My friend and I were talking about influencers and sustainable fashion the other day, and she gave me the idea to write this blog post. A huge number of influencers and fashion bloggers are finally starting to talk about sustainability, which is amazing news. I am not going to lie, three years ago I didn’t even know sustainable fashion was a thing. However, thanks to all these influencers, I got to learn more about it and have since given it a lot of thought. What sustainability means to me, is buying less but also making sure that whatever you do buy, is going to last you. The majority of the influencers I follow are focused mainly on “luxury” fashion and while we all love Dior and Prada, how many of us can actually shop there? Here I am, a 23-year-old, on minimum wage, trying to be sustainable and create new shopping habits. There is just one problem; I cannot afford to shop from luxury, sustainable brands…
I wanted to give a little disclaimer and say that, just like everyone else, I am not perfect. I like fashion and I like to shop and I am not an example to follow. With that said, I am trying to improve. I don’t want to waste my money; I don’t want to buy clothes and never wear them, make rushed decisions, or buy something just because it’s cheap. And of course, I want to do my part to help minimise the pollution caused by the fashion industry (aka me, the consumer).
I see a lot of my favourite influencers “investing” in this and “investing” in that because luxury brands create high-quality products that are meant to last you. On an average salary, however, you cannot afford to “invest” in luxury fashion for all your clothing needs. If you are on a good salary and you can afford to shop on luxury websites without having to sacrifice too much, perfect. If you cannot, that is fine too. We all have to learn to do the best we can, with the means we have available. I believe you can still pursue sustainability and shop in high street stores.
Primark is a great example of fast fashion causing significant pollution. Primark, however, also has great basics like socks, underwear, pyjamas, camisoles, tights etc. All high street shops are producing fast fashion and therefore are not “sustainable. However, when I need to buy a few plain t-shirts – to wear when I am teaching for example-, I need them now. I cannot save up for them for three months, just so I can buy them from a fancy -and therefore more sustainable- brand at £50+ each (for everyday casual t-shirts!). So what do I do? I go to Primark, H&M, New Look, wherever, and I buy the four t-shirts that I actually need. That’s it. I am not going to go in for a few t-shirts and also impulse buy a pair of shoes, a dress, and two skirts.
Buy the things you need and know you will get a lot of wear out of. Shop on high street and be minidful of your choices. If you notice you bought something that turned out to be poor qulity, make sure you are careful next time you shop from that brand and no matter the price do not repurchase the same thing. Don’t buy into “trends” unless you know they suit your style and that whatever you buy you will wear even after the trend is long gone.
Stores produce excessively because WE buy excessively. Please do not EVER think that YOUR shopping habits don’t matter because you are just one person. They do! Exactly because YOU ARE ONE PERSON! We cannot stop shopping from these stores altogether, because those stores cater to the majority of the consumers. We can, however, help reduce waste. We buy less = stores produce less = the overall waste is less.
I completely understand how a luxury item will be of a higher quality than one mass-produced. However, I have been shopping on high street my whole life and I have so many clothes that have lasted me for over a decade. For me, it is a rare occasion having to get rid of something because it turned out to be bad quality and didn’t last me. Most of the time I get rid of clothes (and by that I mean donate, I never put clothes in the trash) because I bought them without thinking and I ended up not wearing them as much as I thought. Over the last two years, I have learned to be a lot pickier for my own good. I read the labels, I carefully feel the material and I try clothes on to make sure the fit is right. This way I make less (in fact, a lot less) bad purchases and I am happy with the quality of the clothes I am buying.
Thank you so much for reading! I hope this post encouraged you to rethink your shopping habits no matter your budget.
Dress – ASOS
Shoes – Shoe-box
Bag – TK Maxx
Earrings – Ebay