Did you know the fashion industry is one of the world’s most polluting? It creates more pollution than industrial dumpsites and chemical manufacturing. No wonder sustainability has gained millions of loyal followers throughout the last years. However, and as much as I’d love to own an entire sustainable wardrobe, I’ve found sustainable clothing to be on the pricier side, and having a limited budget myself, it’s hard for me to commit to an ethical wardrobe when I spend the same amount of money on one sustainable piece that I would spend on four or five pieces from H&M or Zara.
But, is this just a misconception? Is the sustainable movement really exclusive for people with higher incomes? It obviously makes sense for ethical fashion to cost more, considering the more intricate production process, the eco-friendly fabrics used and a fairly paid labor, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to spend more than you would in other stores.
There are tons of ways to be more aware of how fabrics and products affect the environment without splurging. Being sustainable is simply understanding how and where the pieces you wear are produced. Once you know what you’re putting your money into, you start caring more and making better and smarter choices. So, clearing that out, here are some easy ways to support the eco movement without spending one penny more.
/ LOOK FOR QUALITY,
Conscious consumerism can actually save you some money when done right. In my case, my non-sustainable pieces don’t last for too long. The fabrics usually rip, stretch or pill easily, after the third wash, so I need to be constantly replacing them every two months, resulting in excessive spending. On the other hand, my ethical pieces have lasted for years, looking as good as new after every wash, making me save some dollars on the long run.
This is not easy, but so worth it. We all want to wear a piece the moment we buy it, but buying off-season makes you save a lot of money and look forward to wearing it in the future. I found high-quality sweaters at incredible prices in May. I’ll have to wait to October to wear them, but I guarantee I’ll spend a lot less for great quality. Can’t wait to go swimwear shopping in December!
/ LOOK FOR
Most stores and brands offer discounts on the first order, for signing up, for re-tweeting, etc. There are tons of ways to have an extra % off, you just need to look for them. Follow your favorite ethical brands on social media and sign up to their newsletters, so you’re the first to know of their special sales. The easiest way to save some cash!
“BEING SUSTAINBLE IS SIMPLY UNDERSTANDING HOW AND WHERE THE PIECES YOU WEAR ARE PRODUCED.”
/ GO VINTAGE
I know vintage shopping isn’t for everyone, but you’d be amazed of the great pieces you may find that were used just a few times and at surprising prices. My high-end bags and accessories are all vintage, and they cost me less than a Primark shirt. There are tons of online stores, but I like the experience of going to an actual store and spending hours looking for that perfect whatever to complement my conscious closet. If you can’t do that or don’t have any vintage shops in your city, we recommend Vestiaire, The RealReal and ASOS Marketplace.
Explore your current wardrobe: read labels, organize drawers, separate clothes in piles (e.g. keep, sell, donate, etc.). Make more space in your closet for the pieces you actually love and use, and get rid of those you don’t. There are several charity shops that sell the clothes in good condition and recycle the rest. This is the best, most ethical way to get rid of what you don’t longer need.
Becoming eco-friendly doesn’t mean getting rid of everything you own and creating an entire new wardrobe from scratch. If you’re a millionaire, go ahead, but that’s not the idea. It’s about being more conscious and caring more for the environment, mixing and matching your sustainable pieces with others from high-street shops, paying close attention to fabrics and the production process, and taking small steps towards a cleaner planet.
These are some of our favorite ethical brands (some of them more affordable than others).
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