It’s no secret that most of us could stand to make more ethical fashion choices. But it can be daunting to figure out where to start and how to change your shopping habits.
The unfortunate thing is, unethical clothing is typically cheap and readily available, making it easy to continue buying piece after piece of “fast fashion”, clothing made quickly and inexpensively that’s only going to be worn for a short amount of time.
On the other hand, locally-made, high-quality clothing can be expensive if you don’t look in the right places. But with a little know-how, you can make more eco-conscious and ethical choices when it comes to your clothes.
Determine Your Priorities
There are many things to keep in mind when looking for ethical fashion. Do you want clothing that’s been made without harm to the environment? What about shopping for a brand that pays workers fair wages and provides them with a safe work environment?
It’s impossible to know what a brand stands for by just looking at the label, but there are several resources you can access that will help you better understand what a brand is all about.
These include RankaBrand, Knowthechain, and Ethical Consumer, sites that allow you to research a brand you may already love or get more information about a brand you’re curious about. It’s also a great way to find brands that stand for what you believe in and discover new companies you otherwise might never have known about.
If the brand you’re looking for isn’t listed on a site like this, do some online research into the company, its owners, and anything else you can find out about it. Chances are if they don’t acknowledge an ethical issue, they don’t operate in the most ethical of ways.
Shop Smarter, Less is More
De-cluttering is all over the news lately as people try to live with less stuff. This is something to think about when you’re shopping ethically. As you shop, think about items and how they’ll fit into your life. Do you have a purpose for the item or are you buying it impulsively?
Having too much clothing can be overwhelming and it’s likely you aren’t wearing everything regularly anyway. By investing in a quality piece or two that you love and have a lot of use for, getting dressed is simplified. Try and think about the life of any given piece of clothing.
If you know you won’t wear it often or can tell it will start falling apart before too long, consider these things before heading to the cash register, perhaps this isn’t something you should buy. Of course, you can have fun with fashion and try new things out, you just need to do it in sustainable ways.
Consider Second Hand Stores
One way to try out new styles while also saving money is by visiting local thrift shops and consignment stores. There are so many benefits to shopping secondhand. First, you’re putting money right back into your local economy. Unlike shopping at a big box store or mall, all the money you spend at a local second hand store helps the economy where you live and work.
At a secondhand store you can also find vintage, unique and past season items. After you do your research on ethical brands, you can shop for them at a thrift store as well. More often than not, the inventory in these stores sells for much less than it does at other retail outlets. Eco-friendly, budget-friendly and helping out the local economy – what’s there to lose?
You can also consider selling old clothing you no longer wear to one of these shops and checking out their stock with the money you make. You can be budget-friendly and refresh your wardrobe all at once.
Visit or Host a Clothing Swap
After you clean out your closet, you may find you have a lot of perfectly good clothing in need of a home. Instead of spending money, find a clothing swap and bring your items over there. If other people do the same, you may find some new favorites for yourself while someone else might fall in love with one of your old pieces you no longer care for.
If you can’t find a clothing swap, you can easily host your own. Invite a few friends over and have them extend the invitation to others as well. It’s a great way to socialize and get some new pieces at no cost to anyone. Then, you can donate or sell what’s left over.
If you find success with this method, you could host or alternate hosting them with the changing seasons so everyone has a chance to refresh their closets.
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