Quitting Fast Fashion: My Journey So Far + Tips
Since becoming educated on the horrors of fast fashion over summer, I’ve made it my new life’s mission to quit the industry entirely – and I can proudly say I’ve almost achieved my goal! Having solely purchased second-hand for the past two or three months and completely (though not without difficulty) abandoned my ASOS account, I have a few tips to share with you if you’re looking to reduce the environmental impact of your wardrobe.
Go charity shopping
For some people the endless rails of mish-mashed clothing items can be a daunting sight, but once you get over that fear you’ll see that charity shops have a lot to offer. Clothing is often super cheap (I snatched up an authentic Burberry coat for £5 in Cancer Research UK) and you can get a lot for your money – where I might have spent £30 on a jumper in New Look, I can get four items for under that price in most places. Their cheapness can also allow you to break rule 3 about ignoring trends, since you can often find trendy pieces without the trendy price tag (for example, I now own not one but two midi skirts, bang on trend for the moment and with a total cost of a tenner!).The range of clothing available in charity shops also means you’re likely to come out with a unique outfit that nobody else can replicate, so they’re a great place to hone an original style. But always remember to wash the clothes you buy at the charity shop since you don’t know where it’s been before that.
Ignore trends and go for basics
New pieces and prints go out of style almost as quick as they came in, but when everyone is walking around in that one ASOS trench coat or leopard skirt it’s sometimes difficult not to want to copy them – but ignoring trends will ultimately save you money, something I can personally attest to, so look to heighten your wardrobe with some timeless basics instead (charity shops and kilo sales can be difficult places to find wardrobe staples, but I recommend Organic Basics if you’re looking to invest in a good, sustainable piece).
Guilt trip yourself
Now that you’re educated on the horrors of fast fashion (or if you aren’t check out my previous article on the subject) it won’t be hard for you to start feeling guilty if you do slip up. When I first pledged to ditch fast fashion I wavered a few times, wandering into Zara and H&M, but as soon as I remembered where the clothing came from and the environmental impact it was having, it was easy for me to put my items back on the rack.
Re-purpose and replenish old items
Got a jumper that’s too long for you? Make it a dress. Jeans that are no longer your style? Cut the legs off and make them shorts. There’s so many easy ways to DIY your old clothing, and once you’ve re-purposed them it’ll be as if you bought yourself a new outfit, minus the cost. Also, making a habit of mending old items rather than binning them is great – I refuse to throw away my favourite pair of stretchy trousers so have had to get to grips with my sewing needles many a time.
Shop (and sell) on Depop
Or equally Ebay or Shpock, whichever platform you prefer. If you’re not a fan of the charity shop, online second-hand shopping is the best way to go, with filters to browse for you. Such platforms are also good for your wallet (though, in my experience, thrifting in person will get you more bang for your buck). Selling your unwanted items is also a sustainable alternative to donating them, since charity shops are already overrun with items.
Show off your finds
There’s no feeling like the one you get from finding a great second-hand item – the sense of pride, achievement, and reward is really worth the pain of digging through rails or scrolling through thousands of listings for the perfect piece. And showing off what you’ve found is a great way, not only to revel in your shopping, but also to encourage others to give buying second-hand a go – I’ve already recruited a couple of family members to the thrifting way of life.
Just do it
In a very Nike-esque way of putting it, the only way to try and quit fast fashion is to just do it. Throw yourself head first into the world of second-hand shopping and see what you come out with – you might just love it.