By Stephanie Shave
Sustainable fashion is no longer a foreign term but rather something that we as consumers have become accustomed to hearing, especially when it comes to our shopping habits. In order to shop sustainably, one needs to understand what sustainable fashion is. Green Strategy, founded by Dr Anna Brismar, defines it as the following,
“Sustainable fashion can be defined as clothing, shoes and accessories that are manufactured, marketed and used in the most sustainable manner possible, taking into account both environmental and socio-economic aspects.”
In sustainable fashion, quality is key. Items need durability with regards to wearing, washing, and how many seasons it lasts. It’s different from fast fashion, and it often has a higher price tag attached; however, these prices are justified.
The process of making sustainable clothing is lengthier. This can be from finding the materials from which to make the clothes, finding factories that run ethically as well as ensuring people are being paid fairly. One needs to also bear in mind that higher quality materials such as sustainably sourced silk and cotton cost more.
Instead of buying a white T-Shirt from a high street brand for £5 – £10 where the quality isn’t good and probably won’t last more than one or two seasons, buy one made from 100% organic cotton for £30 and will last you for years to come. It is indeed more convenient to walk down the high street and pop into the stores you know. Nevertheless, we cannot shop for sustainable fashion like we shop fast fashion.
It has become increasingly apparent that we need to change our shopping habits, yet often we find ourselves saying, “I want to shop sustainably, but I can’t afford it.” According to Dr Anna Brismar,
“Sustainable fashion is partly about producing clothes, shoes and accessories in environmentally and socio-economically sustainable manners, but also about more sustainable patterns of consumption and use, which necessitates shifts in individual attitudes and behaviour.”
There are many incredible brands that are made ethically and sustainably and are budget-friendly as well. Not being able to find affordable, sustainable fashion should not be the reason we shop fast fashion.
High consumption is having an impact on our planet and the people making these clothes. As Green Matters states, “The apparel industry accounts for 10 percent of global carbon emissions and remains the second largest industrial polluter, second only to oil.”
Armedangels is an online store with a sustainable agenda. As stated on their website, “For us, organic is not a trend but a conviction. To assume responsibility for our environment is not an option but an obligation. This is why we opt for renewable resources and recycled materials.”
What makes this brand even better is the fact that when viewing each item, they inform you how much less water, energy, and carbon dioxide was used compared to conventional or generic fibre. Organic cotton shirts go for around £30 to £40, and their collection is also available to purchase at John Lewis.
Beginning in New Zealand, Lucy & Yak is a brand to be shopping. They have something for everyone from unisex dungarees (£54) to recycled corduroy tote bags (£7). Their story is most certainly worth a read.
Lucy & Yak joined forces with Know The Origin and ran a pop-up store in London from the 25th of November until the 22nd of December in London. Keep an eye on their blog for more wonderful pop-up collaborations to come.
Another sustainable brand to be considered is Pico. They produce essential, everyday goods, which can be traced right back to the source. Pico’s aim is
“to change the culture around cheap, fast underwear buying by offering high quality, carefully made knickers and boxers designed to last longer.”
Underwear made from organic cotton costs around £16 and comes in a variety of natural colours.
With the idea to counteract disposable fashion with conscious consumption, the company Socko was founded. These limited edition socks starting at £15 are made in the UK from repurposed yarn that would have otherwise gone to a landfill.
Every aspect of their business keeps in mind the environmental impact, and this includes their recycled and recyclable packaging. They also offer darning workshops in which people learn to darn their clothes.
If you are in the market for new sleepwear, then look no further than Noctu. Their ethos is simple- to make beautiful nightwear using the softest organic material while being driven by sustainability.
As expressed by Noctu, “Sustainability is hugely important to us and by sourcing the very best GOTS Certified organic cotton we can guarantee that all our cotton has been grown to the most stringent environmental guidelines, this means no toxins have used in the growing of the cotton which is not only beneficial to the farmers and workers but the entire wildlife eco-system.”
With an array of categories, including men, women, children, and homeware, they have a selection of items to from which to choose. Nighties start at £45 while an eco linen duvet set goes for £150.
Furthermore, vintage shopping is a great way to buy unique items while still shopping sustainably. Not everyone loves rummaging through second-hand and vintage stores, but there are more and more curated vintage stores popping up. Wolf and Gypsy Vintage, a beautifully curated store in Brighton, for example, has created an appealing online platform from which you can shop from anywhere.
If you find vintage or second-hand shopping daunting or just need some more advice, read KeiSei’s tips for vintage shoppers.
Buying clothes in excess has an impact on our planet; in addition to you not shopping sustainably, you are not living an affordable lifestyle. Being a conscious consumer not only benefits your pocket in the long run but shows that you are shopping deliberately to ensure a positive impact on our environment and the people who make the clothes.