Unless you’ve been in hibernation for the past year, you will have noticed the buzz around sustainability and the need to look after the world a bit better than we have been.
No doubt you’ve seen the straw bans, the reusable cups and the ethically sourced skincare products flying around. But what about clothes? Being an avid shopper I hadn’t really thought too much into what my habit was doing for the environment, I just cared about those fabulous new boots!
But after doing some reading into manufacturing and watching The True Cost on Netflix, which is a must watch for anyone that wears clothes. I was shooketh. All this fast fashion is really buggering up the planet, not to mention the social and psychological aspects, low wage workers etc. It’s all pretty bleak.
There is an ongoing pressure to keep up with the latest trends, with free next day delivery and 50% off emails hitting my inbox on the regular, it’s almost impossible to not think – oh just one more midi skirt! But I was clearing out my wardrobe last week, after an ear bashing from Dem, and was shocked at the sheer amount of clothing that my wardrobe was harbouring, and there’s me buying more?!
After my clear out, I decided to put together a few tips for those, like me, that want to cut down on waste and shop more sustainably.
1. Charity shops
13-year-old me wouldn’t have shown my dream matte moussed face within 2 miles of a charity shop. My mum used to attempt to take me into various charity shops as a teenager and I’d run straight back out – what if my friends saw?! Little did 13-year-old me know, that 30-year-old me would be a thrift shop superfan!
There are some amazing finds to be had in charity shops, my latest find was a gorg pink roll neck jumper – 100% cotton and only £2. And it works both ways, I also like to give my unwanted items to charity or homeless shelters (if my sisters don’t get to my wardrobe first that is).
2. Seek out sustainable brands
I’m increasingly trying to shop from brands that produce clothes from recycled materials – which is shown on the labels (promise this is the only reason I spend my life in H&M). An example of a sustainable brand I’ve recently found is The Legwear Company who recently reached out and asked if I would like to trial their sustainable hosiery subscription box.
I jumped at the chance because A. I’m constantly laddering all my bloody tights and B. I want to incorporate more sustainable brands into my shopping habits.
The premise of what they offer is three pairs of tights delivered every three months which also have a three-month warranty, which is a world first – and a lot of threes! So no more chucking out badly laddered tights each week. Not only this but with each box they give you a prepaid returns label that gives you the chance to return any unwanted/old hosiery for them to recycle. This can be any brand, not just products purchased from them. They then recycle this material and save it from ending up in landfill.
I think they could be on to something here guys – the tights are great quality and hopefully will prove challenging to ruin, even for a laddering expert such as moi. Watch this space!
3. It’s vintage darling
There are so many great vintage markets around which are not only full of absolute gems but are totally affordable too. Just make sure you have a few hours to spare as it will take a while to search through the many racks. We found a great flea market in Peckham a few weeks back which is defo worth checking out (I say we, Dem walked in and saw the number of clothes and people and parked himself promptly outside with a pint).
4. Be an outfit repeater and accessorise like a boss
Go on, wear that cream jumper twice in a week – I dare ya. It can be hard to manage a steady stream of new outfits, particularly for all you grammers out there. But it just isn’t sustainable to wear something new every single day.
I for one do not have an endless supply of new clothing at my fingertips, despite being lucky enough to receive gifts from brands on occasions. I’ve started to give fewer fucks about outfit repeating of late. The key here is to mix and match – bags, hats, shoes, switch up that skirt, add a belt, add some statement earrings – voila.
5. Beware of the plastic fantastic
I’m trying to cut down on the fast fashion finds and instead opting for pieces that will last longer than the end of the week. That includes checking the care labels before purchasing (who even am I these days) to see what materials are used to make the clothing.
Yes that cute PLT jumper might only be £5 with free next day delivery but best believe it’s made from polyester and will make you sweat like you’re actually wearing a bin liner. It’s also probs not going to last too long and will end up in landfill quicker than you can say unlimited next delivery!
I’m not saying that I’m now an all singing all dancing sassy sustainable son of a witch, but I’m trying to make some positive swaps and I hope the above tips will help someone else to do the same! Have any of you made any sustainable swaps lately? Xo
*The products shown in this post were gifted, but all opinions are my own