't heedlessly buy what everyone else is wearing.
Now, if you are like me and like variety, just wear what you already love in fun new creative ways. I use Pinterest to inspire me to create new outfits from what I already own!
Here are 3 examples of me creating new outfits inspired by Pinterest using only what I already own!
I hope you found inspiration in my suggestions to start making some changes in your own wardrobe and consumption habits.
Which one will you start to implement? Comment below and let me know!