You probably heard about eco-friendly, sustainable, ethical, conscious or responsible fashion. All these words are represents this new Slow Fashion movement, a counter-current to the Fast Fashion; this consumption phenomenon pushing us to buy more and more, faster and faster, because brands offer us the latest trends and new collections in the space of few weeks. We have so many clothes so we also waste them…we rarely or sometimes never wear them.
Sustainable fashion refers to brands trying to minimize their environmental impact by using, for example, materials requiring less water or using no chimical products during the dying, etc. As for ethical fashion, it refers to brands working with partners whoe employee earn fair wages and work with good conditions.
In the past, I did so many impulse buys but I changed my way of consuming step by step. I would never imagined I would be able to change but, if you want it, everyhting is possible, and, it is also easier and more affordable than you think!
So, here I give you 10 simple tips to become a conscious shopper!
1. This is Spring Cleaning !
* Summer weather is coming and we usually enjoy this new season to clean our homes and sometimes even change the decoration ! So, my first advice and certainly the more tedious one…is to do Spring Cleaning in your wardrobe ! After all, when we want a fresh start in your life, we get a new cut at the haidresser, don’t we? So, to change our bad consuming habits, we will have to reorganize our clothes. Venture into your wardrobe and separate the clothes you don’t wear anymore. Recycle them, give them to organizations, or sell them! Also, ask you how many times did you wear this cloth?
* Regarding the clothes you choose to keep, it’s time to organize them by types and even by colors. You can also prepare in advance some looks in your wardrobe or write weekly looks into a notebook! We usually don’t wear our clothes because we can’t see them anymore or because in the mornings, we don’t have time to think in our outfits!
* Have fun and let your imagination speaking! Have you heard about the 10 x 10 challenge? You have to pick 10 clothes / accessories and to create 10 different looks during 10 days. This will help you to understand that you don’t need so many clothes to compose great different outfits and will help you to control your desires of buying new clothes.
* Last behaviour to change… To control your impulse buys. Easier said than done… but little by little, I promise it gets better! All these advices above are the first steps to change but, then, what you also need to ask you, is why do you need shopping so much? Is it to relieve stress? To not get boring during weekends? So, next time, instead of running in the streets, try to make a list of what you really need! Often, we think in buying just a new shirt but, at the end, we come back with a bag, shoes and a dress! So, stay focus on your goals! Once you fall for something, think in how you can mix it with another cloth or accessory. And, finally, take your time! Just go and see other shops and if you don’t think in it anymore, so it means you really don’t need it!
Still not convinced? Well, here are some facts about textile industry that may change you mind!
- We usually wear a cloth only 4 times.
- 40% of our clothes are rarely or never worn.
- 60% of French people have clothes they will never wear.
- In England, 30 billions pounds of clothes are never worn, representing 250 pounds by person.
- Every year, Americans people waste 72 dollars in clothes never worn.
2. Do you need your cloth to be new?
If you really need to buy a cloth, think if you need it to be new or if you could buy an old one. This way, you don’t particpate to the increasing of the textile industry production and you can considerably limit your environmental impact. So, you can choose to buy in vintage shops or on online websites like Etsy, Ebay, Vinted where other consumers sell their clothes. So many platforms exist, so, you can easily find what you need and, most of the time, at a very low price! A new trend is to rent your clothes, especially kid clothes, luxury clothes or for special events!
3. Choose sustainable materials!
If old clothing is not for you, you still have a lot of options to minimize your impact! First, you can choose a cloth made with sustainable materials. Choose brands using certifications like GOTS for clothes made of cotton. Certifications will prove the tracability of the cloth and that it is made to limit environmental impact. Also, don’t go just for natural fibers like cotton! It doesn’t mean, it is more sustainable than transformed materials as polyester. Cotton is a natural fiber but also the most polluting material, as it requires a lot of water and pesticides. Regarding transformed materials, you can choose recycled ones! And regarding jeans, you can also find brands making new ones from old recycled jeans.
4. Extend the life of your cloth.
If you don’t find easily sustainable materials, choose good quality materials to make your cloth last! By extending the life of the cloth of 9 months, you reduce your footprint and waste of 20 à 30% ! The fabrication of one T-shirt requires 2720 litres of water, equal to what we drink during 3 years! Can you imagine our positive global impact, if we all extend our T-shirt life of 9 months?
5. Care your clothes.
1/3 of our carbon footprint comes from the way we care them. The wash machine and the dryer consumes a lot of water and energy in every home. Jeans, for example, consumes 3500 litres of water during his liflecycle and, the most, is used during the washing. So, wash your cloth with cold water and try to reduce your wash machine uses as much as possible. Also, dry them in the open air, so you don’t use any energy.
Also, when a cloth is dammaged, ask you if you can repair it instead of throwing it. A lot of brands offer reparation services. For example, The Repair Shop offers and sends freely a reparation kit for jeans! Also, stretch your imagination by customizing a piece of your old jeans with other clothes.
6. How to give a good end of life to your cloth?
Well, it is easy! Don’t let them at the end of your wardrobe and don’t let them finish into landfills! Recycle them, give them to charities or sell them. Also, a lot of brands offer recycling services as the famous one of H&M, giving a discount in exchange of your old clothes.
Still not convinced? More facts that, I hope, will change your mind:
- 95% of clothes thrown and finishing into landfills could have been recycled.
- In United States, 10,5 billions tons of clothes are thrown each year into landfills, equivalent to 30 times the Empire State Building.
7. Buy Local or Buy Craft.
You can also choose to support artisans and empower women making ancestral craft. Or, you can buy to designers making their clothes in their own country to support local economy!
8. Ask the brands!
Don’t hesitate to ask your favorite brands more transparency about their factories, providers, working conditions of their employees, etc. Go check in their website, if they have any information about this. If they don’t, so they are not totally honest with their customers! You can also join movement like the Fashion Revolution, which will begin the 23rd of April. This movement was created to ask consumers to act by questioning the brands or by posting photos and messages in their social reds.
9. Use a shopping bag.
Think in bringing your own reusable shopping bag with you instead of coming back home with lots of bags. You will reduce your plastic impacts and waste !
10. Get inspired!
We usually think it is not easy to find a responsible brand. But, you just need to check bloggers who will give you all the latest brands to follow or also eco platforms like the Eco Warrior Princess, The Green hub, Ethical Writters. I also recommend you to check the mobile application The Good On You for daily tips about eco looks. Finally, you can know more about all of this, thanks to so many great books or documentaries. like the famous one called “The True Cost“, showing all the bad facets of the Fast Fashion Industry.