It’s no secret that the fast fashion industry is harmful to the environment and the cause of some pretty horrific working conditions. The geographic locations and socioeconomic status of workers often lead them to be taken advantage of and not earn enough to live adequately. I don’t want this post to be taken up by fast fashion industry facts. You likely already know the harms (if not, I highly recommend the documentary The True Cost on Netflix or this blog post here for some quick facts). Instead, I want to focus on the fact that you can be fashionable AND sustainable. You don’t need to constantly buy new trendy clothes from fast fashion retailors to be a fashionista. I’ll show you how!
Shopping used to be my number one hobby. I was blinded by the amazingly low prices I could pay for really cute trendy clothes from stores like Zara, H&M, and Forever 21. For a broke young adult, I thought the only way I could be fashionable is if I shopped at these stores. But for what? So I could post one cute photo of my outfit on Instagram? God forbid I double post the same outfit. I have so many clothes in my closet from these stores that still have tags on them, it’s such a waste of money and material. My frustration started when my brand new plaid pants from H&M started to pill after one wear. It got me thinking, why am I wasting my money on cheap clothes? I began to search for more expensive and quality clothing. I noticed a lot of the brands advertised that they were ethical, so I wanted to know more about what exactly makes a company ‘ethical’. After doing further research, I was ultimately disgusted with the fast fashion industry and I no longer wanted to contribute to their businesses. I’ve made a vow to only buy from companies that pay their workers a fair wage and have sustainable production practices in place. As I begin this new journey, I thought I would post the companies I am buying from and the outfits I create to prove that you don’t need to buy cheap clothes to be fashionable on a budget.
Here are my first three tips for buying sustainably at a reasonable price!
Thrifting is the absolute best way to buy clothes sustainably. It allows for no waste and doesn’t break the bank. You can even do it online thanks to online marketplaces like eBay, The RealReal, ThreadUp, and Depop. You can also check out your local thrift and consignment stores. If you commit to the hunt, you can find some pretty awesome pieces. In my hometown of London Ontario, there is a vintage store that I almost exclusively buy all my Levi’s from. Check out these light washed Levi’s and faux croc leather booties I scored from that same store, Filthy Rebena.
2. Seek End of Season Sales on Designer Sites
Designer websites like SSENSE and YOOX typically have two end-of-season sales a year on their sites where you can buy designer pieces for up to 90% off. Although selection is limited, this can allow you to get really good quality, generally ethical clothing at a fair price. These are pieces that you will be able to wear year after year, well worth the investment. For example, I bought a Vetements denim skirt on YOOX. The skirt was originally $750 and ya girl got it for $75. (Plus, it’s made from repurposed Levi’s denim!) You just have to be diligent and patient. Don’t give in to buying a poorly sown skirt from H&M just because it’s cheap and readily available. Wait until you can buy one you’ll have forever. Here’s how I styled my Vetements skirt.
3. Seek Ethical Brands
A lot of people think shopping sustainably means you can’t be trendy and you’ll only find basics. However, there are a ton out there that are really awesome. For example, the brand Reformation is both sustainable and trendy. I am obsessed with everything on their site and I can shop guilt-free. They can be a little pricey, so I only buy pieces that I believe I will get a lot of wear out of. You can also find their clothes on the online marketplaces I mentioned above. Specifically, eBay and The RealReal. Reformation will ship your package in a recyclable envelope and doesn’t use any unnecessary packing materials. The plastic bags the clothes come in are partially made of plants and 100% compostable!
The Hailee Top is a beautiful twist on a basic white tee and will elevate any causal look.
The top feels incredibly soft, comfortable, and fit pretty well too! For reference, I bought mine in an XS (I’m 5’9”).
I also bought the Hunter Sweater. I’m not joking when I say I wear this sweater almost every single day since getting it in the mail. It’s effortlessly cute, looks good with any bottoms, and SO DANG COMFY. For reference, I also bought this in an XS.
To Sum Up
I hope these three tips on buying sustainable were useful and you maybe consider following them! I’d love to see in the comments about any sustainable brands you’re a fan of. I’m just beginning this journey and it’s still kind of a process of trial and error when figuring out which brands are ethical. Before making a purchase I like to search for the brand on GoodOnYou to help decide if I want to give them my money. It’s worth mentioning that these are my own beliefs and values and I totally welcome any opposing thoughts in the comments. I’m looking forward to continuing this journey and posting along the way.
Talk to y’all later,