Fashion, the 2nd most polluting industry in the world after oil, with fast fashion brands producing collections faster than ever, is creating a demand in our minds for things we don’t necessarily need. As consumers, we need to be conscious of the impact on the environment, and how every purchase can make a difference. But if you need to shop, here are 5 questions to ask yourself if you want to be conscious of what you spend on.
1. Why do I need it?
Justify your purchase with logic, not impulse. If you are solely buying the item either because it is on sale or a fashion blogger wrote about it, chances are you will not wear it once that trend passes. 15% of the textile waste that ends up in landfills are clothes that have never been worn or worn once and discarded.
2. Does it need to be new?
With over 70% of the world’s population using second-hand clothing, it can be said that thrift shopping isn’t only for vintage fanatics and for budget shoppers. Second-hand stores can be a great place to find something you like and are looking for, at a fraction of the price and beneficial to the environment. Trends get recycled more often than clothes, so it is likely you could find some second-hand treasures looking brand new and in style.
3. Can I buy it ethically?
If you must shop new, why not check out brands that use eco-friendly materials, promote safe environments for the workers and innovative upcycling efforts. After learning of the hard work gone into the making of a garment, it becomes easier to cherish and take care of your purchases for a long time.
4. Will this go with what I have?
Buying a one-off piece, only wearable with specific pairings will be a difficult piece to assimilate into your wardrobe. It helps to have a thorough look in your closet before you consider that purchase, so you have an idea of what you might be missing and improve your existing collection, instead of changing it altogether.
5. How often will I wear it?
Make it a rule of thumb where you will only buy something if you can wear it at least 30 times. #4 and this question go hand in hand because if you can’t imagine the item as part of an outfit with your existing clothes, you will have a hard time convincing yourself to wear it out in the first place.
The problem of fast fashion and over consumption may not be resolved overnight, but what can change is your mentality towards it. By buying ethical, organic, slow fashion, second-hand and even local designers, it is a step away from fast fashion, and a step towards a sustainable lifestyle.
Do you have another question to add? Comment below and let us know.