Do you love fashion, and are you concerned about how the industry is affecting the environment? Do you want to know how you, as a consumer, can help the positive changes we need to come about? Then this article is for you. Below, we’ll give you our three best tips to nudging retailers in a more sustainable direction – simply by changing how you shop.
Refusing to participate in fast fashion consumption is a great first step to take towards greener shopping habits. Simply put, fast fashion is all about providing consumers with the cheapest clothing possible – at the cost of working conditions, keeping emissions down and the overall quality of the produced items. All in all, a terrible deal for our planet.
While cheaper clothing may seem like a great idea if you’re struggling financially – and/or want to participate in fleeting trends without breaking the bank – they’re a short-term solution that won’t pay off in the long run. Instead, save both your money and the environment by either buying secondhand or spending a bit more on items that’ll last longer.
If you’re finding it hard to break the habit, you don’t have to go cold turkey immediately. Start by investing in durable, quality basics that will neither wear out nor go out of style for many years to come – and limit your fast fashion purchases to trendy pieces that won’t be in long enough for you to need to replace them. Once you’ve gotten used to questioning whether you really love a trend before buying it, you’ll find that you actually don’t need them as much as you thought. And when you make fewer trendy purchases, you’ll find that you have more money to invest in quality versions of them made with sustainability in mind.
When looking for quality basics, keep an eye out for timeless cuts and styles, versatility and eco-friendly, long-lasting materials. For instance, you’ll find excellent bamboo versions of pretty much any basic clothing item out there. Instead of buying cheap cotton tops and T-shirts that’ll have holes in no time, bamboo both lasts way longer and is much softer. The same goes for socks made of bamboo as well as underwear, which possess antibacterial properties, making it almost odorless and hypoallergenic – and with its exceptionally soft fibers, bamboo is also great for people with sensitive skin and diabetes.
In and of itself, online shopping may sound like a huge no-go for people trying to shop sustainably. After all, it takes huge amounts of packaging to safely deliver goods, which need to be transported long distances, emitting plenty of CO2. Online shopping also encourages frequent impulse purchases – which often results in returns, thus doubling the emissions. But in reality, the environmental impact depends entirely on how you go about it – and if you do it right, online shopping can actually be more environmentally friendly than certain types of traditional retail.
The carbon footprint of online shopping is its main issue. To reduce this, you as a consumer can, for instance, pick slower delivery options that allow retailers to fully load delivery vehicles before they have to leave. Grouping all your purchases into one order instead of several small ones is also a great step to take – and if you use online shopping to replace your car trips to stores instead of supplementing them, you limit the CO2 emissions of your shopping to the delivery vehicles.
To sum up: When shopping online, always go for the option that makes for as little packaging and as few car trips or flights as possible – and gives retailers the time to fully load delivery vehicles before they ship off. The more efficient the solution, the greener it gets.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.