I am almost three quarters of the way through my sustainable style challenge, and it has been quite the roller coaster.
One minute I am flying high on the supremacy of my newly found ethical and sustainable shopping habits the next, drowning in a feeling I am missing out when I see my friends and colleagues with their new purchases straight from the high street. At times I’ve had to dig deep, but with a resounding confidence I know my decision is the right one.
So when times are tough and we are getting pulled back into the mainstream, what can we do? Here are some of my tips to help you keep on track, and to keep your best sustainable style foot forward.
Don’t set yourself up for a fall
If like me, you have a wandering fashion eye, it can be really easy to just pop into town for a ‘little look’. Don’t do it! Particularly if it’s sale season or you are a sucker for a BOGOF offer. You can still love fashion and dressing up, but even for the most stealthy of sustainable shoppers it can be hard to walk past new season styles at low prices. For me I don’t really go into places like Topshop and Zara anymore, although I may like the look of the stuff, I don’t like what is behind it. I know with a little effort and research I can plan visits to shops where I can part with my cash with the only guilt being for my diminishing bank balance!
Let Social Inspiration be your guide
Instagram and blogs have been such a help in finding ethical brands and shops. I really didn’t know anything about the ethical side to shopping until I started this journey but I have been astounded by the huge selection out there. I usually take screen shots of stories or posts when I am out and about and then look them up on my laptop when I have a quiet minute. Inspiration boards such as Pinterest can be a great way to collect ideas and to refer to when you feel yourself going off track.
Set yourself a challenge & become accountable
You may have read my sustainable style challenge for 2018, this has certainly helped me to stay on track. Even with ethical and sustainable brands, it can be easy to buy too much stuff you don’t really need. Part of sustainable shopping is to buy consciously, making a wardrobe that is concise to your needs without unnecessary waste. Pick a style challenge for yourself. It maybe to buy one item a month, one item a season, or even to just buy from charity shops for a couple of months. Talk to your friends about your new shopping habits and while you are at it, tell them about sustainability too!
Style-Education Education Education
The more you know about the fashion industry and the more you research, the less you will want to go to the high street. It’s quite appalling some of the conditions that manufacturing factory worker’s work in. It’s shocking the amount of waste that high street shops produce and the amount of material that ends up in landfill. Watching documentaries such as The True Cost Movie and reading publications by organisations such as the Fashion Revolution are great resources for information.
Remember why you made the change In the 1st place, think of the smaller detail!
I guess this one kind of encompasses all of the above, but you really need to think about the detail of why you made the decision to shop more ethically and sustainably. Was it the amount of waste in landfill? Was it the working conditions of the factories for the clothes producers? Was it the poor rates of pay for many workers in the fashion industry? If you keep these facts at the forefront of your mind, the cheap clothes and fast fashion items won’t seem so appealing.
I think its important to note that not all high street shops are ‘bad’. Most are just feeding into demand of the consumer. You may only be one person and think your choices won’t make a difference, but they really do. All the accumulative little efforts that everyone makes equals a big change.
Can you recommend any sustainable brands? Please let me know I’d love hear them!