Many people would love to build a more ethical closet but can’t afford ethical brands and that is possible. In a perfect world, our closets would only consist of beautiful dresses, high rise pants and silk camis, but without the cash to shop only from sustainable brands, or replace the existing clothes with more ethical alternatives, most cannot afford to. Purchasing from ethical brands is not the sole way to “greenify” your style and help the cause. Supporting ethical brands is only part of a whole set of strategies used, to reduce personal contribution to negatively impact the fast fashion industry effect on workers and on the environment. Purchasing a flimsy cheap top from the sales pile that ends up as landfill in three months, is meaningless. We examine the ways to build an ethical closet:
Value the clothes you own
Take care of clothes you own irrespective of their big brand, is the most basic thing to build an ethical closet. Mend what is broken or torn, hand-wash as advised, fold heavy sweaters, etc. Clothes that are cared for, last longer and are replaced less often; so you buy lesser clothes overall, reducing your footprint to costs of fashion in the long-term.
Shop less, choose better: Only buy pieces you love 100%
The fast fashion industry has been named from the quick rate of catwalk designs delivered to the masses, and accurately describes how we shop nowadays. Quick impulsive purchases, laissez-faire attitudes, without thinking too much. New pieces are randomly selected, here and there, as it’s cheap and affordable. The result is a closet full of mediocre stuff that doesn’t really matter. We keep on shopping to fill the void, replacing imperfect pieces with better alternatives, till we feel satiated. It’s a never-ending cycle.
To break that cycle, choose better clothes! Never just pick up the first pair of jeans that just about fit, instead search and find ones that you love and can wear it for many years, instead of only a season. Learn to be much more selective when buying new clothes, whether you shop at a vintage shop, or at an eco-boutique or a high street fashion store. Never purchase things that aren’t ideal and will need to be replaced soon. Instead of 5 cheap, okay-ish sweaters, keep looking until you find the one that you love 100%. Impulsive purchases should be forgotten as by learning to wait you end up purchasing less now, and in the long-run, you slowly learn to build up a much cooler and satisfying closet of clothes.
Insist on High-quality and Durable clothes
Irrespective of the brand, buying well-made clothes consisting of high-quality materials that are very eco-friendly is better than buying low quality pieces, as they last longer and need to be replaced less often. Low closet turnover results in much less shopping overall! Learn how to find and assess high-quality clothing.
Buy vintage or second-hand
As an alternative to purchasing ethical brands, a budget-friendly idea is to recycle pre-worn clothes, and saving them from landing up in a landfill. Searching in a vintage or pre-loved store, is time-consuming, but worth the effort to acquire truly unique pieces. Do make an effort if you haven’t tried!
Support ethical brands
From Honest by to Everlane, support over 30 ethical brands to choose from.