Can student rhyme with sustainability?

Iona Lowe debates the difficulties of sustainable shopping as a student.

Iona Lowe
10th October 2019
Image source : @traitspourtraits (Instagram)

Everyone loves a good trend. We all love to dress in a way that expresses ourself. The only natural response is to run to the nearest Primark and purchase something similar for the lowest price, knowing that in a few weeks said item will probably end up in the back of your wardrobe. But, as we know our shopping addiction is killing the earth, slowly and painfully.

But is it possible for the fashion industry to change? Is it possible for the student budget to cover such an expensive habit? Much like vegans, we are left in a bit of dilemma. Split between the planet and saving what little coins we may have in our purse.

Sustainable fashion is a huge movement, with several brands being showcased at this years LFW, and brands found in Fenwick’s also promote the health of the environment. But, if we want to live, this does not bring much help to the student table. There are of course eco-friendly brands such as ‘Thought’ which do relatively economical clothing, however a top would still dent the bank a considerate amount. There are the good old thrift stores, but I do not believe this is really sustainable. It is simply shopping for fast fashion clothing in a different environment. Same process. Lower price. Not ideal for those who want to make a difference.

Image source: @primark (Instagram)

However don’t get too disheartened, there is already a tactic which girls are more than familiar with. The sharing of one’s clothing. A simple method, yet an equally effective one. All you need is one similarly size individual and there you have it. No money and a happy (ier) planet.

There may be downfalls to communal clothing idea but it is sustainable and prevents the promotion of both fast fashion and a meagre planet. Whilst we all would like an extensive wardrobe filled with everything, knocking around and looking for what you need is more eco-friendly, and prevents all the useless clothing which will end up in the bin (or shoved in the back of wardrobe with the hope of being worn ) come spring when the trend moves on.

Another strategy would be to simply purchase less clothes, in the words of Vivienne Westwood ‘buy less, choose well’ Maybe five or six luxury pieces will be enough? After all a pair of jeans is a pair of jeans. Very few will realise if you change or not. Fashion is really all in the mind, most of the time others are far too worried about themselves.

Image source: Shattha Pilabut (Good Free Photos)

So like most of the eco-problems it would appear that while something is being done, the action itself is not sustainable. LFW may have exhibited over 10 sustainable brands in an attempt to promote the movement, but the brands in LFW are more works of art than everyday clothing. As students we can do little things to help the planet, but it is not always within the student budget to shop purely sustainable.

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