Five top tips for buying sustainable fashion on a budget

Five top tips for buying sustainable fashion on a budget

By Montana Marshall, CEO and founder of The Dress Change, a womenswear exchange marketplace

Firstly, let’s get one thing straight, sustainable fashion doesn’t have to be expensive or exclusive. Far from it. In fact, there are some great sustainable deals out there if you just shop around and use your initiative.

In recent years, sustainable and eco-friendly fashion has turned a real corner; elevating its style sense to the level of ready-to-wear, whilst at the same time finding innovative approaches to reduce our carbon footprint. And it’s not a moment too soon either; especially given that the fashion industry is the world’s second-largest polluter, after oil.

With this in mind we talked to some key industry commentators to get their thoughts on what they thought about sustainable fashion and whether you really can get some good finds on a budget.

Shazia Saleem, founder of Pop London commented, “we have become more aware of the many ways we are harming our planet and the impact from all our collective purchasing decisions and habits. Sustainable fashion is about reducing waste, re-using and upcycling.”

She continues: “For my brand, design is important, but waste minimisation is designed into the entire process from my sketches through to the final product hanging on a shop rail. My collections include yarns, fabrics, buttons, trims, sometimes even size labels that are sourced from surplus except you would never think that as it isn’t an after-thought. Sustainable fashion with affordable pricing is also crucial in order to push momentum away from the usual suspects on the high street.”

And remember sustainable fashion doesn’t just have to be focused solely on cruelty free or ethically made, it can also be about simple ways to just generally reduce your waste and ensure that surplus clothes don’t end up in landfill.

Eva Katona, blogger from Captain Bobcat agrees with this sentiment and explains, “fast fashion is one of the biggest threats to our planet, for a number of reasons. Environmentally damaging production, plastic contents of the clothes that will break off at washing and inevitably end up in the waste water and then in our oceans, unethical manufacturing practices, the list is long. Therefore, we must use garments that we already have and not to produce more than we need.”

With this in mind here are our top five tips to find sustainable fashion on a budget:

  1. Look in your wardrobe: Before you buy anything new, have a good sort through your wardrobe. Either donate any items of clothing you don’t wear to charity or get the sewing box out and find a way to upcycle them. And don’t forget you can also donate worn out clothes to charity shops too. Simply put them in a separate bag marked ‘rags’, and the charity shop will get money for them from the rag trade.  The rags then get recycled, which means no landfill.
  2. Shop second-hand: There are some amazing vintage stores out there and you can find some brilliant one-off pieces in charity shops. eBay is also great for buying things second hand if you spend some time looking.
  3. Shop the sales: Livia van Heerde, an Austrian Blogger, content creator and environmentalist, advised that you can find some real bargains when it comes to sustainable fashion in the sales. She recommended making a note of any upcoming sales in advance so you can plan accordingly.
  4. Swap your clothes: Eva Katona from Captain Bobcat recommends people look into wardrobe swaps. She explains, “I like swapping clothes, so I often pick up things from charity shops and then swap them again for other things when I get bored of them.” You may want to check the internet to see if there are any wardrobe swapping events near you. Or if you don’t fancy going out to an event there are some great options online to exchange items of clothing or accessories with women across the whole of the UK.
  5. Make sure it’s ethically produced: Eva also goes on to say that if you really do have to buy a new garment then make sure that it’s sustainably and ethically produced. There are a lot of indie shops and brands out there to pick from fortunately, so enjoy spending the time perusing.

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