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12 ways out of fast fashion

Shopping trolley in motion graphic with red t-shirt and flame behind, overlaid a picture of a clothing rail
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It feels like nowadays, no matter what you do you’re always hurting the planet in some way or another. It can be overwhelming trying to navigate your day-to-day life while being environmentally conscious. Fast fashion is yet another front where we are fighting for our futures. In this article, I will be giving you twelve new ways to combat fast fashion.

If you are unclear about what Fast Fashion is or why it’s important please read this recent blog post by Olivia Brown MSYP.

1 – Repair

No matter how carefully you look after your clothes it is inevitable, that they will rip or wear through at some point in their lifetime. Learning how to repair your clothes is vital for the health of both the planet and your wallet. You can find a wealth of videos on sites like YouTube, showing you how to repair clothes with traditional methods such as sewing or darning with nothing more than a needle and some thread. So next time your trousers rip, challenge yourself to see if you can fix them up.

2 – Get Creative

Now you’ve learned to sew your clothes up when they’ve torn, why not get creative? If you’re tired of an item, use your new skills to refresh it or give it a new look. Dislike the way a pair of jeans look? Cut off the legs and turn them into shorts. You can sew on patches, embroider, dye, hem, crop or alter your way to a new wardrobe!

3 – Restyle

It is perfectly normal to get bored with your clothes, or for them to no longer fit your style. But that doesn’t mean that you need to get rid of them, sometimes it just takes discovering their true potential to get you excited to wear them again. Try restyling your clothes, pairing them differently than how you have in the past. Try to find unworn outfits in your wardrobe.

4 – Care for your clothes

You love your clothes, now let’s make sure they last! There are many ways you can do this, here are some of my favourites:

  • Buy sustainable and robust fabrics – great choices include natural fibres such as cotton, wool or bamboo. These last longer and have a smaller environmental impact.
  • Wash your clothes less – reducing the wear and tear on your clothes fibres.
  • Wash printed items inside out – to keep the print vibrant.
  • Air dry your clothes – reduce the stress on your clothes and save money!
  • Wash your clothes at a cooler temperature- stopping your clothes from fading or getting damaged by the heat.

5 – Learn to Alter

Fluctuations in size are a natural part of having a body. It is normal for someone’s clothing size to go up and down throughout their lives. Save some money when this happens and try and learn to take in/out your clothes. So, you can rock them no matter what!

6 – Donate

Once you’ve gotten all the joy you can from your clothes, donate them to a charity shop. So you can prolong their, and give someone the happiness you got out of them, while raising money for charity!

7 – Swap

Clothes swaps are becoming more and more common, if you look online you should be able to find one in your local community, if not why not organise one? Or if that doesn’t sound like your thing, you can always swap with a friend.

8 – Rent or Borrow

If you need an outfit for a specific occasion, or just want something fun to wear on a holiday. Borrowing clothes from friends or family can be a great option. There are also an increasing number of online services that allow you to rent garments for a period of time if that’s something you fancy.

9 – Thrift or Buy Vintage

Buying preloved clothes is the best way to reduce the environmental impact of buying clothes to almost nothing. You can find some really unique pieces and save a lot of money!

10 – Shop Timeless

When you have to buy clothes brand new, go for clothes that are wardrobe staples, things that can be styled endlessly or that are timeless, so they don’t go out of fashion. A good test to ask yourself is, “would I have worn this two years ago? Do I see myself wearing this in two years?”. If your answer is no, it may not be the best purchase.

11 – Quality Over Quantity

If you can, instead of buying lots of low-quality garments, which are likely to wear through quicker and have a shorter life span. Try and buy fewer but higher quality clothes which should last longer and be more sustainable.

12 – Find your style

Instead of following trends, develop your own personal sense of style. This way you’re less likely to grow tired of your wardrobe and you won’t feel the same pressure to follow current style trends.

It is important to recognise that not all of these tips are accessible. People living on lower incomes may not be able to invest in more expensive clothing and plus-sized people can have a really hard time buying clothes second-hand due to the limited availability of preloved plus-sized clothing and sustainable brands are often not size inclusive. If for whatever reason you have to shop fast fashion, please don’t feel guilty you are not part of the problem.

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