Being more sustainable in the way you live your life can be difficult. In theory, it may seem simple, use a tote bag, switch to using oat milk, but in reality, it can be hard to keep these up, especially in a wasteful world where sustainability is the more difficult option.
When it comes to making more sustainable fashion choices, however, things are, thankfully, a little bit easier. By now, we’re well aware of the horrible impact the fashion industry has on the planet. It counts for 10% of global carbon emissions.
And while the major fashion brands out there are doing little to stop that, we, the people, have the power to do it ourselves.
Making small changes to the way we buy, wear, and discard of clothes is the best thing we as individuals can do for the planet. So, here are 5 ways you can be more sustainable in your fashion choices.
Wear What You Own
Yep, it really is that simple. The most sustainable fashion choice you can make is to actually wear the clothes you already own. Open up your wardrobe right now, and I can guarantee inside you’ll find at least 1 item with the tag still on it, or another that has only been worn on one occasion.
Instead of allowing the clothes you own to rarely see the light of day, wear them! Scroll through Pinterest, TikTok, and Instagram for fashion inspo and think of different ways you can style the items you already own, because there’s plenty of them! That midi dress you own? make it appropriate for Irish weather by throwing on a cropped cardigan and Doc Martens with it, the blazer you love? style it up as a dress instead, throw on a pair of cycling shorts underneath and Converse and you’re good to go.
The 5 Item Rule
When you are shopping, make sure you’re buying clothes that you know you can get longevity out of. There’s a rule, explored in Lauren Bravo’s book ‘How To Break Up With Fast Fashion’, where she explains that before you buy any piece of clothing, be it a t-shirt or denim shorts, make sure that you own 5 other items in your wardrobe that you can pair it with.
Shop Second Hand… But Cheat A Little
Shopping second hand doesn’t mean you have to trawl through sites like Depop and Ebay for hours on end (although they are super handy too). Instead, cheat a little. Pop into your local charity shop whenever you’re out and about, even just for 5 minutes – fun fact, I do this pretty much once a week while I’m out walking my dog, I do it so much in fact that all the workers now know my dog’s name! Visiting second-hand shops for short amounts of time but often means you’ll be more likely to spot a bargain when you see one. (Pro Tip: always check out the shoe and bag section in charity shops as you’re most likely to find some designer bargains there).
You can also cheat a little by shopping in other people’s wardrobes, maybe your grandad has a jumper that has become too small for him? Or maybe your mam has some gems from the 90s lying dormant in the back of her wardrobe. Ask if you can have a peek around, or tell them to let you have first dibs on any clearouts they have planned.
As I already said above, there’s plenty of inspiration to be found on the likes of TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.If you feel that following certain influencers who share nothing but fast fashion haul after fast fashion haul is doing nothing to help you be more sustainable, then unfollow them. Remember, you’re in total control of how your social media looks, and if someone or something doesn’t bring happiness to your feed – delete! Instead, swap out fast fashion accounts for ones that focus on sustainability and slow fashion.
Here, we’ve rounded up some of our fave sustainable accounts for you to get started.
Do A Little Research
If you’ve saved up some pocket money and fancy spending it, or have an occasion coming up. The app GoodOnYou.eco is one of the best places to do some research on what brands you should spend your money with. The app rates everything from clothes shops to jewelry brands on their environmental impact, supply chain labour conditions, and animal welfare.
One scroll through the app can help you to land on a brand you want to shop with the lines up with both your budget and morals.