A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO SUSTAINABLE FASHION
So you know what sustainable fashion is (if you need a refresher check this post) .
That’s all fine and dandy but what do you do with that information?
Where do you start?
Below is a comprehensive guide with the steps you can take to embark on your sustainability journey.
The key word here is guide.
Some steps may not apply to you.
Maybe you’ve already implemented other systems to help you on your journey and are just looking for other ideas to add to your repertoire.
That’s totally fine.
This post is meant to be an interchangeable resource.
Feel free to swap, remove or add your own steps!
1. Shop Your Own Closet
This is one of the most important steps of this whole guide.
I cannot stress this enough.
Who knows what treasures are lurking in the back of your closet?
Not you, if you don’t take the time to look!
Why is this important?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve purchased something only to find a similar item already in my closet.
I don’t think so.
Having an organizational system in your closet is critical (you can read more about this here).
It helps you determine:
- what you need
- what you want
- what can be repurposed to serve either of those functions
Okay so you’ve gone through your closet, hopefully found a few gems you forgot about, but you still need a few pieces.
2. Shop Secondhand
I think shopping second hand is something that’s commonly overlooked.
People go straight to purchasing new items, but why not consider second-hand clothing first?
You might find something you love and for a whole lot less than you would pay for something new (in most cases).
And it’s better for the environment than purchasing something brand new, regardless of how sustainably made that item is.
That’s always a plus.
Shop vintage, thrift shops, as well as online retailers like ThredUp.
3. Rent Garments
Going to an event and don’t want to invest in something you’ll only wear once?
Renting clothing garments is the perfect solution to this.
There are numerous companies out there that offer rental subscriptions.
Some even give you the option to purchase clothes that you love for a fraction of the retail price.
Sounds like a win-win to me!
Still want to purchase something brand new?
Just consider one more thing before you purchase.
4. Research Sustainable Brands
When researching sustainable brands, you want to look at the company’s ethical and eco-friendly practices.
But with all of the greenwashing that goes on, it’s hard to tell if what a company claims they do, is really what is implemented.
A way to help streamline the process is to look for certifications such as Fairtrade. Such certifications mean that if a company says for example, that they use organic cotton, they actually are.
For easy access, check out this certification criteria which is continually updated.
I’ve also curated some of the best sustainable brands in this post here.
5. Buy Thoughtfully
Invest in key pieces that will be central in your wardrobe.
These are the pieces you’ll wear most often so you want to ensure they are high quality to maximize their life span.
Also, it’s important to have an idea of what you need (remember you already took stock of what you have in your closet) before you start shopping.
It’s easy to get caught up in online sales and a lot of retailers use pressure tactics to get you to buy more stuff.
Having a list of exactly what you need to buy will help you stay on budget and keep you from buying impulse purchases.
6. Reuse, Repair, Recycle
Not quite the 3 R’s your probably familiar with but when it comes to keeping your closet sustainable, these are 3 things to keep in mind.
If you come across an item in your closet that you’ve worn more times than you can remember and you are kind of sick of it, trying wearing it in a different way.
Have a hole in that shirt you love?
Are your favorite white sneakers looking more black than white?
Try repairing these pieces instead of throwing them out.
Last but not least, consider recycling your pre-loved items through great sites like Poshmark, ThredUp, etc.
7. Stay Educated
Continue to research brands making waves in the sustainable fashion community.
Be on the lookout for new fabrics to experiment with.
You can always refer to this post which includes informations on the best fabrics, sustainable certifications and more or this post featuring sustainable brands, both of which will continuously be updated with the latest information.
Continue to reaffirm why you are doing this in the first place.
Remember, doing something is better than nothing.
Bought a few impulse purchases when trying to stay on budget?
Succumbed to the intense pressure of fast fashion?
It’s hard not to.
Keep in mind just by reading this article you are doing a lot more than most.