We all know that fast fashion-pretty much every store nowadays-exploits underpaid laborers and generously dumps a toxic load of waste out into the world in places where, quite frankly, waste should not be dumped. Not to mention the hundreds of people who have died due to unsafe working conditions in fast fashion producing factories in third-world countries around the globe. Now the obvious solution for the everyday person would be to just not buy from fast fashion brands, right? Well if you’re like me, then you’ll quickly realize “oh hey, I can’t afford to a buy $200 pair of Reformation pants.” What’s a girl to do then? Give up and embrace a nudist lifestyle? Just ignore fast fashion’s suspiciously cheap quality and even more suspicious labor practices? Never fear, kids, ’cause here’s your guide to dressing ethically without having to only wear overpriced white t-shirts for the rest of your life.
grace’s tip for not going broke while trying to shop sustainably #1
geT yoUrsElf to a thrift store
I know, I know, you saw that one coming, but it really is a good idea. The key here is to have an open mind, you should go in with a general idea of the style of clothes you like, but don’t limit yourself by being too picky. And don’t forget to shop in both the men’s and women’s sections. (the men’s section has the best sweatshirts 😉 )
If you don’t like shopping in person, here are a couple great online thrift store sites I have personally ordered from and been happy with what I bought:
Thread Up: https://www.thredup.com/
The key here is the opposite of thrifting in person: go with a very specific item you want in mind, thrift websites often have thousands of items for sale.
grace’s ace tips for not infinity-warring your wallet #2
Quality over quantity is the key.
When you shop, try to purchase clothes that either you know you will wear often or will last a long time. Knowing which fabrics are made to last helps when choosing items to buy. Justine LeConte, a french fashion youtuber and ethical fashion activist, has a lot of great videos on this subject.
grace’s somewhat decent tips for possibly not getting grounded for blowing all your money on expensive clothes #3
Buy your basics from the most ethical place you can.
If you can afford to shop at expensive places like Reformation and Pact, then by all means, go for it, but if you’re like most people (like me) who can’t really do that, then buying somewhat ethical fashion may be your best bet for basics like underthings, shoes, and anything else you can’t get at the thrift store. What do I mean by somewhat ethical? I mean places that charge prices for their clothes that make sense (Old Navy, Cotton On, Francescas, etc.). I say this because if you think about it, a store that’s selling their shirts for $10 (like Forever 21, Shein etc.) is probably paying their overseas factory workers next to nothing, whereas at a company that charges $20 for a t-shirt, there’s a good chance that they are paying their workers more.
In the end, fixing all the problems in the fashion industry is going to take a lot more than a few people choosing ethical fashion, but it’s at least a start in the right direction. Even if you have recently purchased things from a fast fashion brand (full disclosure, I have and regretted it), don’t be too hard on yourself. Instead, choose to go to a more sustainable store the next time you go shopping.
hope this guide helped you,