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Consumer Behavior

A fashion enthusiast’s guide to sustainable shopping

words by: Natasha Marsh
Feb 7, 2020

Our planet is literally diminishing. Harsh, I know – but the fact is, dangerous floods and fires, melting glaciers, endangered rainforests, and rising sea levels have become the norm. 

The fashion industry alone produces 150 billion garments a year and 2.5 billion of that gets thrown into landfills. It really is our collective responsibility to reduce the waste and overconsumption issue we are currently faced with. And since we get that this responsibility is overwhelming, we compiled a quick to-do list on how you can live a more sustainable life. 

… do you actually want that?

How often have you bought something that maybe lasted a season? When you realized it was no longer needed in your closet, you felt OK disposing of it, knowing you hadn’t spent much on it. It’s time to end this bad habit and adjust our shopping habits. Instead of shopping on a whim, or buying due to a sale, we need to purchase necessities and not wants. The next time you’re galavanting around a store, or for millennial purposes, online – ask yourself: do I already have this? What purpose will it serve? How long will it last? 

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Value over price

Choosing between a $35 off-brand sweater and a $125 designer sweater is a no-brainer for some of us. Fast fashion or the plethora of cheaper options we are bombarded with daily, keeps up with the demand via cheap labor, chemical-based fabrics, and unsafe working conditions.

Selecting the $35 sweater is good for your wallet but not for the planet. 

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Read your labels

Similar to food labels, if you can’t pronounce the material in your clothes, odds are you should drop the item and keep shopping. Materials like polyester, nylon, and acrylic can take up to 1,000 years to decompose – making up a large percentage of current landfills. Instead, opt for clothing in silk, cotton, wool, hemp, or cashmere. Again, it might be costly on your bank account but we guarantee you the cost on our planet is far worse. 

 

Do your research

With our current climate, it’s no surprise that sustainable fashion is trending. However, like many trends, brands have been too quick to jump on the bandwagon.

Take for example, Everlane and their latest “no new plastics” campaign details their use of recycled polyesters and plastics. Although many were happy with the recycled polyester materials, in reality, all polyesters (even recycled ones) shed microfibers – ending up in our water, food, and rain when clothes are washed. It’s important to know what sustainable initiatives are embedded in your favorite retailers. But talk is cheap, it’s even more important to know if they walk the walk. 

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Social media is a tool

In the event that you don’t want to stop shopping brands because they don’t commit to an eco-friendly model, why not engage with them on social media? Many big companies have teams monitoring social media and if they see a large number of us speaking out on a specific issue, they just might take note. 

 

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