As buyers, we are constantly looking at new fashion trends and continually encouraged to buy more by trendy brands and fashion houses. Even now the life span of fashion is getting considerably shorter and shorter with more and more waste. With 300,000 tonnes of clothing sent to landfill every year in the UK, with most clothing being cheap and of low quality, resulting in quick wear and being easily disposable. Only to be replaced by another new t-shirt or pair of trousers.
The best way to be more sustainable when it comes to clothing and fashion is to buy your clothing second-hand. You are giving old clothing a new lease of life, it's affordable and you'll be recycling instead of buying into fast fashion.
There are several ways you can buy second-hand clothing:
A lot of cities in the UK now have vintage kilo sales popping up at universities where good quality and donated clothing is sold on for low prices in order to recycle and to contribute to sustainable fashion culture. At these vintage kilo sales brands such as Levis, Fila, Lacoste and North Face can be found, alongside unique vintage pieces and all for around £10 to £15 per kilo. So fill your bag with as much as you can and grab a bargain with a clear conscience, knowing you have consumed consciously. I personally have found some great gems while browsing through a vintage sale and with all items priced by the kilo you aren’t breaking the bank either.
A lot of clothing gets donated to charity with expensive brands such as Levis being found on sale for prices such as £8. A lot of people get rid of their unwanted clothing by recycling instead of contributing to landfill. So someone is able to enjoy and make use of the piece again and again. And...it's always fun going rack to rack searching for hidden gems.
Depop and eBay are great apps for second-hand clothes shopping and affordability. Most clothing put on Depop and eBay are second hand and are great quality - a lot of the time it's only been worn once or twice. Thus, creating a sustainable fashion cycle.
Support Ethical Brands
Buying fashion brands that recycle and have sustainable policies are the best to purchase from. Every time you buy from them you'll consciously know you are being more ethical and helping the environment, by reducing waste. Also, by purchasing clothing from these brands, they might be more expensive in the short time but they are likely to last a lot longer in terms of quality, and therefore less disposable fashion.
There are several brands you can buy from including Levis, People Tree, TOMS, H&M, Zara, eBay and Alternative Apparel. Who are all working towards methods of ethical and sustainable buying, such as H&M's Conscious Exclusive Collection and Zara's 'Join Life' initiative, with both fashion brands encouraging customers to bring in unwanted garments to be recycled and reused.
Brands To Avoid
There are several brands to avoid when wanting to shop more sustainably for clothing. With big names such as Primark, Uniqlo, Boohoo, Missguided, Pretty Little Thing, Urban Outfitters and Victoria Secret being found to contribute to unethical practices and disposable fashion.
Boohoo especially has been found to promote throwaway (wear it once and throw it away) and disposable fashion culture and has around 36,000 products on their website at one time, promoting fast fashion with cheap labour and cheap prices. Along with brands such as Primark and Missguided being found to follow the same practices.
There are numerous ways we can shop more sustainably and contribute to less harmful waste. Thus, a good first step is avoiding unethical brands and instead of shopping for second-hand clothing.