Friday, 31 August 2018

How I Shop for Clothes Ethically

I really love reading about other people’s journeys to becoming more ethical and sustainable particularly in terms of fashion. I don’t feel like I will ever reach a point in my life where I think I am doing everything I can to help the planet, I will always love to learn more and develop my lifestyle more as I learn and so I always find it interesting to see what others are doing.

Trying to build a more ethical wardrobe has been quite hard. I have always loved fashion, since I was little I have been putting together outfits as an expression of who I am and how I feel that day and I didn’t want that to change when switching to a more ethical wardrobe. I also didn’t want to keep buying cheap fast fashion in huge quantities knowing about the effect it is having on the planet and the exploitation of people, mainly women. I’ve been driven by a strong desire to change the world but in a way that allows me to enjoy fashion as I always have done.

I still have quite a big wardrobe of clothes, but I can safely say that 90% of it has been worn at least 30 times, some of it probably nearing 70+ times. I now take care of my clothes, wear them a lot and only buy things I feel I will get a lot of use out of. I love finding ways to style old clothes in new ways and there is nothing in my wardrobe that I don’t love to wear.  

This is how I shop for clothes ethically. Of course, we are all different and will have different ways of approaching this, but I hope this will help to inspire you as I have been inspired and shaped by others shopping habits.

Buy what you love:

This for me is the most important. I only buy clothes that I really like, if I’m not 100% sold or it doesn’t fit perfectly then I don’t buy it. This means that every piece in my wardrobe I am happy to wear again and again. I have quite a few dresses, but they are all different, comfortable and make me feel gorgeous. If like me you’re not into the capsule wardrobe buying only exciting pieces that you love and can wear every day is such a great way of not ever buying too much or something that you will only wear once.

Buy from ethical and sustainable brands:

This is often my first port of call when I need or want something new. I love People Tree and have been wearing one of their dresses repeatedly over summer. I am also a big fan of Thought clothing for basics. It feels great to buy from these brands as I know they will be paying every person who touches my garment a fair wage as well as making sure the impact is low on environment.

Buy from ethical high-street stores:

As much as I love People Tree and Thought, they can be a little pricey and sometimes they just haven’t got something in the style I want. One of my favourite brands is actually Marks and Spencer’s. I have quite a classic style and I love that their clothes are elegant and classic in a way that won’t go out of style. They are also well known to be one of the best in terms of ethical and sustainable fashion on the high-street. Another favourite is Fatface, their jeans are great quality and they do some super cute, comfy basics. Both M&S and Fatface produce really good quality clothes that have lasted me years and years at affordable prices. When it comes to the high-street I will avoid fast fashion outlets like H&M, Zara and Primark. This was hard at first because I knew going into those shops would get me a lot more for my money but now I am happier with a smaller, higher quality wardrobe that lasts me years.

Buy British:

I love finding little independent British brands who make their products in this country. I often find their back story is really interesting making the item extra special. It also feels great to be supporting local businesses and the economy. Three of my favourite made in Britain brands are; Lady Vintage London, The Pretty Dress Company and The Cambridge SatchelCompany. Not only do these brands make great quality clothing but they also make quite unique styles that you often wouldn’t find on the high-street.

Buy special:

There are also a few brands I absolutely love and will buy from if they have a very special piece that I know I will get a lot of use out of. I always try to buy as ethically as possible but sometimes when you need a particular style you do have to look elsewhere. Two of my favourite smaller British brands are Lindy Bop and Chi Chi London. I have bought a few evening dresses from these two brands and absolutely love them. They are very special items that I take care of and wear for special occasions. For me I think it’s okay to buy a piece of clothing from a non-ethical source as long as it’s good quality, will last and you will get a lot of wear out of it.

So that is how I do my clothes shopping at the moment. As I said earlier this is the system I have developed for myself and it may not work for everyone. People will have different opinions about what is right and wrong in terms of ethical and sustainable fashion and that’s fine, it’s important to make up your own mind about how you want to live and what you want to effect with how you spend your money.

I hope you have found some inspiration. I’d love to hear your shopping tips in the comments below.



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