In a world that's becoming increasingly aware of its environmental impact, it's no surprise that sustainability has become a buzzword in the fashion industry. The choices we make when shopping for clothes can have a significant impact on the environment, from resource consumption to carbon emissions. Thankfully, there are ways to shop for clothes more sustainably without compromising on style or quality. In this article, we'll explore how to make conscious clothing choices, what to pay attention to, and alternatives that are kinder to the planet.
Prioritize Quality Over Quantity:
One of the key principles of sustainable fashion is to invest in high-quality clothing that lasts longer. When shopping, look for well-made items with durable materials and stitching. While these pieces may have a higher upfront cost, they often outlast cheaper, poorly made alternatives, reducing the need for frequent replacements.
Choose Timeless Styles:
Trends come and go, but classic styles endure. Opt for clothing that won't go out of fashion quickly,timeless design and cuts, as this reduces the temptation to discard items after just a few wears. It is also very important to know your own style, what colors and cuts fit you , what you feel more comfortable wearing. Once you are aware of this, it is easier to build a wardrobe of timeless clothes that you will love to wear for years to come.
Local, Ethical and Sustainable Small Brands:
Supporting brands committed to ethical and sustainable practices is a powerful way to make a positive impact. Try to shop from small brands from your country, or within the EU who also produce locally. This way you support a small brand who will not overproduce or use unethical practices like the bigger competitors.
Look for certifications like Fair Trade, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), or B Corp to ensure brands adhere to high social and environmental standards and read about the brands’ commitments and transparency. Do they tell you where they produce the clothes? Do they talk about what materials they chose and why? These are good signs of a brand taking sustainability seriously and is not only greenwashing. If you are unsure, you can always text a brand and ask them about their sustainability commitments and regarding bigger brands check @goodonyou for their rating.
Some of the sustainable fashion brands we love:
Secondhand and Vintage Shopping:
Thrifting is not only budget-friendly but also eco-friendly. Shopping at thrift stores, consignment shops, or online vintage stores reduces the demand for new clothing production and minimizes textile waste. You might even discover unique, one-of-a-kind pieces that you won't find in mainstream stores. In Hungary we absolutely recommend visiting the Gardrób Közösségi Vásár, a community clothing market, where you can either sell your own clothes or shop from others. For vintage and good quality second-hand clothes check out the @typo_showroom. While in Germany you should not miss @ltec_berlin for amazing vintage finds or @junojunoshop for second-hand designer clothes.
The choice of fabric can greatly impact a garment's sustainability. Opt for natural, organic fibers like organic linen, cotton, hemp, or Tencel (if it is certified, or recycled even better). These materials are grown with fewer pesticides and require less water compared to conventional cotton. Additionally, consider recycled fabrics made from post-consumer waste, like recycled polyester, but only when there is no better alternative as even recycled polyester releases micro-plastic during washing.
Before making a purchase, take a moment to consider if you genuinely need the item. Avoid impulse buying and focus on building a curated wardrobe that aligns with your style and values. Ask yourself questions like, "Will I wear this frequently?" and "Does it fit into my existing wardrobe?"
Rent or Borrow:
For special occasions or statement pieces you might not wear often, consider renting or borrowing (from friends and family) instead of buying. Numerous clothing rental services offer access to high-end fashion without the commitment of ownership, reducing the overall demand for new clothing production. In Hungary a great place to rent designer clothes is the @myclosetbudapest and in Germany a great place for high-end clothing rental is @pool.berlin and for more casual pieces Kleiderei.
Care and Repair:
Extend the lifespan of your clothing by taking proper care of it. Follow care instructions on labels, mend minor damages promptly, and learn basic sewing skills for repairs. Simple fixes can save garments from ending up in landfills.
Explore brands and initiatives that promote circular fashion, where clothing is designed to be easily recycled or upcycled. Some companies even offer take-back programs for old clothing, ensuring they are properly recycled.
Shopping for clothes more sustainably is not only an ethical choice but also a step towards reducing the fashion industry's environmental footprint. By prioritizing quality, choosing timeless styles, supporting ethical brands, considering secondhand options, and being mindful consumers, we can contribute to a more sustainable and stylish future. Remember, every conscious clothing choice you make matters in building a more eco-conscious wardrobe.