Shocking statistics recently revealed the scale of Shein’s polluting tide of ultra-fast fashion, but what can we do as consumers to put a cork in this worrying trend?
Chances are if you’re reading this blog, you’re someone who revels in the exaltation which fashion can bring. Brushing up, looking your best and curating a personal style to be proud of are pleasures which anyone who adores clothes can understand.
Image credit: impakter.com
Showing off your multifaceted self through all manner of threads and having a conscious closet are not mutually exclusive. The word ‘sustainable’ can sometimes summon up khaki-coloured, hemp-woven earthchild imagery and — while there’s nothing wrong with a bit of that — dressing sustainably can also be chic, expansive and — dare I say it — fun.
Although the environmental concerns of fast fashion are certainly grave, shopping sustainably doesn’t have to suck the festivity out of fashion.
1. Treasure the Timeless
Image credit: The Shirt Company The Melody Shirts drapey lines have a timeless quality that can swim across a multitude of eras.
The fashion press might write it in a million different ways to make every year’s clothing seem fresh and exciting, but what they are really trying to say is that true style is timeless.
Yes, fashion moves in cycles, but the key elements are always there. If you deconstruct even the most out-there hipster outfit into individual pieces, you’ll find classic building blocks.
This goes for shoes and accessories too. The belt with a chunky silver buckle, the white trainer, the platform boot. They have all sung through multiple eras and styles — it’s how you put them together which makes the symphony.
2. Wear Your Favourites as Much as You Like!
Image credit: Instagram.com/ajabarber Author stylist and consultant, Aja Barber, shows us how it should be done in her 21 year old denim shirt
Your favourites are your favourites for a reason and you should do them a service by wearing them as much as you damn well like! Gone are the overblown consumerist undertones of the early 00s which tried to shame us for having the audacity to wear the things we happen to like the most too much.
Slow fashion activist, Venetia La Manner, reminds us that old gems which have stood the test of time are a cause for celebration and champions “Old Outfit of the Day” which is a cause we can get behind!
3. Demand Fit Perfection
Image credit: Instagram.com/Shannydoots “not-quite-plus-size” sustainable fashion icon Shannon demonstrates the power of a good fit
If it doesn’t fit you in a way that makes you feel like a million dollars despite the janky fitting room lighting, don’t buy it.
4. Up Your Quality Control
Buying something you absolutely adore and then watching it turn to tatters over the space of a year or two is just depressing. I still remember some garments I bought with my Saturday job cash as a teenager which my stitch-based life support system just couldn’t save because they were shoddily made.
Thankfully, we are adults now and have the luxury of spending a little more so our beloved buys can live for decades. Hurrah!
5. Buy Less
Image credit: Instagram.com/kissenundkarma Corinna showcases the same items for years to celebrate the concept of buying less while being undeniably cool. Take that capitalism!
If you’re adhering to the principles above, you’ll naturally buy less but gain more from having a stunning wardrobe you love wearing every piece of. Win win!
6. Become a Second Hand Style Queen
Image credit: Instagram.com/venetialamanna Slow fashion advocate Venetia Lamanna styles out claims that sustainability is boring with her inventive looks
Dying for a bit of filthy polyester or guilty-pleasure leather in your life? Buy it second hand! We don’t always want to wear the most elevated looks in organic cotton, but indulging in the style equivalent of junk food is much more sustainable if we save it from landfill and buy second hand.
7. Shop with Your Sense of Touch
There’s a reason ultra-fast fashion thrives in the online sphere, because if you touched it on a rail you would wince. Shop with your sense of touch and seek out fabrics which make your fingertips quiver with joy. Your skin and the planet will thank you!