By now you probably know some of the negative impacts that fast fashion has on our planet. But here comes the hard part: actually avoiding these shops that seem to be all over the streets and invading your inbox! So, the question is: how do you resist the impulse of cheap fashion with its quick highs to which many of us are addicted to?
We’re all guilty of falling for cheap clothing and feeling remorseful afterwards… We’re not going to focus on that; the important part here is that you want to make the change to a more sustainable lifestyle. As Elizabeth Cline said in her book “Overdressed,” “I liken my own transition from fast fashion to slow fashion as dieting, as it initially felt depriving before it evolved into a fulfilling lifestyle change.” It takes time and practice to make big changes in your life, and so here are some things you can do to facilitate this transition.
First, you should remove temptation. Unsubscribe and unfollow brands that you have decided to avoid—social media marketing can be very pervasive. The less you’ll see it, the less you’ll think about it, the less you’ll buy it.
Before going shopping, sort out (and sell or donate) your unused clothes. After having decluttered your wardrobe you’ll have a better idea of what to shop for based on what you don’t already have. And, who knows, maybe in the process you’ll find some old clothes that you could mend or restyle and still wear!
Also before you shop, research sustainable brands and identify the right places to buy from. We suggest looking at the Good on You brand rating system to see if a brand is truly doing good sustainable work. Choose ones that care about their environmental and social impact, but be wary of greenwashing. When a company puts out new collections every week at low prices, it’s definitely greenwashing (hint, hint, H&M Conscious Collection).
While you are out shopping, learn to just browse. Appreciate looking at clothes without the need to always buy something. If you like something, keep it in the back of your mind. If you still want it within a few weeks to a month, then go for it! Also before buying new items of clothing, check out secondhand stores, like thrift and charity shops, that have unique pieces for low prices. Vintage stores are also a great alternative; there you can find clothes that are of a better quality than those at retail stores and usually more durable since they were made to last.
Finally, and probably most importantly, don’t be hard on yourself; it’s okay if you fall back sometimes. Just being more aware and mindful of your purchases makes you a better consumer. Also how you buy is more important than what you buy; you shouldn’t deprive yourself of anything. If you really like something, you know it’s going to last, and you’ll wear it and love it for many years, then buy it! Sustainable fashion is all about choosing quality over quantity and avoiding impulsive purchases. Changing the way you shop will lead you to a better wardrobe and you’ll no longer feel like you have nothing to wear.