With sustainability in the fashion industry becoming such a pressing issue, we’re all aware that our consumption of fast fashion can no longer remain the way it is. So, how do we make a change?
Queen of organisation, Marie Kondo recommends only keeping items that spark ‘joy’, a great rule which should also apply when purchasing clothes – by only buying items that spark sheer and utter joy. How often do you find yourself staring at a wardrobe full of clothes but never with anything to wear? Journalist, Lucy Mangan believes: “many of our purchases are not rational, we often buy for the people we’d like to be.” This is half the problem, we buy something on a whim because it’s reasonable or we’re desperate for a new dress for a party at the weekend. And with reports showing that we only wear a shocking 20% of our wardrobes, it’s clear that we’re buying too much that we don’t wear or love enough.
Our top tip is walk away and don’t impulse buy. Consider, after you’ve left the shop it’s still playing on your mind? And, are you still thinking about it a week later? Go home and look at your wardrobe, often when shopping we forget what we actually have. Do you have something similar? Is it going to fill a gap in your wardrobe? What will you wear it with? These are all things we have to start considering before an impulse purchase in order to make a change.
Every second, the equivalent of one rubbish truck of textiles are sent to landfill and so buying items you truly love and will wear again and again, really is so important. And whilst it’s inevitable that after a few years of owning certain high street garments their appeal will dwindle, if you have worn it multiple times and donate the item to charity as opposed to throwing it away, you won’t have to feel so guilty.
As well as an increase in sustainable yet stylish brands, there is also a focus on buying less and buying better. “Personally, I’m a big fan of the capsule wardrobe and buying better quality clothes. I find paying a bit more guarantees something I really want.” says Senior Fashion Assistant at Red Magazine, Jodie Dunworth. We agree and believe it’s better to save for something you really like that is of superior quality and will last, over a high street alternative. “I might not buy it straight away if it’s expensive, but then if I’m still thinking about it a few days later I know it’s worth it” adds Dunworth.
Buying less and buying better doesn’t have to mean high end designer, but instead whatever your budget will allow. As Dunworth believes: “a simple place to start is to buy less clothes but buy better quality.” There is a huge range of ‘mid brands’ which may offer an £150 version of a dress that you love and fits perfectly over a £40 Zara option which your heart isn’t so set on. This is a good ethos to shop by as not only does it slow down fast fashion but also ensures you are getting higher quality garments, which in turn will last longer.
Stylist and Co-Founder of A Style Album, Emma Thatcher agrees, “For the last two years I have done ‘no spend January’ and I can honestly say it has changed the way I shop. I’ve learnt that instead of getting a quick fix and buying on the high street, I would rather buy one or two more expensive items that I absolutely love and will wear frequently.”
We’re not saying that joy sparking items are illusive on the high street, just don’t be swayed by the price. Consider the same things you would (do you love it, how and when will you wear it) for a £200 dress as for a £30 one to ensure you aren’t buying for the sake of it.
Simply by increasing our product lifecycle by just 3 months, there would be a 10% cut in the environmental cost to the planet. So, the next time you’re out shopping or an online order arrives, try on and consider if you really love it and if you do, wear it. As Thatcher says, “there’s no better feeling than getting your pence per wear on an item of clothing” and we agree.