10 Tips for Avoiding Fast Fashion

Today, we welcome Jane Marsh, editor-in-chief of Environment.co to discuss how we can avoid ‘fast fashion’ and build a more ethical and sustainably-made wardrobe.

Fast fashion has made the headlines, but have you made any changes to avoid it in your life?

It’s difficult to believe that anyone is knowingly choosing clothing made from low-quality materials and toxic chemicals. Many people don’t realise that popular clothing brands underpay workers or employ underage children. They purchase clothing because it’s cheap or eye-catching, but the truth is that these products won’t last.

Instead of hoping for unethical companies to change, take a stand and use these 10 tips to avoid fast fashion entirely.

1. Shop Sustainable Brands

Everyone needs to buy clothes occasionally, so when you do, focus on purchasing from sustainable brands. It may take some time and research, but there are many outstanding companies looking to do right by the world and their employees. While the prices may be higher than what you’d usually pay, it’s better to invest more now so that you can enjoy a product that will last for years.

2. Avoid Cheap Materials

Synthetic materials like polyester, acrylic and nylon are cheap to produce and common in fast fashion. Besides being energy-intensive materials that use toxic chemicals, they release fibres during the wash cycle, known as micro-plastics. These micro-plastics go down the drain and make their way into the environment.

Look on clothing labels and choose items made of natural fibres like wool, cotton, hemp or silk. If you want to choose a synthetic material, look for products made from recycled objects like water bottles.

3. Make Your Own

When you shop from a big box store, you can only guess where products are produced. Instead, learn how to make clothing and put the fashion control back into your hands. You can easily find free tutorials online or try an online learning platform like Skillshare for more detailed lessons.

4. Maximize Your Wardrobe

It’s challenging to know what you need without taking inventory of your clothing selection. If you lay everything out, you’ll be able to take stock of what you own and what you’d like to purchase. You should consider making a capsule wardrobe to maximise your outfits. Capsule wardrobes help you to build timeless collections of versatile clothing and accessories.

5. Source Secondhand Clothes

Secondhand shopping is a lot like treasure hunting. You never know what you might find while browsing thrift stores, garage sales and vintage shops. When you source these items, you give them a second life and save them from the landfill. If you prefer to shop online, look into online marketplaces like Facebook or Depop.

6. Question Your Impulse

Before you click buy or toss something into your cart, question the root of your impulse. Why do you want the item, and do you need it? Many times this one minute of pondering helps you to decide against ordering the item. Remember, every time you pass on a product, you are saving energy and resources.

7. Make a List

If you make a list of items you’d like to purchase, it’s easier to search secondhand shops before buying a brand-new item. Plus, you may decide you don’t truly need all of the things you’ve written down. In practice, if you look back on the list in a few weeks and have forgotten about the item, it’s probably worth skipping.

8. Swap Clothes With Friends

Remember, sharing is caring. Before you order a new dress for a one-time event, ask your friends if you can borrow their clothes. Swapping products is a great way to change up your wardrobe while saving money and protecting the environment. If you don’t know anyone your size, look into online Facebook groups in your area to see if anyone is up for a clothing swap.

9. Choose a New Hobby

Shopping for fun is not sustainable, even if you are choosing eco-friendly products. Try looking into other hobbies and sources of gratification. Most people who love to shop develop an addiction to the process rather than the products, so they continue to buy long after they have enough items. Look for hobbies that you can do with the objects you already own.

10. Recycle and Repurpose Your Clothes

Even if you’ve fallen into the fast fashion trap in the past, you can still choose to recycle and repurpose your existing items. Look on sites like Pinterest and Youtube for crafting inspiration. Once they’ve worn out, make the change to sustainable products to beat the cycle.

Join the Movement

With these 10 tips, you can avoid fast fashion and join the thousands of people prioritising sustainability. Why wait? Go to your closet and see what changes you need to make. You can make a difference by voting with your dollars and starting meaningful conversations about sustainable shopping.

Author Bio:

Jane works as the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she covers environmental news and sustainable living tips.