Big fast fashion companies have made clothes so affordable, that it’s led to the mindset of over-consumption. We think it's okay to buy something because it’s in trend, its “just for $5” or you are getting a good deal on a sale, forgetting the impact it has on the environment as well as promoting the culture of “unfair treatment” where garment workers are paid pennies, bad working conditions, and poor sanitation.
Did you know that if the 7.5 billion people that populate planet Earth consumed the same amount as the inhabitants of developed countries, we would need 3.5 planets like ours to satisfy all our needs? We consume more than the Earth can bear.
We are all responsible for the good health of the planet. It is becoming more and more evident that the change towards a sustainable life, a solidary and responsible society with the environment and the planet is necessary.
Here are some shopping habits we need to change:
Habit 1- Not asking the right questions:
One of the most difficult things about trying to be more sustainable is knowing where to start – and more importantly, where to shop. Try to make more informed purchasing decisions. Do research about brands before you shop, ask questions if you’re uncertain. Ask yourself, do I need this garment? Is it made with sustainable materials? Is it manufactured in good conditions? Does the brand give visibility to its production, if not why not ask them? In today’s world of open media, anyone can raise their voice and ask questions, and the brands are obliged to answer them!
Habit 2 - Buying clothes because they are cheap:
Did you know that buying 10-30 high-quality items a year, rather than 60 cheaper, low-quality pieces will dramatically reduce your carbon footprint? Not only that, high-quality pieces will last you much longer, in turn, it is actually a “cheaper” option rather than buying a $5 t-shirt every few months.
Habit 3 - Buying clothes for one-time use:
You do not have to stop buying clothes you really love, you only have to answer one honest question; “will I wear it a minimum of 30 times?” If the answer is yes, then buy it. But you'd be surprised how many times you say no. Try to veer away from buying that statement piece you know you are only going to wear for one occasion, and instead invest in something with more longevity that you can wear again and again.
At La Vouga, we are advocates of timeless fashion, we believe that investing in timeless pieces for your wardrobe is a more sustainable choice, as it is something that will always be “in trend” and that way you know you will wear it for years.
Habit 4 - Being ashamed of repeating outfits:
Where did we come up with this idea that we have to always be wearing something different? For every event, every workday, every school dropoff? Where did we come up with wearing an outfit just to take a photo for Instagram? We need to normalize outfit repeating!
Instead, get a creative, mix, and match your wardrobe. Watch videos from influencers and use your clothes differently, so although you are repeating an outfit, it’s not the same ;)
Check out our article on how to style your scarf in different ways for some inspiration!
Habit 5 - Not caring who made the clothes:
After the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, which killed 1,138 garment workers, our clothes are still being made by some of the poorest, most overworked, and undervalued people in the world. Start wondering who has done your clothes and under what conditions.
Habit 6 - Impulse buying:
Give yourself a day or so to calm down when an impulse buy gets you jazzed. Open your closet, look at all those clothes that you haven't worn in years. You will be surprised how many clothes you are not wearing and can still wear.
Habit 7 - Not caring where to buy:
Start buying local! Shopping local almost definitely reduces the distance that the item has to travel, meaning fewer greenhouse emissions associated with transport. It means you have a deeper understanding of what you are buying, so you have a higher level of control over your purchase. By shopping local, you are supporting local artisans.
Habit 8 - Blinding an eye for labels:
By just stopping a few seconds to read the labels, you will find all the information you are looking for. Most elements are communicated transparently in product packaging!
Habit 9 - Have a closet mess:
How many times does it happen that you just wear the clothes on top of your wardrobe? If you can actually see what's in your closet, you're much more likely to be inventive when styling outfits, meaning you're less likely to buy new pieces.
Again, no one is 100% perfect but all we need is to be aware of the impact our habits have on the earth and other beings. Every little gesture counts, every little change can help future generations to be more sustainable. Do you dare to make a difference?
Written by: SAMIA HASSOUNA