Avoiding fast fashion can be challenging, especially when you’re on a budget. Our team at If Clothes Could Talk put together our favourite budget-friendly ways to avoid adding more ‘fast fashion items,’ while, of course, still looking fabulous.
1. Classic > Trendy
While everyone loves to be ‘on trend’ there are specific clothing items that never go out of vogue. Building a wardrobe with closet staples will lay the foundation for creating fashionable outfits for a lifetime. You’ll also get more wear out of classic items like a white button-down shirt, a good pair of jeans, or little black dress than the trend of the week, making your items worth their investment. Wardrobe staples can be easily dressed up with jewelry, fun belt, or new makeup look, so there’s no need to continually add new items to your wardrobe. It can be intimidating to start building a wardrobe from scratch, so ease into it, and buy one thing at a time.
2. Buy Second Hand
In Toronto, we’re fortunate enough to have a wealth of vintage boutiques at our disposal. Buying second-hand or vintage pieces is an easy way to reduce your fashion footprint and avoid fast fashion retailers. While vintage shopping can get expensive, Toronto’s Kensington Market and stores like Value Village and Salvation Army sell a wide range of men’s and women’s fashion items for affordable prices. One of our favourite shops is Courage My Love, located in the heart of Kensington Market, which sells women’s and men’s wear, fun accessories, and even furniture! Investing in vintage clothing is an easy way to green up your closet while still feeling fashionable and satisfying the need to add fun pieces to your wardrobe.
3. Did Someone Say Clothing Swap?
Who doesn’t love a clothing swap? Swapping or exchanging clothes between friends is a great way to find new clothing items and refresh your wardrobe. Clothing swap parties have become a popular social activity that allows friends to come together, exchange clothes, and feel good about lessening their environmental footprint. Platforms like Facebook have also made it easy to swap or trade clothing items with your neighbours. If you’re scared to part with a piece of clothing, set rules to ensure the clothes are returned by a certain date. Perhaps get together for a seasonal party where you can exchange fall and winter items and then return them when you meet for the spring or summer get-together. It’s likely you swapped clothes with your best friend as a teenager, so who says it has to stop in adulthood?
4. Care for Your Items Properly
Articles about fast fashion often focus on a garment’s manufacturing process, but what happens after a piece of clothing is purchased? How we clean and care for our garments can have various effects on the environment, so it’s important to consider greener alternatives when it comes to laundering and dry cleaning our wardrobes. If cleaning at home, opt for cold water and environmentally friendly detergents like TruEarth laundry strips. If dry cleaning, choose a dry cleaner that uses a sustainable solvent, like Gibson’s, which uses GreenEarth. Using a more eco-friendly cleaning process will also be gentler on your clothes, so you get more wear out of them in the long run. Check out a blog post here, where we go over some tips on how to green up your laundry routine.
5. Set Goals and Take Time
Today, most stores we shop at are employing fast fashion practices. This can make eliminating fast fashion pieces from your wardrobe a challenge. While it may be tempting to go ‘cold turkey,’ we recommend making small changes; like a diet, you need to take small steps towards making better choices! Don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up; changes are hard to set reasonable and achievable goals, and you’ll get there in time.
We all want to do better for the environment, but it can be intimidating and expensive to shop at 100% sustainable brand-named stores or boutiques. Hopefully, these five tips will get you thinking about ways to green up your closet.