If you’re a regular reader of the RAINE Clothing blog, you’ll likely have seen our take on the problem with fast fashion, as well as our suggestions of some of our favourite eco-friendly fabrics to start incorporating into your closet for more sustainable fashion options.
However, if you’ve started making some of these changes and are looking for the next steps on your ethical, ecologically conscious clothing journey, there’s one obvious next step that can seem a little daunting, at first: quitting fast fashion altogether. Whilst this will likely sound intimidating to even those of us who have been shopping sustainably for a while, however, there are a few simple steps we’d like to share with you to help you get started on your journey!
1. Make the most of what you already have
It probably goes without saying, but making the most of the clothing you already own is a great way to avoid fast fashion. How many times have we all bought a new item of clothing, just to realise we have something similar already? To avoid this happening, we’d recommend taking stock of your current wardrobe, trying on items you already own, and responsibly getting rid of those that you don’t like or don’t wear – make note of the pieces you truly love, and any items you don’t need more of!
2. Learn to mend your own clothes
When you’re used to seeing clothes as cheap or disposable, it can be all too easy to throw away pieces for any minor imperfections – and that’s why it can really help to learn how to mend your own clothing! Simple things like repairing small holes, replacing buttons, or fixing a slipped hem can be quick and easy repairs that’ll hugely improve the lifecycle of your clothing!
3. Dispose of old clothes responsibly
We mention this in far more detail in our ‘Eco Friendly Ways to Get Rid of Old Clothing’ blog post, but it’s worth noting that even some recycled fabrics like rPET aren’t biodegradable, and clothing made from things like polyester can take anywhere between 20 to 200 years to fully biodegrade, so responsibly disposing of your old clothing is hugely important. Donating old clothing to charity shops, giving items away, and upcycling old fabric are all great ways to ensure you’re not contributing to landfill waste!
4. Do your research
With the sudden increase in awareness for sustainable fashion over the past few years, a lot of fashion brands are attempting to incorporate more sustainable or ethical ranges into their offerings; whilst this is great, and brings sustainable fashion to markets it might not have otherwise been in, it’s important to be wary of how the company you’re buying from conducts itself – some brands on the UK high street have been known to ‘greenwash’ – to provide one or two environmentally friendly options to attract buyers who are ecologically conscious without changing their overall standards, so they are still contributing to the devastating impact of fast fashion.
For this reason, always do your research where you can!
5. Shop consciously
We don’t just mean shopping from slow fashion and sustainable brands (although, of course, that’s a great option)! Part of taking a slower approach to fashion in general is to avoid the one thing that’s most synonymous with fast fashion – impulsivity. We’ve all been there – you spot something you weren’t planning on purchasing, maybe it’s a little different to what you’d normally buy, it’s affordable, you grab it. You take it home and it doesn’t quite look the way you want it to, so you wear it once, if at all, and it heads straight to the back of your wardrobe, destined for a ‘clear out’ in a few months’ time.
That’s where conscious shopping comes in: not just in buying from eco-friendly sustainable fashion brands, but by shopping intentionally – thinking about each purchase, and how likely you are to get use out of it.
A good rule of thumb here is to ask yourself whether you’re likely to get at least 30 wears out of something: if the answer is no, it might be time to rethink the purchase.
We hope this post has helped make the thought of ditching fast fashion less intimidating, but remember – making a long-term switch to responsible shopping is a process, and no one’s perfect straight away – as long as you’re trying, you’re on the right track!