Honest, Practical, Style Advice

Is it possible to buy fast fashion more sustainably?







Is it possible to buy fast fashion more sustainably?

According to the UN the fashion industry is responsible for 8-10% of global emissions which is more than aviation and shipping combined. And did you know that British shoppers buy more clothes than any others in Europe (BBC News).

So, we should all be acting more sustainably. But it’s all well and good having great intentions to buy more sustainably but what if you’re on a budget? Most truly sustainable garments are out of most people’s price bracket and just feel unaffordable – so is it possible to buy fast fashion more sustainably? Here’s what you need to think about –

Start with your wardrobe! Whenever I go to a client, I can guarantee to find new outfit options by being creative and looking with a fresh pair of eyes. You’ve got it in there – possibilities you haven’t already tried. Think about looking at Instagram or Pinterest to get some idea about how other people develop their style. Get a friend to help you review your wardrobe and then reciprocate. You might even find you end up swapping some pieces.

It’s all about how much you wear a garment. If it sits in your wardrobe unworn then of course it’s not a sustainable purchase regardless where you bought it from. If on the other hand it’s regularly worn and forms part of your capsule wardrobe then it’s representing good cost per wear. It’s those things in your wardrobe that you don’t wear regularly are the culprits, so think carefully before you buy. Avoid those spur-of-the-moment purchases, those impulse buys because it’s an absolute bargain, instead make sure every purchase is carefully considered.

Ask yourself –

  • Will I wear this 30 times? (Yes, that’s the guide to effective cost per wear according to Livia Firth, co-founder of Eco-Age and I agree with her). I’ve read that a British study has suggested that on average we wear an item only 7 times before ditching it. When clothes are cheaper it is easier to dispose of them and of course they weren’t made to last in the first place. So, buying better quality will definitely help to extend the life of your clothes.


  • What will it go with already in my wardrobe? Don’t think about a piece of clothing as an individual garment but as part of an outfit. Before you make that purchase consider what’s in your wardrobe that it will go with and how you’d wear and accessorise it. Ideally you want to come up with 3 different outfit options.


  • Will I want it tomorrow? Sleeping on it can be helpful. Do you keep thinking about it or has it slipped from your mind during your daily activities? This pause can put a stop on that dopamine hit we experience when shopping. Who knows, you might get home to realise that you’ve already got something similar!


  • Is it just a trend? Is your pang of desire driven by its popularity or will it truly suit your style personality, wardrobe needs and body shape?


  • What’s it made from? Did you know that over 60% of our clothes are made from petroleum based plastic fibres? That includes acrylic and polyester, which are non-biodegradable so won’t disintegrate in landfill. They also release plastic microfibres that can end up in the ocean. (To read more about this – https://luxiders.com/do-recycled-plastics-belong-in-the-fashion-industry/)


Instead opt for organic and natural fibres where you can, there not without there issues but are definitely kinder to the planet and are biodegradable.

The answer is buying less more wisely. According to research by Leeds Uni and Arup buying a maximum of 8 new items a year could reduce fashion’s emissions by 37% in the world’s major cities.

Of course, it’s one thing to know the facts, and another to actually change your lifestyle and shopping habits to reflect your values. So, if you need some help, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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