4 Tips for Ethical & Sustainable Fashion Lovers
As Stasher enthusiasts, we all care a lot about the planet, and it’s time to extend that to the things we wear. Consider shopping for ethical and sustainable fashion; choosing second hand or clothes made using fair labor and sustainable materials. Here are my four biggest tips on how to do so!
1. Host a clothing swap
One of the best ways to refresh your closet is actually free— host a clothing swap! To get started, set any guidelines you would like (certain brands, quality, number of items, seasonal considerations) and invite some friends over. I love doing it on a weekend and having some brunch/snack items around. It’s fun to connect with friends, and you can organize the clothes by size, type, etc. for everyone to peruse! Whatever is left at the end people can either take back or you can donate to a local thrift shop or homeless shelter. Some of my favorite items in my closet I’ve snagged at a clothing swap, and the best part is that everything is totally free and you get to put the items you no longer want to good use.
2. Shop second hand
Aside from clothing swaps, one of the most affordable ways to buy clothing responsibly is shopping second hand. I love scouring my local thrift stores, Like Buffalo Exchange, for great finds— you can find items at a steep discount, and prevent previously loved items from heading to a life in the landfill. Many of my purchases from the past few years have been from thrift shops (including the shoes and handbag in the photo above!) and I have been able to scoop up great items at great prices. There are also shops online for second hand items like threadUP, Poshmark, noihsaf.bazaar, slowre, and more.
Image credit @saraweinreb
3. Buy from small makers
I love buying ethical and sustainable fashion because I love connecting to small, local makers. In fact, I used to have my own ethical fashion retail store where I sold all designers that made their products in the USA using sustainable materials, because I loved getting to know small brands so much! If you want to buy new clothes, consider forgoing fast fashion and look for small, indie brands that use materials that are kind to the environment and labor kind to their employees. Some of my favorites include Sotela, Miakoda, Rothy's, Elizabeth Suzann, Corinne Collection, and girlfriend collective.
Some things to look for: Where are the products made? What materials do they use? Look for organic and natural/renewable fibers such as organic cotton and linen, tencel, and modal. Materials like polyester are terrible for the environment— they are made from petroleum! Just like we avoid this in the kitchen, we should avoid it in our closet.
While ethical and sustainable fashion might be more pricey than a fast fashion retailer, shift your mindset to think about quality over quantity. I love the items in my closet so much more now that I invest in a few, high-quality items a year instead of hoarding tons of cheap t-shirts. What could you buy if you decided to pool all your spending for the year and invested it into a few items you truly love, that fit well, that are well made, and that are really comfortable?
4. Be prepared
One way I always felt like I was buying unnecessary things is when I was not prepared during my work day or a vacation. For example, I would often forget yoga pants or hair ties! I used to run out and buy new, cheap leggings so I could go to yoga, or constantly head to the drug store when I forgot a hair tie or a lipstick on a night out. It was so wasteful for me financially, and for the planet, because I was buying stuff I didn’t need. Now I try to always be prepared. I always have a yoga outfit in my backpack, and I can easily store all my smaller necessary items in my Stasher bag— lipsticks, bobby pins, safety pins, a hair brush, socks, and more. I also have another Stasher with jewelry so I can dress up my outfit if I am going to an important meeting or out to dinner after work!
image via @theworkinggirl.ca
Click here to shop Stasher and complete your Fall wardrobe with sustainable accessories!
This post was written by Sara Weinreb. She is the host of the Medium Well podcast, founder of The M List, contributor at Forbes, and shares it all on IG @saraweinreb.