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Ways to source your clothes more ethically

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Photo is from unsplash

Apologies for the short break, but uni work seemed to get on top of me this term since I've officially started my final undergrad year! A while ago I did a post about how you could show your support and passion for causes through your wardrobe choices, that you could pledge support through thinking carefully about what you wear. Recently I’ve re-read this post and thought more on the topic of fashion and charity; not only that but the impact that the fashion industry itself has on the environment. The fashion industry is the second largest polluting industry in the world, only second to the fossil fuel, fast fashion especially is responsible for a large part of this. This impact started me thinking about my own wardrobe choices and the ways that I could minimise my own fashion carbon footprint which I have now decided to share with you.

Second-Hand Stars

The simplest way to reduce your contribution to wastage is not buying things brand new. Now this change not only benefits the environment but also your bank balance since second hand is so much cheaper than brand new. Most of my clothes now come from either ebay auctions or charity shops, meaning they have been previously loved, but they can continue getting wear! Obviously not every trip to the charity shop will be as successful as a trip to primark or new look but you can find some real gems. Just the other week I actually got a pair of topshop mom jeans for £3 from the charity shop which is less than a fraction of the price of a brand new pair! This not only reduces the production of the clothing in mass slightly but also decreases the pull it will have on your purse strings so really everyone wins! With this as well, not only are you cutting out the chemicals used in the production of new clothes, but you also cut down the air miles.

Small local shops and transparent brands

Another way to benefit others, not by buying their preowned clothing but by buying from independent or small clothing stores. A lot of smaller stores nowadays actually use locally sourced products or organic cottons to make sure that your clothing will last and that the damage to the environment is fairly minimal when compared to larger stores. The increase in the number of people wanting to go more ethical with clothing has also created a growing market for these smaller stores due to the demand for this kind of clothing. People are wanting more transparency with their purchases, transparency and trust that these stores can provide more than larger chains can. Whilst researching for this post I found a post on Moralfibres which listed 35 ethical places to shop with rough price guide lines. This post I find to be a good starting point to explore what’s out there and in your price range since the need for quality and ethically sourced materials does make some of the clothing a little pricey.

Make it yourself

A more creative way to truly make your own pieces of clothing is by sewing them yourself. I know, this is easier said than done but if you can sew it’s a fun way to make something you’d be happy to wear. Obviously this one takes the longest amount of time out of these ways to reduce your fashion carbon footprint, but with a little patience you could create something that’s truly yours. Plus, you may even find yourself a new hobby on the way, a useful one at that since sewing is a pretty good life skill to have. I’ve only repaired clothes so far, but I have a plan to rework some pieces in my wardrobe I’m no longer reaching for so stay tuned about that since if I am successful, they may appear in a post.

Swap Shops with friends

Now I've seen actual events dedicated to this practice in posts on other blogs like WhatLydDid's post on the swap shop event in Burnley, but I also thought it could be a fun activity to do amongst friends. When clearing out your closets, all get together and see if there's anything in particular that you want to trade. Obviously, you won't always be successful, but it's a completely cost-free way of updating outfits, not only that but does nothing to fuel the fast-fashion industry. Plus it's just a fun night in, almost like sleepovers when you're a kid where you all did makeovers on each other using clothes and sleeping bags.

These are only a few ways to reduce your impact on the environment through making changes to how you choose your wardrobe. I’d love to hear your suggestions of ways to improve your fashion choices so your wardrobe is much cleaner. If you’ve tried any of these suggestions too I’d love to know what your favourite way of shopping cleaner is! 

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