How to break up with fast fashion

Winter has come and no doubt we are all searching for the ultimate jumper, blanket or fleece to wear indoors to avoid turning the heating on. The cost of living crisis is getting to us all and during these times it can be more convenient than ever to disregard the planet and shop based on our financial capability. Well, what if we told you that you can shop comfortably and sustainably, simultaneously. If you’re wondering how to break up with fast fashion during financial hardship, read on.

The problem with fast fashion 

We’re going to quickly break down the environmental issues before we show you how to break up with fast fashion. Ultimately, without knowing the harm a single garment can do, it’s difficult to stray away from a £2 mass-produced-top. The fast-fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global CO2 emissions each year. Synthetic fabrics release billions of microplastics into our waterways. Not to mention the dreadful working conditions some workers face internationally and here in the UK. Remember the dreadful factory discovery from Boohoo in Birmingham? Yet profits still soar. 

It just goes to show that most of our moral compasses, while they may point North – will struggle to outweigh the issue of affordability. As much as we’d all love to purchase sustainable clothing made from innovative green textiles and transported in eco-friendly packaging – the majority of us cannot afford it. So how can we break up with fast fashion when the alternative isn’t even in our league? We get creative – and no, not with your sewing machine! 

Common misconceptions around clothing 

While clothes are essential for all of us, for many of us who are trying to break up with fast fashion they are a luxury item. Why? Because our wardrobe is already filled with clothes. Every single day we have something we can wear. Put aside your desire for style – you probably already have all the essential clothes you need. The basics. 

So how is anyone struggling to break up with fast fashion? Simple. Buying clothes is a hobby but most people view it as an essential purchase. So, all we need to do is change our attitudes (easier said than done) so we understand when we need something or want something, and where we should buy it from. 

Are you going to an event? Wear a dress or suit you already own. Style it with a different tie or pair of shoes, change your hairstyle and grab a different bag – that’s a new outfit. While we believe there is no shame in wearing the same thing twice, we understand that for some of our younger audiences, there is a ‘reputation’ to be upheld. So, get creative and accessorize differently.  

How to break up with fast fashion – officially 

If you must – and we mean truly need to – buy clothes. You don’t need to head to an online outlet selling shorts for £2. You can find inexpensive clothing in local charity shops and vintage sales. There has never been more opportunity to buy second-hand clothes. Even large shopping centres now have second-hand stores to buy from. You can even attend events that have a price on the weight of clothes, paying per kilo rather than per item. 

Second-hand clothing isn’t only available in charity shops either. People are selling unwanted items on apps such as Vinted and Depop – both with great prices and thousands of items to choose from. Some items are used, and some are brand new! It’s always worth checking online if you’re looking for something in particular. 

At first, you may turn away from second-hand clothing, but we urge everyone to remember the difference between want and need. If you need clothes, this is a way of getting what you need at a good price – without harming the environment. There’s no eco-guilt in these purchases – even if they are only a want and not a necessity!

As you can see, it is important to break up with fast fashion. The harm it does to our atmosphere, eco-systems and even other humans is disgraceful. But for as long as there is demand, businesses will overlook this in order to supply. So, we all need to make a difference by not demanding items we do not need and when we do need something, we source it sustainably. Let us know of any other tips you have for breaking up with fast fashion in the comments below.

2 Responses

  1. I’d like to know where in or near Reading I can drop off clothes and other fabric items that are no longer usable, other than Smallmead tip where you have to make an appointment

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