Earth Day: Top tips for more sustainable shopping habits

With Earth Day and Fashion Revolution Week having just happened, how can you change your shopping habits for the better?

Grace Bamforth
11th May 2023
Image: Instagram @actionhappiness
Summer is coming up and it’s difficult to resist the cute sets appearing all over your TikTok, especially as the North East sun begins to shine. But, with fashion is the second largest polluter in the world, how can you shop more practically? 

This can feel impossible. With the cost-of-living crisis, many of us have been forced to shop at cheaper, fast fashion brands. However, this is what is causing our environment, as well as unethical treatment in third world countries, to skyrocket. 

Image: Instagram @goodclothesfairpay

Today’s society in particular puts pressures on us to think we need a new outfit for every occasion, especially with social media hauls and adverts constantly popping up whilst scrolling through Instagram. Not to mention influencer culture, such as with the Molly-Mae jacket from Zara which has recently blown up online. I love fashion, but having a new outfit for every occasion is starting to feel unnecessary. 

I love fashion, but having a new outfit for every occasion is starting to feel unnecessary

There is something extremely capitalist screaming out to me when I think I need to constantly buy new things. Because let’s be real, who’s actually going to notice that you’re wearing the same top you wore last night out? 

Image: Instagram @twinbrett

But like many people, I have always found shopping sustainable more expensive and time consuming. However, the climate crisis is making me want to re-think my shopping habits. So, here are a few tips I have found which seem much more accessible and probably cheaper overall than that SHEIN order which took weeks to come.

Educate yourself about how to shop sustainably:

I have found the GoodOnYou Guide online to be extremely useful, as it gives ratings on different brands based upon people, planet and animals. Also, have a look at the materials - choose more natural materials, which can be recycled and won’t go into landfill or into our oceans. Stop buying large orders - have a rethink and see if you already have that same type of outfit sat in your wardrobe and create new combos with it. Buy better quality clothing over quantity, as this is more practical and allows you to get more wear out of something. It may seem more expensive but in the long run it will last you much longer!

With the cost-of-living crisis, many of us have been forced to shop at cheaper, fast fashion brands

Learn to upcyle:

Image: Instagram @best.dressed

Have a go at repairing your clothing or making it into something new. This will become a new hobby and will prevent you from throwing away clothing rather than buying a cheap top from Pretty Little Thing which will only last you a couple of wears.  

Buy second-hand:

If you need an outfit, buy from second-hand clothing stores. Charity shops are perfect, keeping clothing in circulation whilst also getting a bargain price for clothes. In Newcastle there are several charity shops which have great clothing: British Red Cross, Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation and Oxfam - these are perfect for our student budgets. Not to mention the several vintage stores to easily pop into with high ratings, such as Flip Vintage American Clothing, The Yesterdays Society Vintage Boutique, Waceland and Vintage Scene Newcastle. I also personally love Depop and Vinted online second-hand shopping. Or, swap clothes with your friends! Ask if they want any of your clothes before you give them to charity shops, or even just wear and alternate each other’s clothing.

Once you have done some of these, buying less, more sustainable and only buying when you really need, will massively help to lesson the burden that the fashion industry has on the environment. Plus, no one needs a new outfit to go to the same nightclub you go to every Wednesday. 

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