How to Stop Contributing to Fast Fashion

When it comes to shopping, it’s easy to gravitate towards the cheapest and most fashionable item in stores like Forever 21, H&M and Fashion Nova. I mean, we are broke college kids after all. However, after a few weeks or months, that item might start to tear or even go out of fashion. So, the next new, cheap item is bought off the shelves and our old clothes are left to pollute landfills.

This is called fast fashion and it contributes to inhumane working conditions, like Rana Plaza,  and pollution all over the world. Most of the fashion industry is overtaken with the idea of rushing out the next hottest trend pieces, sacrificing quality and ethics in the process. But, once consumers are educated on this issue, a conscious decision can be made to stop funding these brands.

1. Shop from stores that are ethical and sustainable

If you’re lost on where to start, you can immediately start eliminating companies that produce fast, cheap, low-quality clothing that is produced overseas. They are likely exploiting workers and contributing to the pollution crisis.

There are many other ethical and sustainable stores such as Everlane and Patagonia. If you are having trouble finding stores, check out this list. It’s important to make sure the store treats their workers well, is not harmful to the environment, locally made and does not harm animals. A great app to search which brands fit this criteria is Good on You. The only downside to ethical clothing is the higher price tag, so make sure to budget each item.

2. Buy from second-hand shops

Thrift shopping is a huge trend right now (and for a good reason). Donating and giving away clothing is a great way clean out your closest, but it’s also a great place to shop. Buying used clothing is an affordable and eco-friendly way to switch up your wardrobe when you’re eager to for a fresh look.

3. Find clothing that matches your style, not the latest fashion trend

Creating fashion trends for upwards of 50 “micro seasons” a year is one of the biggest marketing strategies companies use in the clothing industry. The companies try to convince consumers that they need the next best thing, all year long. Figuring out your own personal style, instead of just wearing what’s trendy, will help you spend less money on fast fashion clothing items you don’t actually like.

Related: How to Find Yourself Through Fashion

4. Invest in quality pieces

When it comes to items like jeans, and jackets, it’s worth it to spend more on quality. These are the kind of pieces that are the least like likely to change in fashion as the years go on, so it makes sense to invest in them. To find quality pieces, look for natural fabrics, a good construction and where it was manufactured.

5. Wash your clothes less

Washing and drying less is actually better for your clothes. Between the water and the heat, the machines can make them deteriorate pretty fast. Thicker items like jeans, sweatshirts, and sweaters can go a few days without washing and still be fine. The longer your clothes last for, the less you’ll have to buy.

6. Learn to sew

Having the ability to repair your clothes instead of throwing them out is essential. Have a tear in your shirt? Just patch it up, with no need to replace it (especially if it’s your favorite top).

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Saving the planet may seem like a big task, but it starts with one person at a time. So, the next time you plan on picking up a shirt at the mall, think about where it’s coming from and whether or not it’s worth it. Happy shopping, collegiettes!