Out-priced by Ethical Fashion Brands? Here’s the Solution
Ethical fashion is on everyone’s minds at the moment. More and more people are starting to boycott fast fashion after educating themselves on the environmental and ethical problems within the industry. The documentary The True Cost was a big eye opener for many when exposing the dirty trail our clothes leave behind.
Fashion shouldn’t cost the Earth. Literally.
But is this movement towards ethical fashion actually realistic for most people? My honest opinion. No. Not yet.
The majority of ethical fashion brands are at a high price point. At this time, these ethical fashion items are basically being treated as a luxury, not a commodity. And how are we, everyday people, supposed to build a collection of clothes if they’re all luxury? Some may see a plain t-shirt costing £100 as an investment, but for many it is completely unrealistic. Our entire wardrobe cannot be centered around that one top so even if we did purchase it, most would find their funds so drained that they couldn’t buy another ethical piece for a long time. Therefore, getting lured back in by the low prices of our beloved high street. It’s a vicious cycle that makes us feel guilty for going against what we believe we should do.
The key is not pressuring people into feeling like they are failing by not buying a fully ethical wardrobe. It’s awareness that’s more important. And actively trying to take any manageable small steps towards sustainable fashion.
Search Second Hand First
If you’re looking for something specific (or even if you’re looking for a casual browse) look for second hand options before shopping new. It’s a process that can be more time consuming, waiting for your size to pop up, but it is so rewarding. Depop, eBay and ASOS Marketplace are our top picks for secondhand and you can’t forget about your local vintage stores and charity shops.
Just last week I searched EVERYWHERE for the perfect dark green winter coat I was imagining in my head. And I mean everywhere. I almost considered paying for the designer option because I couldn’t find a cheaper one. Then I scored an excellent condition second hand designer one on eBay for only £45. It was exactly what I was looking for and 82% cheaper than RRP. Miracles do happen people.
Think before you buy
It really is that simple. Even if you are limited to buying in cheaper fast fashion stores, this is a simple practice to ensure you’re buying what you need. Run through a mental checklist before wandering over to the tills:
Do I need this item in my collection?
Does it go with the things I already own?
Am I only buying it because it’s on sale?
Am I impulse buying because I’m looking for something last minute?
Being self-aware of what you’re purchasing avoids you wasting money on those clothes sitting in the back of your wardrobe with the tags still on. And more importantly avoids the unnecessary environmental impact.
Think about the fabric too. When polyester is washed in washing machines, they shed microfibres that add to the increasing levels of plastic in our oceans. These microfibres are so small that they pass through filters easily but they don’t biodegrade. They present a serious threat to our aquatic life and can accumulate in the food chain.
Donating unwanted clothes to charity is nothing new to many (although an alarming amount of people still don’t even do that), but what do we do with the ones deemed unworthy of donating? Those bobbly, worn out or ripped fabrics? I bet most of us just throw them away.
But with so many clothing recycling points across the UK, and with lots more popping up, why not throw the worse for wear items in there instead.
The best textile to look for when purchasing clothing is recycled content, even above organic cotton. This reduces the pressure of the virgin resources all whilst tackling the problem of managing our existing waste.
Whether it’s a small informal get together with friends and family where you swap clothes and shoes or a larger organised community event if no one in your circle is the same size. Clothes swapping is sometimes called Swishing and if you’re struggling to find your own local event, why not create your own? The official website lays out lots of information and resources about setting up your own event.
Let’s all educate ourselves, not turn a blind eye and make those small changes to our lifestyle. Because fashion shouldn’t cost the Earth.