Fast fashion has been around for so long. We are used to buying cheap trendy clothes that go out of style very fast. Getting new clothes to replace them as quickly as possible is the goal of fast fashion. It is the answer to the fashion industry to consumers' demand for stylish affordable clothing from the runway.
Buying new clothes feels good. It can be difficult to resist the urge to get new outfits every so often. Especially when it is cheap and readily available. Shopping for new items is now as convenient as ever.
But more and more people are trying to find an alternative. Fast fashion is well known to have detrimental effects on people, the environment and eco-systems. It is responsible for huge textile waste, water, air and soil pollution, toxic chemicals and health issues, greenhouse gas emissions.
The impact of the clothing industry on the planet is difficult to ignore. It is one of the leading contributors to environmental issues.
You might want to quit fast fashion altogether. But it is not easy if you are not familiar with what you can do. Let's make it easy for you to quit fast fashion with some advice.
Here are 9 tips to stop wearing fast fashion.
1. Buy and wear second-hand clothing
Second-hand clothing is perfect to help your wallet and the environment. Used clothing from the thrift store has the benefit to help clothes stay away from landfills.
This is a great environmentally conscious alternative to shopping fast fashion. You can go to vintage boutiques, second-hand markets or to online retailers. You will enjoy finding pieces nobody is wearing, and even designer items at a very affordable price.
2. Renting your clothing is an option
You also have the possibility to rent your clothes. This practice has become very popular in the past few years. Ethical designers often work with renting services that let people wear their clothes for a monthly fee.
This is an amazing way to reduce clothing waste and to have access to unique pieces that you can swap frequently.
3. Shop natural organic clothing.
When looking to buy new clothes, make sure that it was produced it a respectful way to the Earth, the farmers and workers. Look for certification standards that attest to the origin and quality of the clothes you buy.
Organic cotton is better than traditional cotton for the farmers and the soil. It was grown with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. It is also non-GMO and without toxic dyes. It is overall good for your skin.
Make sure to shop more sustainably. Look for brands and retailers that offer local, organic, recycled and fair trade clothing. Ethical fashion is crucial to help people earn a living wage and to reverse the impact on the environment.
4. Look for quality garments
Avoid cheap clothing and throwaway habits. Quality clothing isn't necessarily a lot more expensive. You can find affordable clothes that are also durable with a bit of research and patience.
Invest in pieces that are eco-friendly and will last you longer. Buy less and buy better versatile clothing that you will enjoy wearing over and over.
5. Donate what you don't wear anymore.
Don’t throw away your old clothes. Give them to your friends or charitable organizations. You can also sell them to second-hand shops.
6. Learn about fast fashion
This might be easy to do and the most effective way to quit fast fashion. Once you find out the devastating consequences fast fashion has on the environment, the people, and the animals, you get a feel for what you are contributing.
There are already many documentaries and books on the matter. The clothing industry needs to change. And you can help too. With a bit of education, you can learn why it is so important to make the change.
7. Only buy the essentials
A good way to stop wearing fast fashion is to buy only what you absolutely need. It's easier said than done. But adopting a minimalist approach to fashion is very beneficial for your budget and the planet.
Cutting down the number of clothes you buy will help you quit fast fashion. You don't have to give up completely on buying new clothes. Make sure you select high-quality durable pieces that will last longer. These should also be timeless classics that you can combine easily.
8. Learn to recognize Greenwashing
Unfortunately, many brands and retailers are claiming to minimize their environmental impact when they actually aren't. This is called Greenwashing. Some signs of practices from the fashion industry that are not sustainable are:
- Clothing made of cheap materials.
- Styles that go out of trend quickly.
- Adding new products on a daily or weekly basis.
- Hiding information regarding sustainability.
- Overproducing and frequent sales.
- An unnecessary amount of styles to choose from.
Every brand is responsible for its entire supply chain. Brands have to ensure living wages for all farmers and workers, good working conditions, healthcare, vacation time, and other benefits.
Look for certification standards that back what they say. When in doubt, you can contact them and ask questions. Also, look for third party audits and evaluations.
9. Learn from experienced people
So many celebrities and social media influencers are now aware of the environmental impact of fast fashion. Some are working to promote slow fashion alternatives and work with ethical brands and retailers.
Quit following those that promote fast fashion. Instead, look for people with a more eco-conscious mindset and approach to fashion. Weekly trends are not sustainable. Subscribe to thought-leaders and publications that will help you make the choices you truly want to.
Like many other consumers, seek better choices. Don't just consume garbage all the time. Be careful of how you use your money. Support the best retailers and brands that you believe in. Those that do work you are proud to wear and share.
Enter the slow fashion movement that promotes conscious consumption to protect the environment and the workers' rights.
About the Author: Alex Assoune
Alex Assoune (MSc) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks four languages and holds two Master of Science in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.