Happy Earth Day! One of the most Earth-kind lifestyle changes we can make is ditching fast fashion. The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world behind big oil. I know cutting fast-fashion out can seem overwhelming and you may be thinking, “Ok, but where AM I supposed to shop, then?” I totally get it, and I have been there! I used to go every couple of months to Forever 21, H&M, Urban, etc. and completely stock up on cute, trendy things that (at that moment) I just had to have. After making a few simple shifts, I’m now spending less money overall on clothing, I have more options in my closet that I love, and less clutter and chaos taking up space and time. Curious how? Read my tips below and let me know what you think in the comments!
- ONE simple mindset shift. These are the most simple, yet profound, few words that sparked that “lightbulb moment” for me when I first heard them a few years ago. The wise words of Vivienne Westwood go a little something like this, “Buy less, choose well, make it last.” It is that simple. This quote helped push me to ditch fast fashion, and now continues to push me everyday to never go back. This quote inspires a small shift in our thinking that creates the basis for keeping us inspired to always shop thoughtfully. Fast-fashion marketing has worked so hard and has dumped billions of dollars into switching fashion from, what once was, a 2-season market to a 52-season market. What I mean by that, is designers used to create 1 collection for Fall/Winter, and 1 more collection for Spring/Summer, that was it! Now, fast-fashion is pumping out new styles constantly, to a point where they ideally want us to look at each week of the year as being a new buying opportunity with different trends. This marketing is what has caused us to feel like we need to shop all the time to keep up with trends, that we need to have tons of options in our closets, and that it’s OK to buy cheap clothing. And where has this lead us? We are now plagued with overflowing closets, poor quality clothing & accessories failing us, and our wallets depleted. All for what? Just to feel like we don’t have anything to wear, anyway, am I right?! It’s time to stand up to the fast-fashion marketing and what they want us to think, and make a switch to what is practical for us, the planet, and the garment workers. Spending slightly more money on quality items that will last for years has transformed my closet from a cluttered mess with no options, into a peaceful arrangement of quality pieces that I truly love, all by keeping this one truthful quote in mind always.
- Plan ahead. Most often it’s a special event or a last minute outing that has us scrambling and running to our local store to find something that we can sport to the occasion. When switching to thoughtful fashion, one major shift for me was having to plan ahead. I am definitely not one to be a planner, so this wasn’t easy! I spent loads of unnecessary money on expedited shipping to get something in time for when I needed it. Learn from my rookie mistake and leave yourself with enough time to allow for shipping, trying on, and sending back for an exchange if necessary. If you truly need something last minute, keep a list of a few go-to spots in your area that you can head to if you need anything in a pinch. My favorites are my local thrift stores, and the Reformation locations in NYC.
- Buy for versatility. If I can’t think of 3 different ways I can style a piece or 3 different events/scenarios I could see myself wearing it, I don’t buy it. Simple as that. The goal of a conscious closet is having less pieces that are more functional. Keeping this in mind when you purchase is a foolproof way to make sure your closet will yield you the most options it the long run.
- Don’t knock thrifting. Quite honestly, I didn’t used to understand thrifting and I thought it was quite gross. “Buying somebody’s used clothing?! God only knows where that thing has been!” Until I learned how unfathomably wasteful we are being with our clothing, and how extending the life of a garment by even as little as 9 months can reduce it’s overall carbon footprint by 20-30%. After I heard that, I was fully willing to step into a thrift store and do some recycling. You know that thrill and excitement that you get from finding a really cool piece on sale? When shopping thoughtfully, that quickly gets replaced by finding a really cool piece second-hand, and likely even less expensive than anything you could ever find on sale! Not to mention, the thrift shops do an incredible job of inspecting merchandise to make sure that it is in tip-top shape before putting it out on the floor (anyone who has attempted to sell clothes to thrift stores know this first hand). Of course, always do your inspections before purchasing & give everything a good wash when you get home, but definitely don’t turn your nose up to thrift stores!
- Fight the impulse urge. I can’t even remember the last time I made an impulse purchase. I literally will sit on things for months before taking the plunge to buy. I take that time to think over in my head if I truly need it, how it can fit into my closet with other pieces, and to let some time go buy to see if I find myself wishing I had that item to complete certain outfits. So, if I decide I want to go ahead and make the purchase, buyer’s remorse is virtually non-existent. #NoRagrets (joke. movie reference.) when you’re buying thoughtfully!
To help even further, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite springtime essentials for this season (and many seasons to come!) from my favorite ethical clothing & accessories brands. Hover over the black dots on each item to access the direct links to shop!
Interested more in ethical fashion? Participate this week in Fashion Revolution week going on the week of April 24th, 2017. Snap a photo of you with your tags showing to ask the brands #WhoMadeMyClothes?
*The cover photo for this post was taken at the Groceries Apparel factory in Los Angeles, where I got to visit their operation of making thoughtful clothing with organic fabrics under fair wages and working conditions. Watch the full video of my visit here!
Affiliate Notes: This piece is in no way sponsored and I was not asked by any of these companies to feature them. However, there are affiliate links throughout. This means that if you end up making a purchase a small referral commission will flow through to me. Read my full promise to you here.