Practicing sustainable fashion

Olivia Kelly investigates sustainable fashion in light of Stacey Dooley's 2018 documentary...

Olivia Kelly
13th May 2019

Articles on the damaging effects of fast fashion and the promotion of sustainable consumption are becoming ever more present within the fashion world. Stacey Dooley’s documentary ‘Fashion’s Dirty Secrets’, aired in October 2018, unveiled shocking facts about the clothing industry and reached a wide audience. Its aim was to raise awareness of the damaging impacts that the way we consume fashion has on people and the environment. Its prevalence in the media has clearly shown success in educating consumers.

After conducting research assessing the extent to which young people are aware and concerned with the sustainable consumption of fashion, it was evident that an overwhelming 78% of survey respondents had heard of the term ‘sustainable consumption’. This is, undoubtedly, a positive outcome. However, consumers simply being aware does not necessarily equate to people taking effective action. It is important to mention that there are many reasons contributing to this, yet one that was repeatedly stated was the issue surrounding convenience.

We are living in a digital age, constantly being able to connect with people across the globe on a range of platforms leading to the blurring of work and home. Everything is fast paced resulting in people not switching off. This connects to the way in which we consume as one interviewee stated “it’s easy to click on your phone and pick something you like, press a button and it will be there the next day.” Students with lots of deadlines, particularly those in the third year writing their dissertations, don’t necessarily want to take the time to sift through charity shops or as another interviewee said, “you don’t want to have to do your own research, especially if you are pressed for time.” It’s much more convenient to stay in the library, type in what are looking for and have it arrive the next day. This shows that brands need to make sustainable options more convenient before there is a shift in consumer habits.

One optimistic trend is that the younger generation are clearly interested and show signs of wanting to do more to consume sustainably. However, they have found it hard to find sustainable options on the high-street at an affordable price point so say it is something they will consider changing their habits after university. To combat this we have presented some tips to make it easy for you to choose a sustainable option.

To get you started, some convenient and more sustainable options that aren’t going to break the bank:

1. Asos Market Place, Depop, Thrift+ Store and Ebay – Second hand clothes are a far more sustainable option lengthening the lifetime of the clothes and reducing the amount going to waste/landfill. Asos Market place have their own sustainable edit making it very convenient for you to browse.

2. Swap your next pair of Nike Air Force 1’s or air maxes for a pair of Veja trainers. Cannot deny that these are slightly more expensive but in comparison to a lot of other options out there, they are much more attainable.

3. Pouches and backpacks for all your library essentials made with surplus materials go to Abella London.

4. Summer is soon approaching, get this summer’s swimwear at WEEKDAY. Their bikinis swimming costumes and trunks are made with between 69% and 100% recycled polyester depending on the item. Not all completely sustainable but a great way to start.

5. If you do have a spare moment and want to head into town, visit the charity shops on Clayton street, Salvation Army and PDSA are hotspots for hidden gems.

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