I love shopping and clothes is the best way to express myself. My clothing board on Pinterest is the most popular one I have. When I first got a job, my first paycheck went into buying clothes. Shopping makes me happy. But over the years, I was hoarding so many clothes. Often many worn once and then donated because I wouldn’t wear it again. This is why I’m choosing to shop sustainable and you should too.
No one really thinks that buying clothes can have some long-lasting issue, but you’d be surprised. It affects basic human rights and the environment because fast fashion stores don’t necessarily do things the right way. Here’s why I’m choosing to shop sustainable and you should too. I feel like this is a bigger issue than we think it is.
What Is It
You can shop sustainable in all ways of life, but for this post, I’m focusing on just clothing. Shopping sustainable clothing is shopping at ethically, “slow” fashion stores. Meaning, stop shopping at fast fashion stores that often production is harmful to the environment and overuses textiles and provide workers poor qualities. Fast fashion is a quick, inexpensive way stores can put out the current trends for consumers.
Choosing to shop sustainable is not just for the sake of the clothes but making sure you’re shopping consciously. There is a lot more that goes on than swiping your card. What we buy can have a social and environmental impact.
Here are some videos to check out: The Problem With Fast Fashion | Teen Vogue, Are You A Good Influence? (Fast Fashion VS Sustainable Clothing) by Tiffany Ferg, Stop buying fast fashion
Shopping at fast fashion stores have a lot of negative effects. The documentary The True Cost highlighted that Americans are buying much more clothes than ever before. There’s so much pressure to have a certain look but we don’t realize the long-lasting repercussions there are when we keep buying constantly from fast fashion stores. The way fast fashion stores get you is because their prices are low.
This article by Audrey Stanton on The Good Trade explains it so well. Their prices are low because there is no quality control, use cheap materials, and abuses human rights. They go on to point out that brands like Forever 21, “use toxic chemicals, dangerous dyes, and synthetic fabrics which seep into water supplies in foreign countries (where the clothing is made) and at home when the clothing is washed” (Stanton). Over 11 million tons of clothes are thrown away per year that has harsh chemicals and pesticides. Then a lot of clothes just get thrown away and not properly disposed of, which creates a lot more trash around the world.
Popular Fast Fashion Stores:
- Forever 21
- Fashion Nova
There’s a ton other fast fashion stores. Just search up your favorite store on Google and see what the results show. I usually google “store name sustainable” and see what comes up. Some of my favorite stores have popped up and it’s been tough but I redirected my energy. There are more important things than buying clothes.
In the countries, many of these stores are creating their clothes have poor working environments for their workers. The Bangladesh building collapse disaster that killed many was a garment factory. The building wasn’t properly checked and workers had to keep showing up regardless of all the issues they had seen before. Other times, workers don’t have rights and don’t get paid a proper wage. People’s lives are at stake because fast fashion retailers just care about mass
I feel like it’s a tough pill to swallow but no one needs a closet full of clothes. Is it nice? Yes. But there is no need to buy clothes every other week. Learn to be content with what you have and only buy new items if absolutely necessary.
Here is another video to check out: Fast Fashion Explained In Under 5 Minutes
A Side Note as an Influencer
As a blogger, there’s a bigger responsibility to showcase the best things. I talked about how there is a fine line of consumerism because bloggers tend to buy a lot and push people to buy things. Fashion blogging is big and I know bloggers buy a lot of clothes, but it’s gotten to the point where it’s become excessive and many are buying from fast fashion stores and telling their followers to buy from there as well. I know it can seem alienating but affordable fashion does come at a cost.
The video I linked above from Tiffany Ferg talks a lot about influencers. She points out mostly on the YouTube side that influencers do buy higher end items but then go on and do hauls from fast fashion sites. It all comes down to double checking what it is you’re promoting. Make sure it’s something good since your followers will support it.
What You Can Do
I won’t lie, shopping in a sustainable way is hard. It’s not something you can do overnight but taking the first step makes a difference. One of the easiest things you can do is just wear out the clothing you already have. I still own fast fashion clothing and I just want to get its use in until it falls apart.
Shop at stores like Reformation who are so transparent about being sustainable. Most people shy away because of the prices, but that’s how much it costs to produce the right way. Make sure to save up and only buy items that are necessary. Plus, sustainable stores will have better quality so items will last you longer which means you won’t have to buy something new every month. Check local stores around you as well. I live in California and found a lot of “slow fashion” boutiques with decent prices. Search up and ask around. Also as a Reformation fangirl (this isn’t the only sustainable store I promise), they provide different ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
You can also look at your local thrift store and shop sites like ThredUp. By shopping secondhand it will help reduce the overflow of donated items but also slow down the production of new ones. Plus, if you look around you, you can probably find thrift stores that give back to charities or your community so it’s a win-win. It’s about making intentional choices with how you shop and where.
This is a big topic and it’s not something that can easily be changed overnight. But it’s something people need to start becoming aware of. This is why I’m choosing to shop sustainable and you should too.
What are your thoughts on this? Is there a sustainable store you like to shop? What other ways do you live a sustainable life?