I made the decision last year that fast fashion would no longer be part of my life. What I viewed as impossible became surprisingly simple...
So, what is fast fashion? It is essentially cheap, trendy clothes that tends to fill high-street brands. These brands take inspiration from the latest fashion trend and convert them into cheap clothing at a rapid speed. The idea being that consumers will only wear items a handful of times and then discard them, in favour of a new trend. After all, its cheap so why not?
This industry has a devastating impact on our planet. Not only does this throwaway culture cause a huge amount of waste, the production of this clothing results in harmful products being released into the environment, like toxic dyes and microfibres containing plastic. This industry also has a human cost, with garment workers being significantly underpaid and often forced to work in unsafe conditions. All in all, it is not something I want to be associated with anymore.
But where an earth do you start? For someone like myself, who was a firm Primark and New Look lover, the process of moving away from this industry was daunting. But it is doable and today, I am going to show you how...
Do your research
Know your why. Understand the impacts of the fast fashion industry and why you want to move away from it. Learn how to spot fast fashion retailers and what makes brands ethical. As consumers are becoming more conscious, brands are trying to tap into this. Beware 'greenwashing'. This is when companies try and make people believe that they are doing more to protect the environment that they actually are. These brands tend to be deliberately vague and, even if they have one 'conscious' range, it is unlikely to negate the overall damage of a fast fashion company. Ahem, H&M...
I feel like I am becoming a broken record with this on my blog, but its so much easier to stay on your path if you remove temptation. Unsubscribe, unfollow and scroll past any content from fast fashion retailers. Stop browsing online and avoid enticing shop windows. Free yourself from this influence to allow yourself space to make intentional shopping decisions.
Declutter and find style
*Puts on minimalist hat*. Jokes aside, embracing sustainable fashion comes hand in hand with minimalism. Part of the reason we are so tempted to purchase new items is that we are unsatisfied with our own wardrobe and struggling to define our sense of style. Without style parameters, everything becomes a potential purchase.
Having a defined style makes shopping far simpler and your wardrobe more streamlined. It encourages you to invest in quality clothing that really brings you joy. Being 'stylish' is different to being 'trendy', as it's completely unique to you and often timeless. I've written my tips on creating a capsule wardrobe here. I've also taken inspiration from other minimalists, such as Blogger/YouTubers 'A small wardrobe' and 'Jessica Rose Williams'. If you want to be taken through this process step by step, then I would recommend the book 'The curated closet', where you can start finding your own style from scratch.
Create a brand directory
Now that you know how to spot fast fashion, its time to find some more sustainable alternatives. Find brands that are transparent about their policies. I'd recommend the app 'Good on you', which rates brands on people, planet and animals and is an excellent way to quickly check a brand's ethics before making a purchase. Once you've found brands you like, make a record of them so that you can return to them when you require new clothing.
Some of my favourite brands are:
Thought Clothing (UK brand) - I love their laid-back style, using comfortable natural fabrics like hemp and bamboo, at affordable prices
Seasalt (UK brand) - cosy Cornish vibes which complement my outdoor life
Lucy and yak (UK brand) - dungaree specialists, I love their quirky and comfy styles
Know the Origin (UK brand) - a really useful one stop shop for a range of sustainable brands
Everlane (US brand) - I adore their simple, classic styles
Organic basics (Denmark brand) - The best quality underwear/basics brand on the market in my opinion.
Girlfriend collective (US brand) - super comfy and beautiful activewear
Learn to shop second-hand
Buying clothing second-hand is a fantastic way to shop as it encourages re-wearing items and prevents more waste ending up in landfill. Sustainable brands can be more expensive, so this is often a more affordable way to add more sustainability to your wardrobe. I've written a whole blog post on how to buy good quality second-hand clothes here.
Lastly, take your time
I must stress that this process will take time. Don't feel the need to discard your entire wardrobe in one go. If there are items you still enjoy then wear them until they no longer add value to your life, then sustainably discard them. Slow down your shopping and use your new-found knowledge to be intentional about bringing new items into your wardrobe. Recognise that you may not be able to make perfect decisions every time. All our circumstances are different, so only you know what's realistic for your life. This blog is meant to inspire, not judge.
I'm still not perfect. I still have plenty of fast fashion clothing in my wardrobe and am often temped by big SALE signs. But its becoming easier and all the more rewarding. I can now enjoy my wonderful wardrobe with a clear conscience.
I'd love to hear any of your fast fashion struggles or favourite sustainable brands. Make sure to sign up to my site to comment bellow and engage with our fabulous Hippy Highland Living community...
This blog is kindly sponsored by Bamigo, a premium bamboo clothing brand.