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Eco Tips for the Online Shopping Addict

If you’re anything like me, you spend too much time scrolling through sites like Urban Outfitters and Princess Polly, adding things to your cart in hopes of looking like you walked straight off your own Pinterest feed. Putting together outfits and discovering new trends is one of my favorite hobbies, but I’ve recently discovered the negative impacts of fast fashion on our environment and textile employees. Here are some ways you can shop sustainably- without giving up your aesthetic.

 The 30 Wear Test 

Always ask yourself before making a new purchase if you can see yourself wearing it at least 30 times. Do you have other items that would pair nicely with it? Would you have to buy something else in order to make it work? Is it totally out of your comfort zone or something you would typically wear? I know I’ve bought plenty of clothes that have piled in my closet gathering dust before I decide to donate them to the Goodwill, so make sure you’ll get your money’s worth.

 Stay away from Shein!

Shein, Zaful, Cupshe, and other similar sites cater to current trends that often go out of style in a matter of months. Any store whose prices range between $5-10 definitely does not pay its employees a fair wage- nor does it send you quality clothes. Boohoo, Fashion Nova and Pretty Little thing are a few other companies to avoid with poor work conditions and a negative environmental impact. 

 Material Matters 

Polyester is a plastic thread which sheds its microfibers into waterways. Viscose rayon, is made of cellulose, the material of a plant’s cell wall, but the process of creating this fabric is toxic and has contributed to deforestation. It’s important to do your research on different fabrics before purchasing anything new. Opt for cotton, linen, silk, or recycled polyester instead!

Thrift from Your Phone

More and more people are opting to shop second-hand. It’s one of my favorite ways to bring unique pieces into my closet and reduce my carbon footprint. Vintage styles have become so popular and there’s no better place to shop for true vintage than on thrift apps like Depop and Poshmark. You can shop from home and curate your feed to show styles that interest you. There’s nothing more fun than imagining your oversized sweater’s past life in the hands of an elderly suburban man in the 90s.

Rent it and Rock it 

I cannot count the amount of times I’ve bought a dress for one-time occasion. A great way to avoid this is by renting clothes instead! You can find some amazing options that will look great and feel lighter on your bank account. Rent the Runway, Fashion to Figure, and Nuuly are some of my favorites!

 Upcycle like a Pro

If you’re not quite the craftiest person, there are still some super simple ways to upcycle old clothes. If you’re on TikTok, I’m sure you’ve taken a stab at tie-dying a sweatshirt or bleaching your jeans. While these are some fun and easy options, you want to take it a step further by painting a design on an old pair of jeans or sewing on some fabric patches to transform them into a totally new look. Even cropping an old t-shirt and using the extra fabric for a matching headband set is an effortless way to look adorable. 


The fashion industry accounts for 10% of the world’s carbon emissions, making it a leading cause of climate change.With these tips, you can help out our planet and step up your fashion game by shopping sustainable and upcycling your wardrobe this fall. 

Anna Voicu

Rollins '23

Anna is a sophomore psychology major at Rollins College who is passionate about art, writing, and, of course, making Pinterest boards. She loves the color yellow, the outdoors, and advocating for mental health.
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