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As people become more aware of their environmental impact, mindless shopping seems to have become much less favourable.
The fashion industry in particular has been revealed as public enemy number one when it comes to needless pollution. Retailers like H&M and Burberry were outed for burning billions of dollars of unsold merchandise in an effort to maintain exclusivity through scarcity, and they’re certainly not the only culprits. That doesn’t even scratch the surface when it comes to the global damage caused by fast fashion.
Given the dismal state of our planet, it’s our responsibility to be more discerning consumers. Here are just a few ways to shop sustainably and exercise more restraint in 2020.
One of the most responsible things you can do if you want to shop or need to add to your wardrobe is to buy second-hand. Buying gently used clothing doesn’t have to mean the bottom of the barrel. You can still maintain a curated closet without buying brand new by seeking out consignment shops in your city that align with your style, whether it’s high-end designers, vintage finds or contemporary fashion. Second-hand stores can also surprise you with the amount of new and brand name items they stock.
Choose eco-friendly fibres
Reading tiny clothing labels can feel like reading the fine print on a convoluted contract. However, it’s a small price to pay for saving the planet. Another way you can shop with less guilt is to make sure you’re buying clothing made from natural fibres like wool, cotton, silk and hemp. Even if you’re not throwing away your synthetic garments, simply washing them can result in microfibers polluting our oceans.
Research your brands
Fashion brands can be incredibly difficult to navigate when it comes to which ones are truly sustainable. H&M has been known to talk the talk, but stats have shown their efforts don’t always align with their claims. Doing your research doesn’t have to be time consuming either. Try using an app like Good On You, which ranks brands and even specific garments on levels of sustainability.
Subscribe to the capsule wardrobe
Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a wardrobe of quality pieces that you can mix and match? Well, you can and it’s called a capsule wardrobe. Instead of impulse buying lots of random pieces, be more thoughtful when you make a purchase. Is the item well made? Does it go with other items in your closet? Can you dress it up and down for various events?
For the love of god, take care of your clothes
One thing we don’t often think about is the impact of tossing your clothes on the ground and balling them up into a giant pile for a week. When you treat your clothes like used tissue, they’ll show wear and tear early on. That, in turn, prompts us to replace them. Hang your clothes up, use quality detergent and hand wash if you can.
Shop these sustainable brands
Frank And Oak has garnered quite the reputation for being a friend to the planet. The Canadian company has pledged to use recycled wool and cotton as well as hydro-less denim. Even their brick and mortar stores are built using locally sourced and carbon neutral materials.
The Reformation is proof that even the fashion conscious cool girl can do their part for the planet. The LA-based retailer favours carbon neutral practices and uses recycled and sustainable materials. They also make their environmental impact transparent by posting their sustainability reports directly on their website.
ŪNIKA Swim is another Canadian-based company that refuses to contribute to waste in the name of fashion. Their custom swimwear is made of ECONYLE, which is 100 per cent regenerated nylon and can be recycled over and over again. Not to mention the brand celebrates inclusivity and every body type.
While many high-end designers continue to contribute to the demise of our planet, Stella McCartney puts sustainability at the forefront. The British designer has even appointed a director of sustainability. If a mill or a supplier doesn’t meet the brand’s standards of quality and sustainability, they’re out.
At All Birds, sneakers are made using merino wool, a naturally biodegradable fibre, while the insole is made of castor bean oil and the laces comprised of recycled plastic. The company takes their sustainability practices as seriously as style.
Think of Kotn as fashion’s take on farm to table. While the brand was conceived in Toronto, they now do most of their production in Egypt. Working with local Egyptian cotton farmers, their business model works by cutting out the middle man, ensuring they know exactly where their product comes from.