It feels like a lifetime ago that I was binge ordering clothes from ASOS and lavishly spending on an array of breton stripe t-shirts but now I’m a typical student with less money to spend like I used to. I took a gap year and worked full time with the luxury of not having to pay for rent or food, just my monthly phone bill, car insurance and Spotify premium – a payment which this month sadly failed*sigh*. Yet it is now more than ever that I think about my previous spending habits – not that they are much better now, I simply cannot shop to the same extent. There are so many issues surrounding sustainability within the fashion industry, in particular, yet a huge proportion of consumers are on a budget and have very little choice other than to go straight to fast fashion retailers for their new clothes.
I think saving and investing in long-wearing and timeless items with a couple of trend-led pieces in between is a healthy way to shop and dress. However, for many of us even if we were to save up just to purchase a pair of well-made, quality denim jeans – it’s more realistic to want to spend less on a pair from Topshop or H&M to be able to afford a night out with friends.
There is also the “I’ve worn this out too much” mentally which has probably struck many of us at some point. Where we feel as if we have to buy a new top for a friend’s birthday drinks or a new bag for an upcoming trip instead of re-wearing what we already have. I’m not suggesting a capsule wardrobe or anything but the idea is a good start. I believe that maybe if we had a little bit more of disposable income to invest in these items and have the knowledge of where to shop, we would re-wear items over and over again with pride – and usually with a higher a price tag comes better durability and quality.
Keeping on the subject of denim – a material that is generally one of the more durable fabrics (and one of the most profound investment pieces) but is not sustainable environmentally or socially. Whilst I would love to be able invest in sustainable, ethically produced and well made denim (as an example) there is normally a price tag attached as I mentioned previously. Brands such as Kuyichi, MUD jeans and Outland which set you back anything from £80-£150 are amazing if you can afford to invest. However, the reality is that despite our generation becoming more environmentally friendly and attentive to issues surrounding climate change and social injustices, it is easily overlooked in terms of the fashion industry and when choosing where to buy a new outfit from.
Whilst I have primarily discussed denim, all items of clothing, shoes and accessories need to be taken into consideration when talking about cutting the “fast fashion £5 for a top” situation and take control by learning to choose timeless and sustainable pieces that can be rework into your wardrobe for years to come – and still being able to resell or give to charity in a reputable condition. Although sadly, to be ethically conscious in all aspects whether it be fashion or food, you need to educate yourself and research the alternatives. Small steps lead to big changes and I think if everyone (myself included) started shopping a bit more thoughtfully and stopped wasting so much money on several tops instead of purchasing a single, better quality one – we can push the industry and society in the right direction.
– HELPFUL LINKS –
- Good On You – a website and app that rates brands on their sustainability to help you shop and discover new brands & provide articles discussing various brands and fashion topics.
- The Sustainable Edit – http://www.tartanbrunette.co.uk/
- The Huffington Post – https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/news/sustainable-fashion/