1. Look beyond the price tag.
It's not new news that the fashion industry has played a role in waste that is produced worldwide. How did we get on this train? How did we close our eyes to every aspect of buying clothes other than the cheap price tag?
Clothing retailers like Zara, Forever 21, and H&M make cheap and fashionable clothing to satisfy the needs of young consumers. Yet, fast fashion has a significant environmental impact. According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the industry is the second-biggest consumer of water and is responsible for about 10% of global carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. Unfortunately, fast fashion problems are often overlooked by consumers.
2. Think of the end of life of your clothing.
85% of all textiles go to dumps each year. Even washing clothes releases 500 000 tons of microfibres into the ocean each year, the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles.
3. Thrifting is cool again.
One way that shoppers are reducing their consumption of fast fashion is by buying from secondhand sellers like ThredUp Inc. and Poshmark, both based in California, USA; shoppers send their unwanted clothes to these websites and people buy those clothes at a lower price than the original. Let's not forget the local thrift stores too, they offer an easy local way to shop that supports organizations in your town.
4. When you need to buy, purchase quality.
Another way that shoppers can make an impact is If you need to buy new clothes, buy good quality clothes from brands that actually work towards creating a product that lasts and is created in conjunction with good social policies.
Pategonia is the leader. Not only has the owner started 1% for the planet, recently he set up the corporation to run as a fund that will support environmental causes. This alone could set them apart, but if you have worn any of their clothes, you know they are built to last. They have a repair program, resell and a recycle program. And they are fair trade made. This company is the gold standard.
A few years ago while walking down a street I saw an ad from icebreaker. In the ad, the person is wearing plastic. It has literally changed the way I buy my clothing. I look for natural fabrics that won’t pollute the waterways with micro plastic. I spend a bit more (still looking for sales or second hand) on good quality that I know will last. I repair what I have, I’ve had the cuffs of my favourite cardigan sewn many times, 10 years in it might be time to replace.
4. Don't throw everything out.
Look through your closet, how does what you wear on your body impact the planet. I’m not saying to throw everything away, but as you replace things, think about what you are buying.